When the strategy is clear, that drives a need for clarity in each part of the business that may wish to push for the product team’s attention.
Here’s a quick anecdote from FullStory. A few months back, one of the engineering teams was struggling to keep up with all of the requests from the support team. We’d ping engineers on Clubhouse cards asking for updates to ongoing issues, but there wasn’t time to get to all the requests. The engineering organization could have pulled in engineers from other teams, but there was a clear strategy that there was only so much engineering attention to work on our requests—engineers were needed elsewhere for new product development—so something had to give with the way we were asking for engineers’ attention.
One day while working on an issue for a customer, rather than ping engineering once again for an update, I decided to spend a little more time re-familiarizing myself with the history of the ticket. It turns out this had been a trial customer who had experienced a bug a couple months prior. Engineering hadn’t had time to take a look, so we hadn’t been in touch with the customer for weeks. When I looked up the customer’s account, it turns out their trial was expired. Here we were, continuing to ask for the engineering team’s attention, for a customer that didn’t even exist. Oof.
While I’m ashamed to admit we got to that state, that experience drove us to overhaul our practices on the support engineering team. We started adding more details to our requests to engineering, including, yes, whether or not the customer actually exists. These additional details began to guide prioritization and over time, we got a much clearer sense that we were focusing on what really mattered, not just spinning our wheels trying to stay on top of internal communication.
It’s okay to push for your customers and prospective customers—that’s your job, regardless of where you fit into the customer’s journey. However, as resources become scarce, you can expect the business to clarify its strategy, which will ultimately guide you on where and how to push on behalf of customers.