Episode 73: The other F-word, FEEDBACK w/Melissa Klemke


Challenging Your Most Important Problem with Feedback

Making the right decisions can be challenging. The constant influx of information, coupled with the pressure to deliver results, often leaves product managers overwhelmed. But there's one thing that can be a game-changer: feedback. In this episode of The Productbeats Show, Melissa Klemke, a renowned product manager, shares her insights on the importance of feedback and how to distill it effectively.

Understanding the Importance of Feedback

Feedback, both positive and negative, plays a crucial role in shaping the success of any product. While personal feedback might be hard to digest, feedback related to your product is a goldmine of valuable insights. Melissa emphasizes the need for a constructive approach to distill and utilize feedback effectively.

The Feedback Exercise

Melissa shares a feedback exercise she conducted with her previous team, designed to challenge the team's assumptions and ensure they were working on the most important aspects. She asked her team to identify their top three problems and articulate why those were the most critical issues to address. The exercise also involved rating their confidence level in each problem and identifying the sources of feedback that influenced their decisions.

During the exercise, Melissa discovered a range of common feedback reasons that teams often rely on to prioritize their work. These reasons included sales feedback, analytics data, competitor influence, customer requests, and defect tickets. While these sources can provide valuable insights, it is crucial to critically evaluate their significance and align them with your overall product vision.

Exploring Feedback Sources

To avoid tunnel vision and gain a broader perspective, product managers should actively seek feedback from a variety of sources. Melissa highlights the importance of stakeholder feedback, ad hoc feedback, workshops, product communities, defect check trends, analytics, customer feedback requests, and customer market research. By diversifying their sources, product managers can obtain a well-rounded understanding of their customers' needs and market dynamics.
Melissa encourages product managers to challenge their own assumptions and be open to refining their confidence levels. The exercise she shared provides a framework for revisiting and reassessing assumptions, allowing product managers to adjust their confidence levels based on new insights. Learning from failures and experiments is an integral part of growth and improvement.

Utilizing the Feedback Distillation Process

Once feedback has been collected, distilling and prioritizing it becomes critical. Product managers need to evaluate the potency of different feedback sources and consider the biases associated with second-hand feedback. By triangulating insights from multiple sources and building a compelling confidence story, product managers can enhance their decision-making and become more effective in their roles.


  • Embrace Feedback: Feedback is a valuable resource for product managers. Whether it's from stakeholders, customers, or analytics, incorporating diverse feedback sources helps in making informed decisions and identifying the most important problems to solve.
  • Challenge Assumptions: It's crucial to challenge your own assumptions and the feedback you receive. Don't rely solely on personal experiences or single sources of feedback. Evaluate the potency and validity of the feedback by considering multiple perspectives and data points.
  • Distill Feedback Effectively: Distilling feedback is an essential skill for product managers. Learn how to synthesize and prioritize feedback to create a compelling narrative that convinces stakeholders and the business of the importance of the problems you're addressing. Use a structured approach to distill feedback and ensure you're working on the most impactful initiatives.

Speaking of the essential skills and knowledge needed for successful product management, one valuable resource to enhance your expertise is The Productbeats Product Management Certification Program. This comprehensive program is designed to equip aspiring and experienced product managers with the necessary tools and frameworks to excel in their roles. By enrolling in this program, you'll gain in-depth knowledge, hands-on experience, and industry-recognized credentials that can propel your career to new heights. Whether you're looking to break into product management or advance your existing skills, The Productbeats Product Management Certification Program is a valuable investment in your professional growth.
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