Feedback Management

7 Useful Tips to Manage Feature Requests

Young elegant in suit shrugging shoulder while looking with lack of knowledge on backdrop with question marks.

Spend any time in the product profession and you’ll learn that managing feature requests can be one of the most challenging parts of the role. It’s a difficult balancing act. If you don’t pay attention to user requests for new functionality, you risk alienating various important stakeholders (customers, executive decision-makers, go-to-meeting teams, etc.). But try to address them all and you risk totally undermining your strategic plans — not to mention building an incoherent mess of a product.


Unfortunately, you can’t solve this challenge by simply selecting some percentage of requests, adding them to your product roadmap, and leaving the rest on your to-do list. Deciding which requests to develop requires strategic work and a carefully crafted process. And like so many aspects of product management, this process all depends on effective product prioritization.

So, in this post, we’ll show you how to manage feature requests in a way that both makes the requestors feel heard and ensures you prioritize only those ideas that promise to add real value to your business.

Caution: Controversial Opinions Ahead


But… warning: We’re going to offer some controversial thoughts on this subject. A lot of what goes into prioritizing feature requests is counterintuitive, requires uncomfortable confrontations, and might even seem unfair.


So, before we jump into our tips for building an effective process to manage feature requests, we want to share these concepts with you. Factoring these notions into your decision-making could save your team a lot of unproductive work and missed opportunities.

1. A request doesn’t deserve priority just because it comes from an existing customer.


Hear us out. We’re not saying that your customers haven’t earned your attention or that they don’t deserve the best service your team can provide. We’re saying that, by definition, an existing customer is already paying for your company’s product.


If you determine their proposed feature would benefit other customers — and therefore help your company earn more revenue — then, yes, consider adding it to the roadmap. But you shouldn’t prioritize a request from a customer just because you feel obligated. Clearly, you’re already providing enough value that they’ve bought and continue to use your product. 

2. Large enterprise customers shouldn’t automatically have their requests prioritized, either.


If you’re selling a B2B product like SaaS software, you’ll often find your large enterprise customers demanding all sorts of customization and other work to make your product more useful to them. Watch out here. You have only so much capacity — in terms of time, budget, and the resources of the various teams whose help you need to bring your product to market and continually improve it throughout its lifecycle.


Every ad-hoc demand you fulfill to keep one customer happy will necessarily divert valuable resources away from your other, longer-term strategic objectives.  


And keep in mind, your enterprise customer has already found enough value in your product that they’re using it and paying for it. So unless your agreement with this customer includes customization or other professional services, you’ll want to subject any feature requests from them to the same scrutiny as you would a request from your smallest customer. 


And if the company threatens to stop using your product, keep in mind that giving in to this type of demand will only encourage the customer to continually demand more from your team. 

3. Your sales reps’ urgency also doesn’t represent a sufficient reason to act on a feature request.


Every Product Manager has had the experience of a frantic sales rep begging them to add a feature as quickly as possible because a prospect has promised they’ll sign up when it’s added to the product.


But as the Product Manager, your job is not to secure a specific new customer — particularly not if that means undermining your existing plans and priorities. Your job is to manage your company’s limited resources strategically so that you build and maintain a product that offers the most value possible to all of your target market segments.


Be careful about moving any feature request to the front of the line just because it promises to bring in a new customer. 

7 Tips for Managing Feature Requests


Okay, we’ve made our broad case that managing feature requests requires a delicate balancing act between what any particular stakeholder needs now and what will best serve the interests of your product, company, and user personas over the long term.


Here are those seven ideas we promised to help you craft an effective, intelligent process for managing feature requests. 

1. Create a central place to gather and review all feature requests.


The first step in effectively managing feature requests is to make sure you’re actually capturing them all and can analyze every one of them, side-by-side, in a central location.


With a product management solution like, for example, you can create a single place to capture and display all of your user and stakeholder feedback from whichever channels you’ve established to encourage such feedback.


2. Respond to every request — personally, honestly, and promptly.


One reason we placed “capture every request” as our number one tip is that this is the only way to ensure you’re able to respond to every one. And acknowledging to your users that you’ve heard and are considering their requests is vital to maintaining a positive working relationship with them.


This doesn’t mean you need to act on every request, or even promise to do so in the future. Your response might simply be to thank the user for their input and let them know that for the foreseeable future your team has other functionality planned for development. Be honest. Don’t use corporate doublespeak. And above all else, let your user know you’ve heard and appreciate their interest in your product. 

3. Categorize and prioritize the requests.


Feature requests will inevitably come in over different channels and take different forms. Some will read like straightforward requests that customers email your customer service team. Others might take the form of complaints your team finds on social media about things your product can’t do — and you’ll need to read between the lines to find the actual request the user is making.


Whatever these requests look like, and wherever you find them, when you pull them into your centralized feedback portal you’ll want to group them into strategic categories and then apply your favorite product prioritization frameworks to determine which ones offer the greatest promise of meeting whatever OKRs or other metrics your team is using to measure success.


And when you use an end-to-end product management platform like, you’ll be able to apply your choice of more than a dozen best-practice prioritization formulas to any of your product data — including feature requests.


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4. Remember that your best answer to a request might be a polite no.


In our recent blog — Feedback Collection: Don’t Over-rely on it, Product Managers — we pointed out that years ago Netflix received several complaints from subscribers having difficulty navigating the company’s website and not knowing whether they were viewing the DVD-rental or online-streaming portion of the service.


Reacting to those complaints as if they represented an unspoken feature request — to create separate services that would enable a more user-friendly subscriber experience — Netflix split itself into two standalone businesses, one for DVDs and another for streaming. The results were catastrophic, with millions of subscribers deciding the monthly costs were no longer worth the price for only half of the original service.


Our larger point here is that not every feature request is viable for your product or company. In fact, it might not even be the best solution for the user asking for it. What if, for example, Netflix’s web team simply devised a more intuitive web navigation — rather than over-weighting these relative handful of complaints among its millions of customers and changing its entire business model?


Note: Another point we made in our blog on feedback management, also worth repeating here, is that implementing an intelligent process for managing feature requests can actually give your company a competitive advantage.


As we learned in our research for’s 2023 State of Product Management report, more than two-thirds of product teams (69%) have either no formal process for collecting and processing feedback or a disorganized process that prevents them from seeing the full picture.   



5. Review feature requests with colleagues and other customers.


You’re ultimately responsible for the feature requests that get prioritized and added to your roadmap, but you shouldn’t make those decisions in a vacuum.


If the Netflix executives who made the hasty decision to split the company based on those user complaints had sought the feedback of their coworkers and other subscribers, they might have come to a more sensible conclusion.


And yet another great aspect of using a centralized feedback portal, like the one available with, is that it becomes very easy for your team to view and analyze the same feedback and use that data as a jumping-off point for discussion, brainstorming, and debate. 

6. Proactively keep your customers informed of your plans.


Another important component to effective feature request management is to regularly keep your users informed about your team’s plans for the product.


This way, when you respond to users’ feature requests by telling them you’ve already scheduled other development work for the foreseeable future, that won’t sound like an excuse. Your customers will know that you’ve already developed a strategic plan — because you’ll have been telling them about it. 

7. Create a public roadmap so customers know what you’re up to.


This is an important subset of the tip above. While your team might want to create several ways to keep your users informed of what’s happening with your product, such as publishing a simple newsletter with feature updates, one approach that many of our customers have found valuable is to make a version of their product roadmap publicly available.


With a public-facing roadmap, you can both show your customers what to expect in the near future from your product and give them a sense that your team is continually working to enhance the product and make it more valuable for them.


And that brings us to one final benefit of using’s end-to-end product management platform: You can easily adjust the views or details of your internal roadmap, to create a public-facing version, in just minutes.

Bonus tip: Prioritize only requests that support the business strategy


Finally, it’s worth pointing out that a key criterion for deciding which feature requests to focus on is whether or not acting on a given request aligns with your company and product strategy. If your company’s priority in the coming fiscal year is to increase market share, or sign up new users for your product, then you won’t want to devote a lot of resources to an existing business customer’s request to customize the app for their use case – and this will be true no matter how large that customer’s company is.


Just like any other decision you make about where to devote your company’s limited resources, every feature request your team decides to prioritize should advance (or at least not undermine) your business objectives and product strategy. And one of the best ways to ensure you’re always subjecting competing requests to the business-alignment test is to tag every item you add to your product roadmap with a specific business objective. If you can’t connect the item to a company objective, then you know that work won’t support your business strategy.


And being able to easily connect roadmap items to business objectives is yet another reason to implement a product management platform like product walkthrough 


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