We've just launched plato for individuals

🔥

login


Google Sign inLinkedIn Sign in

Don't have an account? 

The first step of convincing is listening

Prioritization
Convincing
Conflict solving
Roadmap
Internal Communication

12 February, 2019

Sari explains how asking questions before saying “no” can work in your favor.

Problem

My VP sends me mail saying that we have to get feature x in this release. I quickly assess that's not going to be possible nor am I sure it's the right thing even if it were.

Actions taken

First, what I didn't do was to say no. Instead, I first acknowledged that yes, that is a feature we need. I then asked him to tell me more about what he was hoping to accomplish by adding feature x right now. He responded that he was hoping to grow usage of one of our products. I agreed (again) that was something that needed to happen. And I asked if he was aware that we had not yet marketed the product to the target customers. I also reminded him that getting a new feature in at this point would be considered very risky by key internal partners. He responded that I was "right" and we should do it later.

Lessons learned

When you think you are being told what to do by a superior and you think it's "wrong", first access your curiosity. Make sure you have shared context about the why. You will only get there by being truly open to hearing what your superior has to say. Saying no isn't going to work, but saying yes isn't the only alternative.


Related stories

Don’t Let Yourself Be Held Hostage by Estimates
14 September

Marian Kamenistak, VP of Engineering at Mews, discusses how constant delays are usually caused by things other than inaccurate estimates.

Deadlines
Prioritization
Marian Kamenistak

Marian Kamenistak

VP of Engineering at Mews

Merging a Web and Mobile Team: A Tale of Two Cultures
14 September

David La France, VP of Engineering at Kenna Security, explains how to merge two teams with different cultures, technology and operating modes.

Cross-functional collaboration
Company Culture
Internal Communication
Collaboration
Reorganization
David La France

David La France

VP Engineering at Synack

Benefits of Organizational Transparency
28 August

Anoosh Mostowfipour, Founder at ReferralsLink, recounts his experience developing and implementing operational software that helped him achieve the much-desired transparency and improve coordination and collaboration across the company.

Company Culture
Leadership
Internal Communication
Collaboration
Meetings
Anoosh Mostowfipour

Anoosh Mostowfipour

Founder at ReferralsLink

How to Ensure Company-Wide Alignment
28 August

Brad Henrickson, CTO at Scoop, discusses how he successfully introduced company-wide alignment by developing succinct communication strategies.

Internal Communication
Collaboration
Brad Henrickson

Brad Henrickson

CTO at Scoop

When First-Time Founders Become Managers
24 August

Brian Hough, CTO at Beam Dental, taps into his experience of both reporting to first-time founders and managing them.

Leadership
New Manager of Manager
Internal Communication
Brian Hough

Brian Hough

CTO at Beam Dental

You're a great engineer.
Become a great engineering leader.

Plato (platohq.com) is the world's biggest mentorship platform for engineering managers & product managers. We've curated a community of mentors who are the tech industry's best engineering & product leaders from companies like Facebook, Lyft, Slack, Airbnb, Gusto, and more.