Question Page

What are the biggest frustrations you have as a product manager?

Anton Kravchenko
Anton Kravchenko
Carta Sr. Director of Product ManagementFebruary 3

My biggest frustration is that I let people down. Currently, I work with teams of 50+ people, which means I need to be available all the time. The more senior as a PM you become the more folks you need to work with. Time becomes the most valuable thing and I'm still learning how to manage it effectively.

986 Views
Natalia Baryshnikova
Natalia Baryshnikova
Atlassian Head of Product, Enterprise AgilityFebruary 16

Being patient when I would like to be impatient. Product management is deeply humbling in that good things often take time. I like to say that I am "tactically impatient, strategically patient" - as in, obsess over small details and steps every day and treat them with urgency, but know that things take time to build, and big goals take time to achieve. But, being honest, this comes with a hidden frustration for me, an inherently impatient person :-)

837 Views
Rodrigo Davies
Rodrigo Davies
Asana Director of Product Management, AIMay 17
  • I get frustrated whenever I hear business outcomes and customer outcomes described as two forces that are in tension, and that it’s necessary to choose between either building a fantastic product or having a fantastic business. It’s certainly possible to have a highly profitable business with a shoddy product, but I believe that the advantage that organizations gain by going that path is short term, and that eventually a poor product experience will erode trust and lead customers to move on to better products.
  • This is especially common in new product / technology areas, where some companies optimize everything around being the first to launch something in order to capture the so-called first mover advantage and build a moat. Looking back on the last few software innovation cycles, there are many examples of where the second, third or even fourth product to market was the eventual winner, by prioritizing nailing the customer experience and learning from others’ mistakes, over pure speed.
4398 Views
Milena Krasteva
Milena Krasteva
Walmart Sr Director II, Product Management - Marketing TechnologyOctober 6

One area of frustration is when everybody wants to play the role of product manager informally but very few have any formal training or experience in product management. This manifests as all kinds of well-meaning (and sometime not so benign) solutioning, which actually attempts to bypass the product management function, then leads to really suboptimal business outcomes. Often this happens due to misaligned incentives in other orgs (We're innovating!?). Good ideas can come from anywhere and the PM function should help prioritize and evaluate, but chaos ensues when the main role of the PM becomes staving off the onslaught of point solutions. 

Other forms of encroachment are especially frustrating, when they are within the product teams themselves. Individual PMs can start defining new variants of feature/functionality that another PM already owns. They may do that under the guise of "GSDing" to advance their product area without coordinations and without dealing with any dependencies. It is the manager's responsibility to nip this in the bud immediately, especially if both PMs report into them. When the issue is cross-org, the political undercurrent may prevents managers from acting. Ultimately, strong leadership is enabled by a good company culture where there is no penalty for raising concerns when backed up by facts and evidence.

A third frustration, comes from differences in PM experience and can be tricky to navigate. Most managers would love to delegate decisions to the lowest level possible. The benefits are many - PMs feel empowered, have a sense of ownership, the manager can focus on unblocking the teams as needed. In reality, if the solutions are coming back with incomplete thinking behind them, the PM manager now needs to step in and coach or outright re-direct. If this happens often enough there will be frustration for both the manager and the PM. The PM will feel like they have no say or that their manager is micromanaging, when the issue at the core is the current skillset relative to the expectation of the role. In my experience, managers who avoid dealing with this may over-delegate, and PMs who only focus on their feeling of frustration hold themselves back from learning and improving.

Neither party will be able to progress when thinking cross-org, cross-functionally, cross-BU, and even internationally or globally is required with increasing levels of responsibility. 

515 Views
Melissa Ushakov
Melissa Ushakov
GitLab Group Manager, Product ManagementMarch 7

One very common frustration is not being able to make everyone happy. As a product manager, your job is to hear many perspectives, which may be at odds with each other, and you don't have infinite time or people to get everything done. It's so tempting to invest a little in many areas in an attempt to move them all forward. When PMs (myself included) feel this way, it's critical to remember that the most important thing a product manager can provide is focus and space to solve the problems that will make the biggest business impact.

486 Views
Sheila Hara
Sheila Hara
Barracuda Networks Sr. Director, Product ManagementJanuary 31


As a Product Manager, a key frustration is the pace of progress; often, things don't move as swiftly as I'd like in response to evolving market trends. However, this challenge is also an opportunity. It allows me to use my influence to motivate and unify the team. This role as a 'pulling force' helps us navigate complexities and maintain our commitment to quality, despite the urgency to accelerate. Ultimately, this balancing act turns a potential frustration into a chance for leadership, teamwork, and meaningful progress.

359 Views
Nicolas Liatti
Nicolas Liatti
Adobe Senior Director of Product Management, 3D CategoryJuly 10

Being a PM the only power you have comes from influence, you don't have authority on any of your peers.

So the biggest frustration is when you don't manage to influence people in the right direction, and cannot use any authority to change this: developers not executing in the right direction, marketing promoting the product not aligned, etc.

505 Views
Top Product Management Mentors
Shahid Hussain
Shahid Hussain
Google Group Product Manager, Wear OS
Natalia Baryshnikova
Natalia Baryshnikova
Atlassian Head of Product, Enterprise Agility
Julian Dunn
Julian Dunn
Chainguard Senior Director of Product Management
Anton Kravchenko
Anton Kravchenko
Carta Sr. Director of Product Management
Patrick Davis
Patrick Davis
Google Group Product Manager
Nicolas Liatti
Nicolas Liatti
Adobe Senior Director of Product Management, 3D Category
Paresh Vakhariya
Paresh Vakhariya
Atlassian Director of Product Management (Confluence)
Preethy Vaidyanathan
Preethy Vaidyanathan
Matterport VP of Product
Jacqueline Porter
Jacqueline Porter
GitLab Director of Product Management
Puja Hait
Puja Hait
Google Group Product Manager