How do influence the product roadmap when you need extra validation i.e. balance opportunity with risk?
This is a fun question! Creating new functions that could have a massive impact but you are unsure of is fun and also can be scary. So the goal here is to look for as much data as possible to evaluate the risk! I always start with what are we trying to build and who are we trying to build this for, once I have the persona's I typically like to go out and find groups of these persona's that I can do a quantitative analysis through surveys asking how much of an impact this will have, I also like to find out the depth of these particular risks is this a "nice to have" or a "MUST HAVE" feature. If it falls into the "MUST HAVE" you can reduce that risk and impact the product roadmap! After I run my quant analysis I will try to get these persona's on the phone calls or panels to talk in depth about the emotional stake that impacts these users. This will help you reduce the risk of building something that may flop in the market and build a better relationship with the product team and they will come to you more often for feedback on the roadmap; what needs to be move forward or back or maybe needs to come off the roadmap all together. We have a rule that it needs to fall into one of our tier releases which means it needs to impact or bring in a certain amount of revenue before it gets built and we have 3 tiers, tier 1 impacts 80% or more of users, tier 2 60-79% of users or tier 3 40-59% if it is below that we don't build it. You can also get great customer quotes that will impact this decision during the quantitative analysis that can impact the risk assessment.
I would first make sure that any assumptions you've made when crafting your proposed idea are clearly documented so that everyone is aligned on the risks. When thinking about assumptions, ask yourself "what must be true in order for this idea to succeed?"
Then try and anticipate questions they'll have about risks and ways you can mitigate them. For example, can you propose experiments to validate hypotheses or identify other ways to derisk a project? Showing that you put thought into thinking about how to mitigate risks and coming with a plan can help others feel more comfortable.
Additionally, sometimes thinking about how you can break the opportunity into smaller pieces and start with an MVP or scaled-down idea can make people feel more comfortable investing in something that needs further validation. You can propose an MVP and identify key things you want to learn/gain feedback on from customers in order to move from MVP into Phase 2.
Again, I think this is where it's helpful to align with your company-level OKRs.
At a high level, you're all working towards the same goals. If you have an idea that you think might help you achieve those goals, it's important to share that with your product org.
Any data you can bring to the conversation will certainly be helpful -- whether that's trends you're seeing in your existing funnel or macro trends like search volume for keywords you might be trying to go after (this is especially valuable if you're trying to advocate for an acquisition-focused free tool, for example).
It's also important to understand the tradeoffs that might need to happen on the product side to make your idea come to life. While your idea might be really cool and support the results your after, there may be some unseen tradeoffs that aren't worth making at this point in time, and that's okay. What's most important is that you've had the conversation and made the decision together.