Question: "Our CEO dictates the roadmap. He prioritizes at will. I seem to never have a say. What should a Product Manager do in such a situation?"
A: If leadership is unilaterally governing the roadmap, then that points towards poor product culture.
Here are some ideas to deal with this:
1. Before feeling discouraged, try to understand your CEO's perspective. After all, he/she might know something you don't.
There's no harm in asking why a certain thing is being prioritized. You might be missing a caveat.
2. Notice how the CEO talks to a customer vs. you.
They probably are calmer & more understanding to their viewpoint.
So, instead of projecting ideas as "your opinion", do your customer research & present arguments as what real customers are saying (w/out twisting the truth). Document their quotes.
It is harder to dismiss the opinion of someone who pays the bills.
3. Visualize product data in a way that it makes the trend supporting your idea obviously evident.
4. Prototype your idea in Figma & then pitch it. There's a massive difference in telling vs. showing.
If all else fails, you might want to look for another opportunity where teams are more empowered.
Some useful tips on how to make friends with data and metrics as a SaaS Product Manager.
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