The Quickest Ways to Ruin a Product Manager's Day

Collected from dozens of real-life PMs, these are the struggles that you know all too well. But are these workplace dealbreakers or just part of the job description?

Product management is a delicate balance of “book smarts” and “street smarts,” a mix of skills and adaptability. Every day seems to present new triumphs and challenges, but there are a few situations that can ruin a PM’s day. Here are our favorites:

When "great ideas" take center stage

Picture this: You're knee-deep in your meticulously planned product roadmap, and suddenly, upper-management swoops in with an "amazing idea." There’s only one catch: it requires your immediate and full attention. While it's sometimes flattering and immensely helpful to receive input from higher-ups, it can be disorienting when their ideas take priority over existing initiatives that have been carefully planned and tested.

Unfortunately, you’re kind of trapped between a rock and a hard place here. It's essential to evaluate these ideas based on their actual business value and align them with the overarching product strategy. Sometimes, these ideas are extremely valuable but just disguised in a poorly-timed suggestion. Other times–well—not so much.

Effectively communicate the pros and cons, and guide the conversation toward a more informed decision-making process that benefits both the product and the organization.

When AI suddenly makes everyone a PM

Ah, the CEO, the visionary leader driving the company's success. But what happens when they base their decisions on questionable sources, like, ehm, ChatGPT?

Perhaps nothing can send a chill down a modern PM’s spine quite like hearing the phrase: "Well, ChatGPT said so." Look, we’re advocates for using AI in product management. It can help with market research, visualization, and product development. We believe in AI enhancing your workflow, not for others to use it to undermine or circumvent your expertise–that’s not cool.

Your role is to facilitate evidence-based decision-making. Encourage a culture of data-driven insights and ensure clear lines of communication. And it won’t hurt anyone to remind your team of the importance of trusted sources–and your years of experience. 😉

Use AI to sharpen your team's product smarts

Make everyone on your team a product expert. Empower your team with product knowledge so you can do your job with 100% less hand-holding.

The unexpected promise

Imagine this: You're eagerly onboarding a new client, only to discover that they were promised features that don't actually exist in your product roadmap. Suddenly, you find yourself caught between the excited client and your engineering team's bewildered expressions. It's like being handed a puzzle with missing pieces.

Well, actually, you probably don’t need to imagine that, because it happens all the time. But, your negotiation skills shine in these situations. Collaborate with the sales team to manage customer expectations effectively and find alternative solutions that align with the product's vision. By turning unexpected promises into opportunities for innovation and creativity, you can surprise and delight your customers while maintaining a healthy relationship with your engineering team. Win-win! 🙂

Communication mishaps and selective attention

You've sent countless emails, made announcements in multiple Slack channels, and discussed it in numerous meetings, but you’re still asked the same questions repeatedly. Product information shouldn't be a scavenger hunt.

Collato knows your pain. That’s why we’ve created an AI-powered Slack assistant that finds and summarizes product information for you and your team.

Now, your whole team can get cited answers to their product questions instantly, directly on Slack. Collato Slack Assistant empowers your team to find the information they need, instantly, without disrupting your workflow. Simplify the process and make knowledge easily accessible for everyone.


There are no silly questions.

And luckily with AI specific to your team's information, there are no silly answers either. Collato Slack assistant empowers your team to find their own answers so you don’t have to.

The analytics time crunch

You're in the zone, meticulously planning and strategizing, when a VP approaches you with a seemingly simple request for "quick analytics numbers." Panic ensues as you realize the presentation is only a few hours away. Breathe! You're a master of prioritization and resource management. Be transparent about the time required to provide accurate analytics and suggest a more suitable timeframe. By setting realistic expectations and establishing efficient communication channels, you can ensure that your VP's slides sparkle with accurate and insightful data.


Product management is an adventure filled with unexpected twists and turns. While challenges can occasionally throw you for a loop, the true mark of an expert PM lies in their ability to transform those moments into opportunities for growth and triumph. Hone your communication skills, foster collaboration, and maintain a sense of humor. You can navigate the roller coaster of product management with grace, turning each challenge into a chance to shine.

Content Writer
Benjamin is fascinated by the intersection between artificial intelligence and the Future of Work. Ben is always researching AI advancements, professional development, and evolving workplace landscapes.