This post is the complete text of one of my twitter thread.
One of my company moved from 'struggling' to 'cash flow positive' by banning FRs (Feature Requests) during pre-sales cycle. The ban pulled the company out of the vicious circle and allowed to grow.
Back then, start to launch took ~2 years. When the company was launched, feedback from the field was that the product had good features for the problem it was solving. Some enterprise readiness features were suggested before the launch.
As sales team came on-board, we started hearing that some features - critical for sale - are missing. The team decided to support sales and started working on the FRs. I remember getting call almost everyday around 8 PM India time i.e. 7.30 AM pacific and sometimes 2.30 AM IST.
Even after many quarters of rigor, revenue didn't grow. Sales team kept complaining abt product gaps & quality issues. Engg team kept complaining abt changing priorities, tight timelines & continuous burnout. Felt as-if there is no way out. Everyone was hiding behind something.
Then came a milestone decision of banning the FRs from pre-sales. Some felt comfortable & were told "if everything that customer needs is in the product, salesperson is not needed." New sales team was strongly told to just sell whatever is on the truck - No future selling.
It is sounding very simple and logical now when I am writing it. It was never simple to understand & implement all that - a lot ups and downs happened. But results were great: - Product became much better, stable, usable - Company gone cash flow positive w/o reducing head count
I always see some companies in the same vicious circle. They think they can say 'no' to a customer only when they become big. In reality, they will become big only when they focus. For focus, they need to say 'no' to everything that tries them to stray from target.
Couple more things: 1. There is a difference between listening to market feedback and implementing customer asks. 2. Justifying FRs by saying "The item was anyway in the plan - the FR is just accelerating it" is mostly a fallacy. I have never seen it working.
If your company is also in the cycle - Sales is not able to meet targets because FRs are not delivered on time - Engg is burnt with the changing priorities and product quality is going down
Consider this strategy.