Most of the folks I work with understand this. They work with me to schedule activities, deliverables and feedback. I love these people.
Some of them don't understand this. They suffer from what I call the "I want it yesterday" syndrome. I love these people too, but for different reasons.
These sort of people are passionate about what they do, and that passion spills over into urgency for themselves and others. I appreciate urgency, because passion on behalf of customers is no sin.
The challenge is that some issues are more urgent than others. And this is where the IWIY syndrome turns ugly.
Most of the folks who have this condition are type-A drivers who occupy a place at the center of a universe - their universe. By definition, sufferers of the syndrome are not good collaborators, and even worse planners. But they are excellent at the subtle art of making your live hell by impugning your ability to execute. Which, as all product marketing guys know, is the kiss of death.
And so, here are my hard-won tips to dealing with these people. Who, I must repeat, I simply adore.
- Don't make committments you can't keep. This is the #1 cause of death among product marketing professionals, and IWIY sufferers know it.
- Don't apologize for your decisions regarding relative task priority across your portfolio.
- Don't back down from your priorities.
- Don't engage in private email conversations with them. Bring in their manager and your manager.
- Do invite them to participate in planning.
- Do encourage them to prioritize their requests based on business value. Not everything they want is equally important, which oddly enough, they recognize.
- Don't get angry. They can't help it, and you must recognize that in them, and love them for it.
Which you do need.