There was an old joke that used to circulate every time the nice people in marketing would circulate a brochure or a press release or a sell sheet or an ad or whatever that "everyone is in marketing" because every one who touched the piece - regardless of whether or not they were qualified to do so - felt it was their job to monkey around with it.
"Change the font."
"Can you move these paragraphs around?"
"This message isn't strong enough."
"We need a quote from such-and-such."
And so on.
This used to frustrate the nice people in marketing who actually knew how to do their jobs, but who were tradition-bound to invite other people outside of marketing to get involved in the business of marketing. Too often the head of marketing wouldn't stand up for his or her people, and so the adventure continued, to the detriment of the marketing department which was increasingly seen as "indecisive". Really. I can't make this stuff up.
Theseadays, as I read various and sundry product management blogs and twitterings and rumblings from the underground I'm starting to see the same awful malignant practice that used to plague marketing departments start to afflict the product management craft. The challenge here is that the meddling is constant instead of seasonal, and it's coming from higher up in the org. We've created this problem by writing about product management, and now non-PM people are using what little they know about it to show how smart they are.
"Our customers want such-and-such. Go do it."
"That's too late to deliver that product. Make it sooner."
"These guys over here are the new shiznit. Partner with them."
"I'm the chief such-and-such officer and I know this market and here's what you need to do."
"I want these guys in the beta."
"You don't have enough market research to make that call."
And so on.
Here's how I avoid these problems, because I do. I'll even boil it down to two sentences you can say with your mouth full of food.
"Everybody has a stake in the success of this venture, and everybody has a special unique contribution they can make to that success that no one else can. If we all play together and work hard to delight our users, we can be successful together."
Smile when you say it.
Getting the people who think they are product managers out of product management is a matter of attitude - it is possible to be collegial in the effort to create the best possible outcome without creating an environment in which decision-making becomes diffused, or worse, capricious and inconsistent.
You, dear product manager, must create a process environment that involves the team appropriately and you must ride that process like a world-class cowboy as the surest way to get stuff done. Because if people don't understand your process and the role they play in it, they are free to play any role they want at any time and expect that their inputs will be acted on (if they are senior enough to get away with it).
So good luck with that. We've got no one else to blame for it but ourselves.