The opposite of improv comedy is product management

In improv comedy there’s one golden rule; “Yes, and”. It’s the mantra taught to new improvisers to encourage them to always accept the absurd premises of their scene-mates and add to the absurdity. In product management it’s almost a cliché that it’s your job to say no to a lot of competing ideas, but I’d like to propose a mantra for our profession; “No, because”. Saying no is important but it’s only half of what’s needed. It’s equally important to be prepared to explain why not to all stakeholders. As a PM you can lean on company vision, KPIs, delivery dates, and a host of other tools as explanations - but saying no without an explanation breeds animosity and resentment among your stakeholders, and they deserve better.

Saying yes and will make you a better improviser – but no, because will help you get more things done.

Jeremy Kovac