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Leadership

Solomon Ayanlakin

Solomon Ayanlakin

11 days ago

Metrics for product management and being a good leader

Never design a product without explicit metrics and tracking tools.

Imagine driving cross-country without a dashboard. How do you know your school zone speed? Low gas? Without a dashboard, you can't monitor your car. You can't improve what you don't measure, as Peter Drucker said. Product managers must constantly enhance their understanding of their users, how they use their product, and how to improve it for optimum value. Customers will only pay if they consistently acquire value from your product.

Product Management Metrics — Measuring the right metrics as a Product Leader by Solomon Ayanlakin

I’m Solomon Ayanlakin. I’m a product manager at CredPal, a financial business that offers credit cards and Buy Now Pay Later services. Before falling into product management (like most PMs lol), I self-trained as a data analyst, using Alex the Analyst's YouTube playlists and DannyMas' virtual data internship. This article aims to help product managers, owners, and CXOs understand product metrics, give a methodology for creating them, and execute product experiments to enhance them.

☝🏽Introduction

Product metrics assist companies track product performance from the user's perspective. Metrics help firms decide what to construct (feature priority), how to build it, and the outcome's success or failure. To give the best value to new and existing users, track product metrics.

Why should a product manager monitor metrics?

  • to assist your users in having a "aha" moment

  • To inform you of which features are frequently used by users and which are not

  • To assess the effectiveness of a product feature

  • To aid in enhancing client onboarding and retention

  • To assist you in identifying areas throughout the user journey where customers are satisfied or dissatisfied

  • to determine the percentage of returning users and determine the reasons for their return

📈 What Metrics Ought a Product Manager to Monitor?

What indicators should a product manager watch to monitor product health? The metrics to follow change based on the industry, business stage (early, growth, late), consumer needs, and company goals. A startup should focus more on conversion, activation, and active user engagement than revenue growth and retention. The company hasn't found product-market fit or discovered what features drive customer value.

Depending on your use case, company goals, or business stage, here are some important product metric buckets:

Popular Product Metric Buckets for Product Teams

All measurements shouldn't be used simultaneously. It depends on your business goals and what value means for your users, then selecting what metrics to track to see if they get it.

Some KPIs are more beneficial to track, independent of industry or customer type. To prevent recording vanity metrics, product managers must clearly specify the types of metrics they should track. Here's how to segment metrics:

  1. The North Star Metric, also known as the Focus Metric, is the indicator and aid in keeping track of the top value you provide to users.

  2. Primary/Level 1 Metrics: These metrics should either add to the north star metric or be used to determine whether it is moving in the appropriate direction. They are metrics that support the north star metric.

  3. These measures serve as leading indications for your north star and Level 2 metrics. You ought to have been aware of certain problems with your L2 measurements prior to the North star metric modifications.

North Star Metric

This is the key metric. A good north star metric measures customer value. It emphasizes your product's longevity. Many organizations fail to grow because they confuse north star measures with other indicators. A good focus metric should touch all company teams and be tracked forever. If a company gives its customers outstanding value, growth and success are inevitable. How do we measure this value?

A north star metric has these benefits:

  • Customer Obsession: It promotes a culture of customer value throughout the entire organization.

  • Consensus: Everyone can quickly understand where the business is at and can promptly make improvements, according to consensus.

  • Growth: It provides a tool to measure the company's long-term success. Do you think your company will last for a long time?

How can I pick a reliable North Star Metric?

Some fear a single metric. Ensure product leaders can objectively determine a north star metric. Your company's focus metric should meet certain conditions. Here are a few:

  1. A good focus metric should reflect value and, as such, should be closely related to the point at which customers obtain the desired value from your product. For instance, the quick delivery to your home is a value proposition of UberEats. The value received from a delivery would be a suitable focal metric to use. While counting orders is alluring, the quantity of successfully completed positive review orders would make a superior north star statistic. This is due to the fact that a client who placed an order but received a defective or erratic delivery is not benefiting from Uber Eats. By tracking core value gain, which is the number of purchases that resulted in satisfied customers, we are able to track not only the total number of orders placed during a specific time period but also the core value proposition.

  2. Focus metrics need to be quantifiable; they shouldn't only be feelings or states; they need to be actionable. A smart place to start is by counting how many times an activity has been completed.

  3. A great focus metric is one that can be measured within predetermined time limits; otherwise, you are not measuring at all. The company can improve that measure more quickly by having time-bound focus metrics. Measuring and accounting for progress over set time periods is the only method to determine whether or not you are moving in the right path. You can then evaluate your metrics for today and yesterday. It's generally not a good idea to use a year as a time frame. Ideally, depending on the nature of your organization and the measure you are focusing on, you want to take into account on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

  4. Everyone in the firm has the potential to affect it: A short glance at the well-known AAARRR funnel, also known as the Pirate Metrics, reveals that various teams inside the organization have an impact on the funnel. Ideally, the NSM should be impacted if changes are made to one portion of the funnel. Consider how the growth team in your firm is enhancing customer retention. This would have a good effect on the north star indicator because at this stage, a repeat client is probably being satisfied on a regular basis. Additionally, if the opposite were true and a client churned, it would have a negative effect on the focus metric.

  5. It ought to be connected to the business's long-term success: The direction of sustainability would be indicated by a good north star metric. A company's lifeblood is product demand and revenue, so it's critical that your NSM points in the direction of sustainability. If UberEats can effectively increase the monthly total of happy client orders, it will remain in operation indefinitely.

Many product teams make the mistake of focusing on revenue. When the bottom line is emphasized, a company's goal moves from giving value to extracting money from customers. A happy consumer will stay and pay for your service. Customer lifetime value always exceeds initial daily, monthly, or weekly revenue.

Great North Star Metrics Examples

Notable companies and their North star metrics

🥇 Basic/L1 Metrics:

The NSM is broad and focuses on providing value for users, while the primary metric is product/feature focused and utilized to drive the focus metric or signal its health. The primary statistic is team-specific, whereas the north star metric is company-wide. For UberEats' NSM, the marketing team may measure the amount of quality food vendors who sign up using email marketing. With quality vendors, more orders will be satisfied. Shorter feedback loops and unambiguous team assignments make L1 metrics more actionable and significant in the immediate term.

🥈 Supporting L2 metrics:

These are supporting metrics to the L1 and focus metrics. Location, demographics, or features are examples of L1 metrics. UberEats' supporting metrics might be the number of sales emails sent to food vendors, the number of opens, and the click-through rate. Secondary metrics are low-level and evident, and they relate into primary and north star measurements. UberEats needs a high email open rate to attract high-quality food vendors. L2 is a leading sign for L1.

Product Metrics for UberEats

Where can I find product metrics?

How can I measure in-app usage and activity now that I know what metrics to track? Enter product analytics. Product analytics tools evaluate and improve product management parameters that indicate a product's health from a user's perspective.

Various analytics tools on the market supply product insight. From page views and user flows through A/B testing, in-app walkthroughs, and surveys. Depending on your use case and necessity, you may combine tools to see how users engage with your product. Gainsight, MixPanel, Amplitude, Google Analytics, FullStory, Heap, and Pendo are product tools.

This article isn't sponsored and doesn't market product analytics tools. When choosing an analytics tool, consider the following:

  • Tools for tracking your Focus, L1, and L2 measurements

  • Pricing

  • Adaptations to include external data sources and other products

  • Usability and the interface

  • Scalability

  • Security

An investment in the appropriate tool pays off. To choose the correct metrics to track, you must first understand your business need and what value means to your users. Metrics and analytics are crucial for any tech product's growth. It shows how your business is doing and how to best serve users.

Jason Kottke

13 days ago

Lessons on Leadership from the Dancing Guy

This is arguably the best three-minute demonstration I've ever seen of anything. Derek Sivers turns a shaky video of a lone dancing guy at a music festival into a leadership lesson.

A leader must have the courage to stand alone and appear silly. But what he's doing is so straightforward that it's almost instructive. This is critical. You must be simple to follow!

Now comes the first follower, who plays an important role: he publicly demonstrates how to follow. The leader embraces him as an equal, so it's no longer about the leader — it's about them, plural. He's inviting his friends to join him. It takes courage to be the first follower! You stand out and dare to be mocked. Being a first follower is a style of leadership that is underappreciated. The first follower elevates a lone nut to the position of leader. If the first follower is the spark that starts the fire, the leader is the flint.

This link was sent to me by @ottmark, who noted its resemblance to Kurt Vonnegut's three categories of specialists required for revolution.

The rarest of these specialists, he claims, is an actual genius – a person capable generating seemingly wonderful ideas that are not widely known. "A genius working alone is generally dismissed as a crazy," he claims.

The second type of specialist is much easier to find: a highly intellectual person in good standing in his or her community who understands and admires the genius's new ideas and can attest that the genius is not insane. "A person like him working alone can only crave loudly for changes, but fail to say what their shapes should be," Slazinger argues.

Jeff Veen reduced the three personalities to "the inventor, the investor, and the evangelist" on Twitter.

Alison Randel

Alison Randel

14 days ago

Raising the Bar on Your 1:1s

Photo by Anotia Wang @anotia

Managers spend much time in 1:1s. Most team members meet with supervisors regularly. 1:1s can help create relationships and tackle tough topics. Few appreciate the 1:1 format's potential. Most of the time, that potential is spent on small talk, surface-level updates, and ranting (Ugh, the marketing team isn’t stepping up the way I want them to).

What if you used that time to have deeper conversations and important insights? What if change was easy?

This post introduces a new 1:1 format to help you dive deeper, faster, and develop genuine relationships without losing impact.

A 1:1 is a chat, you would assume. Why use structure to talk to a coworker? Go! I know how to talk to people. I can write. I've always written. Also, This article was edited by Zoe.

Before you discard something, ask yourself if there's a good reason not to try anything new. Is the 1:1 only a talk, or do you want extra benefits? Try the steps below to discover more.

I. Reflection (5 minutes)

Context-free, broad comments waste time and are useless. Instead, give team members 5 minutes to write these 3 prompts.

  1. What's effective?

  2. What is decent but could be improved?

  3. What is broken or missing?

Why these? They encourage people to be honest about all their experiences. Answering these questions helps people realize something isn't working. These prompts let people consider what's working.

Why take notes? Because you get more in less time. Will you feel awkward sitting quietly while your coworker writes? Probably. Persevere. Multi-task. Take a break from your afternoon meeting marathon. Any awkwardness will pay off.

What happens? After a few minutes of light conversation, create a template like the one given here and have team members fill in their replies. You can pre-share the template (with the caveat that this isn’t meant to take much prep time). Do this with your coworker: Answer the prompts. Everyone can benefit from pondering and obtaining guidance.

This step's output.

Part II: Talk (10-20 minutes)

Most individuals can explain what they see but not what's behind an answer. You don't like a meeting. Why not? Marketing partnership is difficult. What makes working with them difficult? I don't recommend slandering coworkers. Consider how your meetings, decisions, and priorities make work harder. The excellent stuff too. You want to know what's humming so you can reproduce the magic.

First, recognize some facts.

  • Real power dynamics exist. To encourage individuals to be honest, you must provide a safe environment and extend clear invites. Even then, it may take a few 1:1s for someone to feel secure enough to go there in person. It is part of your responsibility to admit that it is normal.

  • Curiosity and self-disclosure are crucial. Most leaders have received training to present themselves as the authorities. However, you will both benefit more from the dialogue if you can be open and honest about your personal experience, ask questions out of real curiosity, and acknowledge the pertinent sacrifices you're making as a leader.

  • Honesty without bias is difficult and important. Due to concern for the feelings of others, people frequently hold back. Or if they do point anything out, they do so in a critical manner. The key is to be open and unapologetic about what you observe while not presuming that your viewpoint is correct and that of the other person is incorrect.

Let's go into some prompts (based on genuine conversations):

  • “What do you notice across your answers?”

  • “What about the way you/we/they do X, Y, or Z is working well?”

  • “ Will you say more about item X in ‘What’s not working?’”

  • “I’m surprised there isn’t anything about Z. Why is that?”

  • “All of us tend to play some role in maintaining certain patterns. How might you/we be playing a role in this pattern persisting?”

  • “How might the way we meet, make decisions, or collaborate play a role in what’s currently happening?”

Consider the preceding example. What about the Monday meeting isn't working? Why? or What about the way we work with marketing makes collaboration harder? Remember to share your honest observations!

Third section: observe patterns (10-15 minutes)

Leaders desire to empower their people but don't know how. We also have many preconceptions about what empowerment means to us and how it works. The next phase in this 1:1 format will assist you and your team member comprehend team power and empowerment. This understanding can help you support and shift your team member's behavior, especially where you disagree.

How to? After discussing the stated responses, ask each team member what they can control, influence, and not control. Mark their replies. You can do the same, adding colors where you disagree.

This step's output.

Next, consider the color constellation. Discuss these questions:

  • Is one color much more prevalent than the other? Why, if so?

  • Are the colors for the "what's working," "what's fine," and "what's not working" categories clearly distinct? Why, if so?

  • Do you have any disagreements? If yes, specifically where does your viewpoint differ? What activities do you object to? (Remember, there is no right or wrong in this. Give explicit details and ask questions with curiosity.)

Example: Based on the colors, you can ask, Is the marketing meeting's quality beyond your control? Were our marketing partners consulted? Are there any parts of team decisions we can control? We can't control people, but have we explored another decision-making method? How can we collaborate and generate governance-related information to reduce work, even if the requirement for prep can't be eliminated?

Consider the top one or two topics for this conversation. No 1:1 can cover everything, and that's OK. Focus on the present.

Part IV: Determine the next step (5 minutes)

Last, examine what this conversation means for you and your team member. It's easy to think we know the next moves when we don't.

Like what? You and your teammate answer these questions.

  1. What does this signify moving ahead for me? What can I do to change this? Make requests, for instance, and see how people respond before thinking they won't be responsive.

  2. What demands do I have on other people or my partners? What should I do first? E.g. Make a suggestion to marketing that we hold a monthly retrospective so we can address problems and exchange input more frequently. Include it on the meeting's agenda for next Monday.

Close the 1:1 by sharing what you noticed about the chat. Observations? Learn anything?

Yourself, you, and the 1:1

As a leader, you either reinforce or disrupt habits. Try this template if you desire greater ownership, empowerment, or creativity. Consider how you affect surrounding dynamics. How can you expect others to try something new in high-stakes scenarios, like meetings with cross-functional partners or senior stakeholders, if you won't? How can you expect deep thought and relationship if you don't encourage it in 1:1s? What pattern could this new format disrupt or reinforce?

Fight reluctance. First attempts won't be ideal, and that's OK. You'll only learn by trying.

Sean Bloomfield

Sean Bloomfield

17 days ago

How Jeff Bezos wins meetings over

Photo by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash

We've all been there: You propose a suggestion to your team at a meeting, and most people appear on board, but a handful or small minority aren't. How can we achieve collective buy-in when we need to go forward but don't know how to deal with some team members' perceived intransigence?

Steps:

  1. Investigate the divergent opinions: Begin by sincerely attempting to comprehend the viewpoint of your disagreeing coworkers. Maybe it makes sense to switch horses in the middle of the race. Have you completely overlooked a blind spot, such as a political concern that could arise as an unexpected result of proceeding? This is crucial to ensure that the person or people feel heard as well as to advance the goals of the team. Sometimes all individuals need is a little affirmation before they fully accept your point of view.

  • It says a lot about you as a leader to be someone who always lets the perceived greatest idea win, regardless of the originating channel, if after studying and evaluating you see the necessity to align with the divergent position.

  • If, after investigation and assessment, you determine that you must adhere to the original strategy, we go to Step 2.

2. Disagree and Commit: Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, has had this experience, and Julie Zhuo describes how he handles it in her book The Making of a Manager.

It's OK to disagree when the team is moving in the right direction, but it's not OK to accidentally or purposefully damage the team's efforts because you disagree. Let the team know your opinion, but then help them achieve company goals even if they disagree. Unknown. You could be wrong in today's ever-changing environment.

So next time you have a team member who seems to be dissenting and you've tried the previous tactics, you may ask the individual in the meeting I understand you but I don't want us to leave without you on board I need your permission to commit to this approach would you give us your commitment?

The woman

The woman

21 days ago

Why Google's Hiring Process is Brilliant for Top Tech Talent

Without a degree and experience, you can get a high-paying tech job.

Photo by Mitchell Luo on Unsplash

Most organizations follow this hiring rule: you chat with HR, interview with your future boss and other senior managers, and they make the final hiring choice.

If you've ever applied for a job, you know how arduous it can be. A newly snapped photo and a glossy resume template can wear you out. Applying to Google can change this experience.

According to an Universum report, Google is one of the world's most coveted employers. It's not simply the search giant's name and reputation that attract candidates, but its role requirements or lack thereof.

Candidates no longer need a beautiful resume, cover letter, Ivy League laurels, or years of direct experience. The company requires no degree or experience.

Elon Musk started it. He employed the two-hands test to uncover talented non-graduates. The billionaire eliminated the requirement for experience.

Google is deconstructing traditional employment with programs like the Google Project Management Degree, a free online and self-paced professional credential course.

Google's hiring is interesting. After its certification course, applicants can work in project management. Instead of academic degrees and experience, the company analyzes coursework.

Google finds the best project managers and technical staff in exchange. Google uses three strategies to find top talent.

Chase down the innovators

Google eliminates restrictions like education, experience, and others to find the polar bear amid the snowfall. Google's free project management education makes project manager responsibilities accessible to everyone.

Many jobs don't require a degree. Overlooking individuals without a degree can make it difficult to locate a candidate who can provide value to a firm.

Firsthand knowledge follows the same rule. A lack of past information might be an employer's benefit. This is true for creative teams or businesses that prefer to innovate.

Or when corporations conduct differently from the competition. No-experience candidates can offer fresh perspectives. Fast Company reports that people with no sales experience beat those with 10 to 15 years of experience.

Give the aptitude test first priority.

Google wants the best candidates. Google wouldn't be able to receive more applications if it couldn't screen them for fit. Its well-organized online training program can be utilized as a portfolio.

Google learns a lot about an applicant through completed assignments. It reveals their ability, leadership style, communication capability, etc. The course mimics the job to assess candidates' suitability.

Basic screening questions might provide information to compare candidates. Any size small business can use screening questions and test projects to evaluate prospective employees.

Effective training for employees

Businesses must train employees regardless of their hiring purpose. Formal education and prior experience don't guarantee success. Maintaining your employees' professional knowledge gaps is key to their productivity and happiness. Top-notch training can do that. Learning and development are key to employee engagement, says Bob Nelson, author of 1,001 Ways to Engage Employees.

Google's online certification program isn't available everywhere. Improving the recruiting process means emphasizing aptitude over experience and a degree. Instead of employing new personnel and having them work the way their former firm trained them, train them how you want them to function.

If you want to know more about Google’s recruiting process, we recommend you watch the movie “Internship.”