Previously I wrote a blog focusing on the importance of adopting a user-centric approach to Product Management in order to really make a difference. This time I am focusing on how else you can make an impact. Another big part of positioning yourself as a key member of the Product team as a Junior Product Manager (PM) is knowing how to leverage data, which is what I focus on here.
Know what goal you need to achieve to become an indispensable PM. This information is mostly linked to KPI, data, etc. This is a tangible number you can show to your boss.
However, setting up goals can be complex, as there are many different terms and ways of doing it, from OKR, to OMTM to KPI, business KPI, etc... I suggest starting simple with a North Star Metric (NSM).
NSM is the one measurement that's most predictive of a company's long-term success. To qualify as a “North Star,” a metric must do three things: lead to revenue, reflect customer value, and measure progress.". It is also a metric that should be easy to calculate and understood by multiple departments. This concept was invented by Sean Ellis, a growth guru (S. Hedge, 2018).
It needs to be something that provides value for the customer too, therefore it cannot be a vanity metric. I made the mistake of measuring the success of a product with a vanity metric (VM) as NSM. A VM is a number that is not bringing any value to the customers, and it lacks guidance on what to do next. This normally is a great number to show to the executives, but it can be dangerous if used as an NSM. VM are the number of users, followers, apps downloaded, etc.. it doesn't show the behaviour of the users, but only their size... I did the mistake to set the total number of users as an NSM. This led to a focus on the wrong value lever, and despite constant growth, the engaged (behaviour) users were decreasing...
Analysing the total number of users could also be dangerous as you are missing out on what is happening "now" in terms of growth. By looking at the total number, you are not understanding the impact of the most recent experiments such as ad campaigns, A/B testing, new messaging, etc...
Compare your North Star Metric over time
Which business is doing better, A or B?
This is actually the same company. Do not always calculate the total of your NSM, it is better to measure period-over-period (as in picture B). By doing this you break down your performance in a manageable time frame and can learn from your most recent experiments. Focus on Week-over-Week and Month-over-Month, to increase your learning curve on what experiment works well for your NSM and what doesn't have an impact.
When you have this overview cleared up, show it to your boss, and make them aware of your impact!
So to summarise my key takeaways so far to accelerate the path to become a strong PM:
Keep an eye out for my next blog on Communication for Product Managers!
Thank you to Tiziano Nessi for submitting this blog to Maxwell Bond for publication. Would you like to see your article published? Get in touch with me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to ask about opportunities to feature as a Product specialist in upcoming campaigns, blogs, and events.