Various product management schools, workshops and certificate programs strongly suggest that attendees will get jobs as product managers. Success metrics seem critical here, but are notably missing. “Of the people who’s already spent thousands of their own dollars on this course, how many are now working as product managers…?”
Chad McAllister invited me to join his Everyday Innovator Podcast. We talked about coaching new product managers, organizational challenges and how to overcome them, making time to talk with lot of customers/prospects, and approaches to corporate innovation.
I’m back from a week of product management workshops and seminars in Sweden, including a Product Leadership event hosted by Tolpagorni’s Magnus Billgren. In a half-dozen discussions with the heads of product management groups, I was struck by how familiar their concerns are. We could have been in Sunnyvale rather than in Stockholm. Topics that came up repeatedly: What metrics do we use for evaluating product managers, and how can we tell if they are doing a good job? Are there PM KPIs*? Our agile development teams tell us that roadmaps are no longer needed, but our customers and sales teams still demand firm commitments.
Continuing a discussion that was raised in a recent discussion between Tom Grant and Saeed Khan where they (we) made a distinction between metrics about products that Product Managers use to monitor the world, and metrics about Product Managers for promotions and salary reviews. Some additional thoughts of mine, along with a lightweight PM assessment tool… Metrics About Products For the most part, metrics track the health of products*. We should be constantly monitoring things like:
PM leaders, such as VPs or Director of Product Management, worry about the health of their teams and processes, not just the health of their products. (See my recent post on metrics.) There’s a shortage of tools to help us evaluate how well we’re doing as PM organizations. I created this simple assessment tool based on a diagram I’ve been using for several years. The diagram highlights three key relationships for a (tech) product manager: with Development, with Marketing/Sales/Customers, and with Executives. (This point of view is not unique. See, for instance, Pragmatic Marketing’s triad model.) This tool provides a few indicators as to whether we’re meeting our core obligations to these three groups. A fourth category pulls together indicators…