1. Planning, Tracking

Setting goals and measuring progress against them is a valuable opportunity for reflection about what is and isn’t working.

Product people who haven’t set clear goals work on whatever they feel is important that week. A lack of direction typically leads to a vicious cycle of lacklustre results due to lack of focus, needing to expend more energy & effort finally walking away with less. This is a recipe for disengagement & burnout.

It’s hard to work out the right things to track. Start with the basics – what’re your metrics or outcomes for acquisition, activation, retention, referral & revenue? Your company may have specific leading metrics that give greater insight into the success (or not) of your initiatives – track those too.

Product people usually work towards quarterly or half-yearly goals. High performers check in on initiatives (the work which drives your goals) at least weekly – typically daily. They check for progress against goals at least monthly/fortnightly, ideally weekly.

Interrogation & reflection frequently means initiatives not delivering results get dropped sooner so resources and effort can be fuelled into other more lucrative initiatives. Goals, outcomes, and metrics are optimized & sharpened earlier in the goal cycle rather than at or after your company-prescribed goal review cadence.

2. Rigorous, thoughtful execution

Initiatives make it happen – new features, partnerships, iterations to a product or process.

High performing product people typically have many “small bets” in flight at once – small bets build confidence, being cheaper, easier to execute with a low cycle time to learn & disprove a hypothesis small bets are a valuable strategy.

Context switching or, keeping many “irons in the fire” or “plates spinning” doesn’t come naturally. Multitasking is a myth so high performance in the product space usually means a system is in place to reduce the cognitive load which accompanies an aggressive product person’s quarter, 6 or 12 month plan.

Strong conviction for an initiative could evaporate once execution begins. Iteration, perhaps a complete pivot could be required due to new knowledge, competitor activity or a change in the landscapeBecause high-performing product people are dialed in to the status (red, amber, green), progress 0-100 where are we in terms of execution, also the latest/next for each of their initiatives.

The path to a high-performing product person

You need a simple but robust method for linking together & tracking your

“why” which your company may express as Objectives or Narratives 

“measures” which your company may express as key results, commitments, milestones 

“how” which your company may express as initiatives, tasks, projects

If you’re looking for a solution, try 

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August 23, 2023

Written by

Paul Alvares

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