62: How to measure product manager performance

Early on in my blog, I wrote one of my most popular posts – 4 key ways to spot a successful product manager – about measuring the performance of product managers. The problem is that a lot – and I mean a huge amount – has changed in product management, and my own approach, since I wrote it.

I found myself describing to Martin Eriksson at his recent book launch some work I did at the UK’s Ministry of Justice on measuring product manager performance. So here’s an update to my original article from a real-life case study.

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21: Seven KPIs for customer insight

I’m writing about one hundred things I’ve learned about being a product manager.

Knowledge is power for product managers, but you have to gather and interpret the right metrics.  I use these seven key performance indicators (KPIs) to keep track of my customers and to identify products that need some love and attention.  I hope that you can use similar KPIs to expand your customer insight and to drive better performance.

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Painting the Forth Bridge

I’m originally from Edinburgh, despite the distinctly foreign-sounding surname.  Running across the Firth of Forth from South Queensferry are road and rail bridges.  The rail bridge is the older of the two and is a distinctive rust-brown colour, which settles it into its context both by blending in with the surrounding hills and countryside on sunny days, and by contrasting with the grey mist and clouds on overcast days.

There is a popular myth that in order to protect its metalwork from the salty ravages of the nearby North Sea, the bridge needed to be painted to keep it proofed against corrosion.  The task took so long that, by the time the painters finished one job, it was immediately time to begin over.

It occurred to me recently that I’ve spent the best part of the last nine months getting to grips with our financial reporting so that we’d be able to define realistic targets for each of our thirty-odd software products and data sets.  Now that I’ve just finished, I have seemingly a short lull before I have to begin over again.

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4 key ways to spot a successful product manager

How’s my driving?

As a product manager, how do you know you’re doing your job well?

Depending on your personal motivations you may want to know for your own satisfaction, to give your boss evidence at your next pay review, or to give your résumé some teeth for your next job.  This article outlines the problem with traditional metrics for product managers and offers some better alternatives for measuring success: communication, ideas, roadmapping, launch and end-of-life.

Simon, courtesy of GraphJam

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