How do you judge a product manager?

14 08 2009

How Do You Measure the Results of Product Management?

By Jim Foxworthy

I am interviewing for a Product Management position, and the interviewer asked me how one can measure the results of product management to determine how well it is doing. Can you recommend any resources for me?

This is an excellent question, one I found myself considering from both the interviewer and interviewee point of view. But I will respond with the latter, since you are the one who asked!The measurement of product management results can be seen in both “leading” and “lagging” indicators. Lagging indicators are the more classic business metrics, such as revenue growth, increased customer satisfaction, or even product level profitability. But those metrics involve many more people than the product manager, and take time before they are evident. So as a VP, I prefer to look at leading indicators of product management success. Metrics such as number/frequency of face-to-face visits with the market, followed by the creation of Buyer and User Personas, drafts of Problem Statements, and eventually statistically valid market evidence that describes those Problem Statements by their pervasiveness and urgency. All that input (Personas with Problems that have Market Evidence) goes into the creation of artifacts. Business Cases, Positioning Documents, Requirements Documents —you get the idea.

So, how do I know when a product manager is doing well? First and foremost I can see that they are outside the building interacting with real members of the market. What they learn gets cranked into documents which in turn empower other groups within the company, like Development, Sales and Marketing Communications. And that is how we get to greater revenue, higher customer satisfaction and product level profit.Best of luck in your job search.

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