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Thoughts on Measuring Product Leadership

There’s a saying with woodworkers and carpenters, “Measure twice and cut once.” For those who haven’t cut lumber before, it’s a simple principle. When cutting a piece of wood for any project, you should always measure the potential cut twice (with an accurate measuring device) such as a tape measure, and then with the right tools, make a single cut. Over the course of a project, this saves time, valuable resources and materials, and limits the number of project do-overs.

In the world of product management and product marketing, we have measurements. While many of our measurements may be associated with revenue or profitability, there are some other key measurements that should be considered.

In his article, Measurement-driven Product Management, Michael Smart shares that product management and product marketing professionals should consider several types of internal and external focused measurements. They include:

  • Operational Measurements – the measurements behind the measurements. These are leading indicators for most organizations, because they can drive and create outstanding financial results, as well as provide insight on product and team health and success. Operational measurements should include, market sensing, speed-to-market, product adoption, product launch and customer satisfaction.
  • Activity-based Measurements – are the execution side of the measurements fulcrum. While operational measurements are leading indicators to financial results, activity-based measurements are the tactical tasks that lead to the desired operational outcome. Activity-based measurements include, customer interviews, positioning with buyer personas and outside-in views.
  • Rear-view Measurements – aptly named because they are lagging indicators; meaning they cannot drive the performance of people, processes or product. They are financially related.

Measure twice, cut once applies to any product leader. Whether you lead products, a team, or a combination of both, you’re a product leader.

How often do we take time to measure how effective we are as product leaders? Do you take that first cut and realize you should have measured twice before cutting?

Here are several ideas that you could use to measure before cutting:

  • Do I measure my capabilities and strengths and look for ways to improve?
  • Do I lead by example and have I defined measurements for how I lead?
  • Do I contribute to improving processes in my organization?
  • Are my communication skills and orientation effective at any level of the organization?
  • Does my organization or team  know the measurements I’ve set for myself?
  • Do I know the skills, qualifications, experiences and personal attributes of those around me?
  • Do I strive to improve the skills and heighten the value of others?
  • Do I have measurements in place that consider both professional and personal contributions?

As product leaders we should always take time to measure twice, and then use of own measurements to provide accuracy, precision and value within the teams and organizations where we contribute.

If you have experiences in creating leadership measurements, please share them with a comment. If you like the post, please share it via Twitter or LinkedIn.

Thoughts on Measuring Product Leadership by @jim_holland http://wp.me/pXBON-2BO #prodmgmt #prodmktg #leadership