Day 241: Measuring myself

Today is unofficial KPIs day!

I’ve started re-thinking my personal metrics (and by extension, the products I’m working on). Why the sudden thought? A question in jest, an article or two.

You might have heard me lament recently about my lack of experience, or (I cringe) seen my feeble attempts (one and two) to set goals for myself. This still isn’t very natural or comfortable for me – if shining a million-megawatt light on your shortcomings ever will be – but I will continue to try.

I happened to read Julie Zhuo’s (she’s a really good writer, folks) reflection on How to work with PMs today. While it’s targeted at helping designers understand PMs, it also lays down the building blocks of an “exceptional” PM, namely:

  • Clear communication: “…PMs need to represent the goals, priorities, and roadmap of a team to many constituents, including legal, marketing, customer operations, sales, and more.”
  • Being organized: “…be able to deliver the entire map of all the pieces that are required to come together for something to go out the door.”
  • Working well with a variety of people in a variety of roles: “Since PMs don’t typically have the authority to make something happen… they need to demonstrate and earn trust.”
  • Execution: “…how well does the PM ship products that are 1) successful relative to goals, 2) on-time relative to expectations, and 3) smooth relative to how the team feels about it?”
  • Design thinking: how well does a PM understand, appreciate, and help drive a successful user experience? “…she should have a critical eye for what is or isnt a strong design proposal, and understand a designers values even if she doesnt always agree with the suggestions.”
  • Analytical ability: “…considers all the ways something can be known and unknown, and figures out how to gain more certainty and predictability for the future… use all the tools at her disposal to figure out how to set goals, prioritize tasks, and sequence projects in a way that inspires confidence.”
  • Product vision: “PMs who are visionary are like a spark – they ignite and inspire entire teams of people to chase after bold, sometimes very risky new directions.”

Others write pretty cool stuff on quora of course, but I feel this gives a good overview with just enough detail (others tend to dive deep into the more technical, like “writing effective copy” etc.)

So what do I want to work on?

Execution (or at least measuring it) and Analytical Ability. Things I feel are somewhat lacking in my day-to-day. The product might still be in its infancy, but there has to be some way to measure success and back the direction we’re moving in, even if I can’t use Google Analytics (most of the users, being staff, opt-out so our main site numbers aren’t affected).

Let’s see where this goes then!


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