4 Smart Ways To Analyze Product Management Team Success

Members of the Aha! team having a deep discussion in Del Mar, CA | Photo by Jodi B Photography

March 27, 2023

4 Smart Ways To Analyze Product Management Team Success

by Brian de Haaff

SMART. OKRs. MBOs. There are plenty of frameworks for setting business and product goals and measuring your progress towards them. These methods are commonly used for tracking product-specific metrics like revenue growth or conversion, but it is just as important to measure how well your team is working. I am referring to metrics around the efficiency and happiness of the product team itself.

The most impactful product teams use self-reflective metrics to make better decisions and optimize performance.

Many product teams do not yet track these types of metrics for a few reasons. For one, heavy workloads often push reflection into more of an afterthought than an area of focus. Maybe you are unsure which indicators to watch, so you anchor on product metrics — neglecting your team's performance or happiness. Metrics like new features created or number of stories delivered can be useful, but on their own they will not typically lead to creating more value for customers.

So what team-related metrics should you be tracking? It depends on your company and product, but generally you should choose based on the behavior you want to inspire. Here are a few essential areas we recommend:

  • Strategic alignment — How aligned are the team's efforts relative to their impact?

  • Efficiency — How well do you complete what you have planned? Do workflows and hand-offs go smoothly?

  • Responsiveness — How well do you work with and support engineering, other internal teams, or customers?

  • Joy — How happy and fulfilled is the team?

Once you know the areas you want to monitor, you can choose relevant metrics in each area, set benchmarks, and discuss the data. Here are some examples of what that might look like:

Maximize impact

Fulfillment follows purpose. The more your daily work contributes to what the broader company is striving towards, the greater sense of satisfaction and meaning you will likely feel. So use your knowledge of the product strategy to maximize the impact of your own efforts.

For instance, align features to top-level goals and score the value of each one to ensure that the team is focusing on the efforts that are most valuable. By estimating the worth of new functionality and mapping it against revenue, effort, and other relevant metrics, you can be confident you are prioritizing what matters most.

Schedule intentionally

Efficiency fluctuates. The team's output will vary depending on a myriad of factors, from economic to organizational to personal. If your company has recently downsized or reduced budgets, for example, your efficiency may decrease in turn.

So what is in your control? Commit to a timeline for delivery and focus on improving your say/do ratio. This might mean introducing release templates or improving how you manage and evaluate ideas in your backlog. Assess and reallocate individual and team capacity to ensure that deadlines continue to be realistic and achievable.

Motivate behavior

Meaningful collaboration is essential. Say that you want to boost the team's responsiveness to each other or customers. For example, our product management team at Aha! is committed to reviewing incoming ideas within 24 hours. This motivates us to move quickly and make the best investment decisions. If you want to encourage responsiveness, define relevant team-metrics — such as time between initial contact and follow-up or number of tickets resolved — then budget regular time for meeting those goal posts.

Investigate deeply

Be grateful for positive and disappointing data points alike — both are a chance to learn and refine your understanding of what the team needs to succeed. If your team's internal Net Promoter Score (NPS) or lovability score is steadily increasing over time, celebrate that success and look for opportunities to cultivate even more team joy.

Conversely, if you notice that team turnover is consistently rising, humble yourself and investigate. Speak candidly with the team about how they are feeling. Be open to what you hear — good and bad feedback is invaluable for effecting real change.

Devoting regular time to analyzing metrics — then using that information to refine your own practices — is critical to product and team success.

Make sure that everyone understands what you are monitoring and why, then analyze changes over time. You should also periodically assess the metrics themselves — confirming that what you are measuring still matters to accomplishing your goals.

Achieving more together requires introspection and a continual desire to keep improving. If your product team commits to measuring strategy, efficiency, responsiveness, and joy, you will not only begin to feel more fulfilled at work — you will also be able to deliver greater value to customers and the business.

Deliver more with Aha! software — try it free for 30 days.

Brian de Haaff

Brian de Haaff

Brian seeks business and wilderness adventure. He is the co-founder and CEO of Aha! — the world’s #1 product development software — and the author of the bestseller Lovability and The Startup Adventure newsletter. Brian writes and speaks about product and company growth and the journey of pursuing a meaningful life.

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