Product Practice #298: Treat your Product Strategy like a Product


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At the end of a workshop on “Useful Product Metrics” I ran this week, participants wondered how many of these concepts would “fit together.”

Even though I try to avoid large, connected concepts (since this is not an all-or-nothing proposition), I tried my best to paint an oversimplified picture for an imaginary strategy choice of a trading app around “getting teenagers to invest in their retirement.”

 How to put this Theory into Practice:

  • Your Product Strategy can be informed by less specific artifacts like your Product Vision or North Star Metric, but it needs to make real choices that allow trade-offs.
  • Don’t stress the starting point for building a KPI tree as the foundation for selecting useful metrics at any level. Start with one metric and ask, “What’s driving this metric?” or “What is this metric driving?” to build the upper or lower driver structures.
  • Lagging Indicators are fine for North Star Metrics or Department/Company OKRs. Make sure to identify the IDLE leading indicators for team OKRs.

That’s (almost) all, dear reader. If you enjoyed today’s issue, please share it on LinkedIn or Twitter to help more people discover it.

Thank you for Practicing Product,


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Content I found Practical This Week

Good Goals/Bad Goals​

A good goal is something we can influence with our actions while at the same time limiting negative externalities. The various paths to achieving the goal are congruent with positive, long-term outcomes. A bad goal is either not directly influenceable or is directly influenceable at the expense of sustainable results.

Arriving at a “Strategic Alignment Score”

1. Codify your strategy by mapping the impact of the drivers for your product/company (using KPI trees, North Star framework, growth loops, etc.). 2. Map all your work in Jira (or whatever tool you’re using) to impact drivers on your strategy map. (If you’re using epics, it will make it easier.) 3. Your “strategic alignment score” is the percent of your active work in Jira that is mapped to impact drivers in your strategy.

Every Product Needs a North Star Metric: Here’s How to Find Yours

For example, at Amplitude our product north star is the weekly # of users who run at least one query in Amplitude. We call it Weekly Querying Users (WQUs). In addition to this, we have metrics around infrastructure performance that is owned specifically by our backend engineering team. Every north star metric can have 4 dimensions – breadth, depth, frequency and efficiency. For Amplitude’s key metric, we have prioritized 3 of these dimensions and currently have product teams driving them forward.

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