Product Manager Metrics: Creating Opportunities With Why

Product Manager Metrics: create opportunties with why
Product Manager Metrics: create opportunties with why

A product manager and metrics go together like soy peanut butter and jam. The goal of a professional product manager when it comes to metrics is figure out the why.

Product manager metrics: The pb and j of software products
Product managers and metrics go together like peanut butter and jam.

Once your corporate overlords have identified a few relevant corporate level metrics it needs to improve, the next step is figuring out how to move them by generating a hypothesis you can test. and for this there are 2 critical concepts for you grasp

  • An understanding of how you should structure your view of the world.
  • Figuring out what actions you should take

Structuring Your World View: Everything's A Funnel

The next time someone ask you what your favorite shape is, you are going to say “Funnel”. Why? Simply because as a professional product manager, the metrics you are going to be focused on most of the time will be associated with funnels.
Product Management and Website Funnels
If you want to know where product management metrics come from, they come from funnels.

If you take a step back, almost every web product you work on as a product manager is a three part funnel:

  1. Top of funnel: This is where people find you and your product. From a metrics point of view, this is your bulk traffic.
  2. Middle of funnel: Metrics related to prospect generation. Think emails, downloads of white papers
  3. Bottom of funnel: This is where you seal the deal and get users to engage in the behavior that brings you the money. This is usually related to sales and revenue an is the culmination of all steps in your funnel

So when you are looking to generate some forward progress, remember:

Funnel success is the sum of its part: The bottom of the funnel success rate is the sum of the actions at the upper parts of the funnel, so if you want to deal with a problem of “Not enough customers complete a purchase.”, you cant just make people buy more, but rather look through the funnel stages and look at the conversion rates associated with each step of the purchasing process.

If you find that users stop converting at certain points along the funnel, this is a great place for you to ask “Why”?

Actually, wait….before you start asking “Why”, there is one more thing you should do.

Segment your audience:  Focusing on segment behavior leads to a better hypothesis and outcome.   Aggregate metrics often hide significant difference in the behavior of sub populations.  And these sub populations may present you with some easy wins

The 5 Whys Technique

If you are on the lazy side, the video below gives a nice overview of the technique. Alternatively, if you feel like exerting some mental energy, keep reading below.

When it comes to product management, you want to use this technique to generate a testable product hypothesis, a hypothesis that can be validated with either internal or external data. 

  • Ask why you think the metric isn’t where you want it to be.
  • if the answer isn’t a hypothesis that you can test somehow, keep why until you get to a specific testable hypothesis.

Your goal is to get to the core problem, the root of the deeper issue

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