How to Think About Goal Setting for Your Product Org

Naomi Ionita, Partner Menlo Ventures (previously at Evernote and Invoice2go), gave a fantastic presentation around setting up a successful product org. I highly recommend watching it as it’s full of great insights.

One slide that really resonated with me was the idea about how metrics trickle down from company goals all the way down to an individual’s work.

Screenshot 2018-08-05 16.02.20.png

The best product organizations have strong alignment. Everyone knows why they’re building what they are and how it could potentially impact the overall company.

The PM is the messenger

I believe that he PM plays a critical role in ensuring that team members understand the overall company goals and how they trickle down to their own individual work. PMs act as the glue that brings goals together and they should often repeat and remind their team members.

Some ways to do so include:

  • Repeat Often, Include Often
    Structure your team presentations and potentially even product specifications around high level product goals and work your way down to the feature. Sometimes this can be a few words and sometimes a diagram does the best job.
  • Remind During Metrics Review
    When looking over usage metrics of a particular feature, begin by showing overall metrics that relate to company goals. Even if that goal is financial and the feature work is around usage, simply mentioning and reminding team members of the overall direction is helpful to set the tone.
  • Get Others Using the Same Shared Language
    Ensure team members know the overall company goals and team goals by asking them to mention them during their presentations and their reviews. This could include sprint planning or even design reviews.

PMs need to be the leaders here. Engineers, designers, and fellow peers can be far more motivated to do their best work when the company goals translate into what they’re doing each day so they know how it fits into the bigger picture.

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