Figuring out solid goals as a product manager is challenging because there are so many ways to approach your work. One of the reasons is that you have goals have to be measurable.
Here are 5 goals that I set for my own product management career in 2015 to get you on the right track.
1. Seek a marked improvement in customer satisfaction metrics
Metrics are very useful because they allow for an objective look at data. What I did was I recorded relevant metrics from a monthly, quarterly and annual basis, and then graphed them over time. It allows me to compare the timeline of metrics with significant decisions and events in the product lifecycle. Analysis like this gave me a starting point for discussions and team meetings. Understanding which actions directly lead to successes or failures are important for figuring out what to change our processes.
There are many ways for me to continue learning, and I will outline just a few ways. I expect to attend at least one professional seminar, course, or trade show to broaden my skills. This forces me out of my comfort zone ,which allows me to grow more as a professional.
Learning can also come from unconventional, less formal methods. Teaching/mentoring others either in the workforce or online can help build your experience. One of the best ways that I have found to learn is through teaching. I could gain new perspectives from co-workers as well as find new ways to solve practical problems.
I will never expect that my learning and growing will come to an end. If it does, it means that I did not challenge myself enough or I’ve reached a ceiling in my professional career.
3. Research more about other relevant products and market influences
In order to best extract value out of my strategic product plan, I research everything about what the product does, how it works, and the market conditions surround it. However, this is already a given for any product manager. What I will be looking to change is spending more time spend researching products outside of my organization.
Understanding the competition is equally as important as understanding your own product. What may elude some managers is researching seemingly unrelated products and markets. I will scour technology publications, popular culture, and social media for ideas. I’ll never know where I might find inspiration.
4. Schedule more team meetings- specifically for feedback
While seeking customer feedback is important for developing consumer products, internal feedback is just as important. Within the next year, I expect to have more regular specialized team meetings. In these meetings I will focus on feedback for a variety of topics: the development process, future learning opportunities, project post-mortems and brainstorm sessions. After each meeting I record important information so I can refer to them in the future. It also gives me more data to compare over time as I’ve said in the first point.
5. Celebrate milestones
One flaw with SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-specific) objectives is that they are extrinsically motivated since they tie money to work performance.
If you only celebrate over financial success, then it may lead to stagnate team morale. You work for the paycheck rather than to create a great product. Instead, I will celebrate small victories like hitting high customer satisfaction milestones, or when the project team resolves particularly complex problems.
Overall, these 5 goals I set myself for 2015 will allow me to measure my success objectively, and grow as a product manager.