Metrics Sharing at a PM Community of Practice

As part of our Product Management Community of Practice, we regularly share metrics. 

We experimented with a few ways this could work. 

At one point, it was anything goes:

  • Data to help make a decision
  • Pre-shaping opportunity estimate
  • Team dashboard
  • ROI estimate
  • Ongoing project goal metric
  • Post-launch metric

They also talked about where they were having challenges and got input from the group, such as knowing what they wanted to measure for their project, but not being sure how to measure that information.

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Invite ‘Special Guests’ to Community of Practice Meetings

Continuing in the series of how to keep a community of practice engaging, for our PM Club, we’ve had a number of ‘special guests’ that have led to interesting conversations.

We were lucky enough to have Rich Mironov present to us one time, which led into an interesting conversation. We followed up that conversation by reading another one of his blog articles that related to that conversation, and continuing the conversation on our own.

Examples of other special guests have included:

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Use “Vote & Discuss” for an Engaging Meeting

To encourage engagement in a book club or a community of practice meeting, have everyone vote before you start a conversation.

It’s a lot easier for people to agree with what everyone else is saying, or just stay quiet, but if they have to vote first, then you can have more conversation about where the group has variances in how they voted. 

Depending on what tools you’re using, you can vote anonymously, or you can have team members vote in such a way that you know who voted for what. The advantage of the latter is that you can call on people to ask them why they voted the way that they did. Of course, you don’t want anyone to get defensive or dislike the workshop, so this will depend on the topic and how close-knit your group is. 

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Communities of Practice: Making it Engaging

It can be hard to keep regular meetings interesting, whether that’s a book club, or a community of practice such as the “PM Club” that I lead weekly with my team. 

Even with good questions as prompts, I found just bringing together the group to talk about an article or a chapter didn’t seem to be quite enough after a while. Particularly as the team grew, it became harder to have great discussions. And what came out of the discussions? Could I really be sure that everyone walked away with an understanding that they could apply to their work? Particularly when we did this week… after week… after week… for months. It got a little old, honestly. 

But what else is there to do? 

That’s what this series is about.

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Example of the filled-in prioritization 'tray'

Running a Cross-Team Initiatives Prioritization Brainstorm

Late in 2022, I was looking to get alignment on cross-team initiatives we’d work on in 2023 across multiple teams. I wanted input from a certain group of engineering managers and product managers on:

  • Which initiatives we wanted to go after
  • What our order of priority was

Whenever possible, getting input from everyone involved leads to far better results from both a buy-in perspective and from a two (or more) heads-are-better-than-one perspective than just making the decision yourself in a vacuum. You can’t always make decisions by committee, but you can get input that way. In this case, I was able to both get consensus and the input ended up changing my mind so that I was aligned with the group on the priorities.

This post is about how I set up the brainstorm.

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Creating Team-Driven Product Management Principles

Inspired by Martin Eriksson’s Product Decision Stack video, I set up a brainstorm for my team. What were our PM principles that could act as “shortcuts” in helping us make difficult decisions that would also ladder up to our strategy and vision?

The product managers watched a few key minutes of Eriksson’s video, and then we brainstormed.

The board was set up  like this, in Miro:

[sticky note] even over [sticky note]
[sticky note] even over [sticky note]
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Careers in Product #OhioTechDay

Recently, I had a conversation with Jariatu Mansaray and Mike Belsito about careers in product for Ohio Tech Day, facilitated by Shawn Leitner. Shawn asked us about:

  • How did you get into Product Management?
  • What’s your day-to-day job like?
  • What’s your advice for those considering a future in Product Management?

Take a look!

Book Review: No Rules Rules


Cover of "No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention" by Reed Hastings and Erin Meyer

“No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention” by Reed Hastings and Erin Meyer

This book is incredibly well-written. I loved the back-and-forth between Hastings’ viewpoint and Meyer’s. Each concept is told with excellent stories surrounding them. Having Meyer’s voice as someone telling the story as seen from the outside is a powerful counterpoint to Hastings’ first person knowledge.

For anyone who is leading a company, or in a position to influence how a company is led, this book is invaluable. Hastings and Meyer walk you through the building blocks to Netflix’s winning culture, block by block, explaining how each relies on the previous one for the next to be possible.

Note, however, that this isn’t a generic leadership book. If you’re not leading a company or can’t influence how one is led, it’s likely to be interesting, but not that useful. I can’t see many of the principles and ideas in this book working at a departmental level.

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