Product Velocity: Get Feedback!
Change.org Product VP on Driving Product Velocity (Part 3)
It should go without saying, but it’s important for product managers to broadcast victories and goals scored as much as possible. Still, you can distill product velocity down to something even more valuable. For example, ask teams to count their total shots, neutral results, losses, wins and big wins. Break it down by the entire team and each individual team as well. Then post the results.
During this exercise, I noticed:
- We experienced plenty of losses.
- The team that took the most shots had the most “big wins.”
- The more shots you take, the faster you learn.
As a product manager, I saw 70 percent of the total value generated across the organization was coming from the big wins – which were only 4 percent of the shots taken.
Every shot we took had strong reasoning behind it to make us think it could score, but only 4% scored big. This convinced me that we had to take lots of shots. Furthermore, the faster you can take shots – your end results will be that much better.
Prior to this entire process – getting rid of mediocrity, avalanches and analyzing feedback – we were shipping 2-3 items a week. Afterward, we ramped up to 10-20. Then, after 12-18 months we were up to 150-200 items shipped per week, variance included.
We send out items, see if they generate value, and move on with those items. Now, with automation and automatic experiment generation, we’ve grown to 60K items shipped per week. Currently, we have 1.5 million live experiments on the site. In the end, we generate tremendous value.
Before all this, our team was in the doldrums, and it wasn’t the most exciting place to be. But by accumulating wins and gaining momentum, we pushed through.
Now we’re growing quickly, and we’ve seen a 30% quarter on quarter growth for two years. We’ve met our goals, and we’re investing again. The change.org team is growing, and even more important is that we help drive some of the most important political movements in the world. We power people-driven movements to have more impact.
Here’s a summary. Remember to:
- Be bold – Go all in. Align incentives.
- Stay focused – Kill mediocre features. Do it fast.
- Align – Take shots on goal. Set up avalanches.
- Use feedback – Shout out victories from the rooftops. Review your shot success.
Product managers have a large influence in improving the velocity and capacity of their teams. There’s much more room for growth than you realize!