PM Performance: Business Growth vs. Personal Growth

When product managers think about performance, there’s a tendency to think about how your efforts impact company growth. In other words, being responsible for launching a quality product or feature is how you gauge personal success. However, as I learned at Uber, making an impact on your company’s growth doesn’t tell the whole story.

Simply put, you need to focus on personal growth much more than contributing to the bottom line. Said differently, you need to find ways to “2x yourself” in addition to driving business results. If your performance capacity isn’t growing at the same rate as your company, then you’re not scaling your talents at an optimal rate.

Ultimately, your personal growth will unlock opportunities to advance your career. While business results are clearly an important indicator for merit increases, it’s only one part of the equation. I learned this lesson at Uber following the introduction of a new feature that I thought would virtually guarantee a new promotion.

If you started using Uber in the early days, you’ll remember that booking your final destination was a bit cumbersome.

Just as you would with standard cabs, customers had to get into the car first and tell the driver where they wanted to go. I’m proud to say that I worked on the team that introduced a feature that is very easy to take for granted today. That feature is the ability to enter your final destination prior to getting in the car.

As a result, the customer experience improved exponentially – both for passengers and drivers alike. For example, customers have confidence that their drivers know exactly where they want to go. In addition, drivers receive turn-by-turn directions before the customer gets into the car. Plus, if there’s a language barrier between the passenger and driver, the customer still gets to where they want to go. Simply put, the driver has turn-by-turn directions in their preferred language and the customer knows that they are going to the right destination.

In the end, I thought my performance in bringing this new feature to market had guaranteed a promotion. However, my manager pushed me for more instead of giving me a promotion. For example, they asked me about the future and how this feature affected our road map. Clearly, I was equal parts disappointed and confused.

With this, I set out to create a framework for product managers to set up their career for upward success. Stay tuned for a summary of how to measure your performance as a product manager.


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About the Speaker
Shalin Mantri
Skip Scooters Head of Product
Shalin Mantri is the Head of Product for Skip Scooters. Prior to joining Skip, Shalin worked at Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group (ATG), helping accelerate the development and testing of self-driving vehicles. Prior to ATG, he founded and led the team that built Uber’s experimentation platform from the ground up, as well as led Uber’s rider experience (i.e. the mobile apps you and millions of others have used to get around the city!). He established the product management rubric being used to calibrate and level all PMs at Uber. Shalin Mantri is a graduate of Stanford University where he earned a double major in Computer Science and Economics, and a masters in Management Science and Engineering.

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