Aren’t product managers accidentally addressing the south star metric?
A “north star metric” is a key performance indicator that a product team focuses on to align with business objectives and customer value. However, excessive focus on this metric can sometimes lead to negative consequences, and turn it into a “south star metric.”
It’s evident that poorly chosen metrics have led to detrimental UX decisions in the past.
I am sharing a list of examples where excessive focus on the north star metric led to negatively impacting the product & business :
- Business metrics negatively affecting user experience ( e.g. introducing refer & earn campaign in the signup journey )
- The inability of the product team to impact business metrics ( e.g. no visibility or control over marketing campaigns or sales funnel )
- Improving one part of a metric chain without considering the overall effects ( e.g. focusing only on acquisition rather than activation or retention )
- When the focus on a particular metric becomes so intense that the team is criticized for spending time on tasks that do not contribute to its improvement.
- Metrics that are insignificant when considered within the larger context. ( e.g. focusing on performance improvement in old tech stack rather than deploying resources on rewriting code )
- Creating north star metric without consulting the relevant stakeholders ( e.g. operations team focus on improving processes however org focus on just improving NPS )
It’s key for PMs to always ensure that the north star metrics are :
- Adopted based on a long-term roadmap.
- Having 100% congruence between business value & user values.
- Should stitch across all the touch points of the user journey.
- Approved & cascaded across all relevant stakeholders.
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