Farheen Noorie

Farheen NoorieShare

Director of Product Management, Growth and Monetization, Zendesk
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Farheen Noorie
Farheen Noorie
Director of Product Management, Growth and Monetization, ZendeskApril 18
  1. Rates: To me without absolute numbers, rates may paint a false picture. Let me explain with an example. Lets say you have a trial experience for your product and you are responsible for the cart experience and thereby conversion rates which is measured by number of paid customers/number of trialers. I would suggest that instead of rates the north star metrics should be a combination of number of paid customers as well as Average Deal Size (ADS) per paid customer. A conversion rate is a good number to track but may lead to wrong hypothesis when you see not normal trends in either your numerator or demonimator. In this example, conversion rate will go down if the number of trials significantly increases or decreases. If you are responsible for rates make sure that you own both the denominator and the numerator of that equation in order to truly able to influence a positive change
  2. Fuzzy metrics: As the say "What cant be measured, cant be managed". Metrics that are not explicit like Customer Happiness and NPS are not possible to measure. I'd go a step further to challenge why should one even measure those metrics and are there any core metrics that can be measure successfully. An example would be instead of measuring Customer Happiness, lets measure Customer Expansion because happy customers expand.  
Farheen Noorie
Farheen Noorie
Director of Product Management, Growth and Monetization, ZendeskApril 18

Product Management is a bit hard to list skills for because product managers wear so many different hats and each company has a different way on how they think of product management. But I do think there are some broad skills that PMs should have or build as they think of their career. 

  1. Hustle - This is the number 1 skill that I look for. If you have this everything else follows or can be built.
  2. Empathy - Understanding your customer and being able to put yourselves in their shoes
  3. Storytelling - Communication is key for product managers but I think its super important to be able to tell effective stories/narratives. 
  4. Prioritization - As a PM you need to make prioritization decisions everyday. Its key to have a good framework on how you are making those decisions and clearly socializing the framework as well as the decisions with your stakeholders and partners
Farheen Noorie
Farheen Noorie
Director of Product Management, Growth and Monetization, ZendeskApril 18

I'd suggest dont split the KPIs. Here is why

Product Management and Product Marketing are two different ways to accomplish the same outcomes. The difference is one is in product and the other is outside of product but both the experiences are touching the same customer and driving the same north star outcomes. 

But in some cases that may not be possible either because of the org structure or just how your company functions. If that is the case I would suggest to map out both the in product and out of product journeys on a unified customer timeline and then go through identifying KPIs, dependent KPIs and counter metrics. Whether the org structure permits or not, Product Management and Product Marketing is dependent on each other, what one does will impact the other one and vice versa.

Farheen Noorie
Farheen Noorie
Director of Product Management, Growth and Monetization, ZendeskApril 18

+1 to arbitrary! I think setting goals for both new and existing markets may feel like excel magic, some numbers that are based on mainly assumptions and the product manager's gut. Its uncomfortable and may feel unscientific but I think all forward planning is like that. 

I would address some uncertainity in the following way

  1. Make sure I am tracking the right metrics, New markets could mean new metrics, the business is starting from scratch and may be different from the metrics that a mature market may have. Example in a mature market I would focus on expansions vs in a new market I'd focus on acquisition
  2. Small experiments to inform goals. I cant stress this enough and often see product managers trying to solve for too much at once. Its important to setup small experiements, learn from them, adjust goals and then rinse and repeat

Its not possible to remove uncertainity completely but its definitely possible to reduce it and get better at making assumptions. 

Farheen Noorie
Farheen Noorie
Director of Product Management, Growth and Monetization, ZendeskApril 18

Usually I would begin with understanding

  1. What are the key customer pain points that I am trying to solve for your customer? Those are my metrics in 9 out of 10 cases
  2. Why is my product team funded? What problems am I solving for the business? 

Once I have the initial list, just like all things product management I PRIORITIZE. What matters the most vs what is not as important. 

Now for every item in the list its also crucial to think through what are the counter metrics. A crude example would be, I want to have more paying customers but a counter metric will be revenue from these paying customers. Lets say, I discount my product enough that sky rockets the number of paying customers, a good check and balance would be the total revenue we are getting from these customers. 

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Director of Product Management, Growth and Monetization at Zendesk
Product Management AMA Contributor