Common Mistakes In Defining Metrics - Brian Balfour - Deepstash
Product Management Essentials

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Metrics are not a replacement for Strategy

Your metrics are a reflection of your strategy. They help answer, is the strategy working? Metrics without strategy is like looking at a bunch of random numbers.

You need to define the strategy before you define your metrics. What are the key hypotheses of the strategy? What metrics would indicate those hypotheses are true?


139 reads

Definition Is More Important Than A Dashboard πŸ“Š

Most people focus on "building a dashboard." But what is 10X more important is choosing which metrics are important and defining those metrics well.Β 

Defining is more complicated than people think. For example, there are many ways to define a retention metric depending on your product. Your dashboard is a method to communicate your metrics, which is important, but useless if you choose and define them poorly.


88 reads

Outputs vs Inputs ℹ️

Most metrics like a retention metric or revenue metric are output metrics. These are metrics you should should monitor.

Giving output metrics to teams as goals can be dangerous. They need to know how to break them down into input metrics to make them actionable. When this doesn't happen it leads to teams thrashing between things.


67 reads

Usage First not Revenue First

This is the most common version of outputs vs inputs. Usage creates revenue, revenue does not create usage. As a result the most important metrics in terms of creating growth are not your revenue metrics, they are your usage metrics.


95 reads

Retention β‰  Engagement πŸ˜•

Lots of teams think retention and engagement are the same things. They are not:

  • Retention is binary. It answers the question, was this person active within my defined time period? Yes or no.
  • Engagement is depth. It answers the question, how active were they within the defined timed period? 0β†’N. Engagement is an inputs into driving retention.


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Life-long learner. Passionate about leadership, entrepreneurship, philosophy, Buddhism & SF. Founder @deepstash.


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