Remember the old adage – You cannot manage what you cannot measure. As product managers, we have to measure revenues, number of licenses, performance of our products and a slew of other things.
1) Product performance: When new product releases come out, many companies tout improved performance and say “this new release improved performance by 50%”. This does not mean anything to the customer. Does a particular task now take 5 sec as opposed to 10 sec or is it now 50 sec instead of taking 100 sec? None of this matters if the customer expectation is to do the task in 3 sec or less. From the customer’s perspective, your product’s performance still stinks.
Instead measure your product performance against customer expectations and then find out how far you are from the expectations. If the customer expectation is measured in an absolute number – finish this task in “X” units of time then the performance has to measured in the same units. Only if the customer expectation is to reduce scrap or product deficiencies by 50%, then does % matter.
2) Resumes: I come across so many resumes where candidates claim their achievements using percentages – increased revenues by 100% or increased number of customers by 50%. Again, it does not convey much. Did the revenues go from $1 to $2 or did it go from $20 to $40M or from $200M to $400M? What is the hiring manager’s point of reference – he/she is likely looking at an absolute scale and not a relative scale. And if you are going to make a claim of 100% and the absolute increase is from 1 to 2, then you may want to leave it out unless say it was a multi-million dollar deal. Otherwise you will make a claim of 100% increase only to be exposed during the interview.
Sounds very simple right, but then you probably have seen as many instances of the above as I have.
Image: Courtesy of dvice.com