Skip to main content

360 Degree Audit: Framing the Questions

If you use a 360 degree audit to evaluate a product manager's performance, you survey the development, marcom, and sales teams to determine how effectively and convincingly the product manager has communicated an understanding of the market to them. What questions should you include in such a survey?

Whether you are a CEO, CMO, or VP of marketing conducting the evaluation, you should not ask the following question in a survey of these teams:
  • "How well do you think the product manager is doing her job?"
As we've noted in the context of conducting surveys of customers, the questions you want answered often aren't the questions you should include in a survey.

Here's a stab at some questions that might yield more reliable feedback. In parentheses after each question, I've specified for which department the question is appropriate.
  • "How well do you understand the problems that prospective customers of the product face?" (all departments)
  • "How well do you understand the different kinds of buyers of the product?" (sales, marcom)
  • "How well do you understand the product requirements, i.e. the criteria the product must satisfy to overcome the key problems the product is supposed to solve?" (development)
  • "How well do you understand the key themes and messages to use in PR and advertising for the product?" (marcom)

I'm sure you can improve the wording of these questions. I'm also sure that several more questions would yield informative results. The point is that these kinds of questions keep the "tactical expectations" problem from poisoning the performance evaluation.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Why Spreadsheets Suck for Prioritizing

The Goal As a company executive, you want confidence that your product team (which includes all the people, from all departments, responsible for product success) has a sound basis for deciding which items are on the product roadmap. You also want confidence the team is prioritizing the items in a smart way. What Should We Prioritize? The items the team prioritizes could be features, user stories, epics, market problems, themes, or experiments. Melissa Perri  makes an excellent case for a " problem roadmap ", and, in general, I recommend focusing on the latter types of items. However, the topic of what types of items you should prioritize - and in what situations - is interesting and important but beyond the scope of this blog entry. A Sad but Familiar Story If there is significant controversy about priorities, then almost inevitably, a product manager or other member of the team decides to put together The Spreadsheet. I've done it. Some of the mos

Henry Ford's "Faster Horse" Quote

You may have heard the ( apocryphal ) Henry Ford quote: If I'd asked customers what they wanted, they would have said "a faster horse". Over at the On Product Management blog , Saeed gives his take on this infamous quote. He "hates" it, and gives some compelling reasons. Saeed is spot on in his explanations. Personally, I think the quote is great, but it's a matter of interpretation. The valid point of the quote is not that it's a bad idea to facilitate a conversation with your market to better understand it. The valid points are: You must ask the right questions to get valuable answers. You must interpret the answers thoughtfully - often outside their direct meaning - to glean reliable information. Asking questions is not always the best way to "listen" to your market. (E.g., sometimes pure observational studies are more reliable.) Nonetheless, I find the quote is helpful to combat "armchair product management" in the

Stop Validating and Start Falsifying

The product management and startup worlds are buzzing about the importance of "validation". In this entry, I'll explain how this idea originated and why it's leading organizations astray. Why Validate? In lean startup circles, you constantly hear about "validated learning" and "validating" product ideas: The assumption is that you have a great product idea and seek validation from customers before expending vast resources to build and bring it to market. Indeed, it makes sense to transcend conventional approaches to making product decisions . Intuition, sales anecdotes, feature requests from customers, backward industry thinking, and spreadsheets don't form the basis for sound product decisions. Incorporating lean startup concepts , and a more scientific approach to learning markets, is undoubtedly a sounder approach. Moreover, in larger organizations, sometimes further in the product life-cycle, everyone seems to have an opinio