Sunday, August 07, 2005

360 Degree Audit: Tactical Expectations

Commenting on my proposal for evaluating a product manager's performance, Steve Johnson points out that:

"A 360 degree audit is a good idea but don't forget that sales, marcom, and development are often expecting tactical product support rather than market information. I'm not sure I want them determining my income so subjectively. "

I like Steve's "360 degree audit" term to describe my proposal. The proposal is to evaluate a product manager's performance by surveying the development, marcom, and sales teams to determine how well he has imparted an understanding of the market to them.

Steve rightly points out that these teams often expect tactical help (e.g. a white paper on the product's benefits) from product managers more than market information (e.g. buyer profiles). Of course, many of us have Steve and Barbara to thank for educating the product management community about this tendency of companies to pressure product managers into a more tactical role.

As with all surveys, the key is to frame the questions so that you get useful information. In a future entry, I will discuss how you can structure the survey of these departments to avoid the "tactical expectations" problem.

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