The APC: Measuring the Performance of the PMs

As an essential part of my job description is to measure the performance of the product managers, I created a simple framework I follow when evaluating my team – The APC.
The APC method is a guideline for what represents the top 3 competencies of a good product manager. These are prerequisites for delivering high-quality outcomes.
I am confident that if a PM masters these 3 competencies, he will be a great performer in any company.

APC Method for measuring the performance of product managers

1. Analysis
Product managers should be able to measure and document the state of the product, user behavior, costs and impact for each initiative.
The scope at this stage is to establish whether a product or feature it is worth building, improving or keeping.
After conducting the analysis the PM should get answers to the following:
  • WHY – what is the final outcome are we trying to achieve with the initiative
  • WHAT – what exactly are we planning to build
  • HOW – how are we going to do it
  • SUCCESS METRICS – how we will know we achieved our goal
  • PRIORITY – according to the expected impact of the initiative
  • DEPENDENCIES – what other initiatives are needed for accomplishing the goal


How do you measure it?

The quality of the analysis is reflected in the quality of the analysis output.

Few things to look for:

  • is the scope clear and aligned with the product vision?
  • is the impact of the initiative is clear and measurable?
  • is there a clear Go-To-Market strategy?

Without proper analysis, the following 2 skills cannot be fully achieved. Having a good analysis to back him up will allow the PM to prioritize and communicate better.

2. Prioritization / Persuasion
The PMs should be bold when prioritizing. Focusing on less will allow them to address the most important challenges first. Setting the product roadmap without real market feedback their biggest challenge. This happens because of their lack of analysis skills or confidence in the current role.
How to identify bad prioritization:
  • the top priority doesn’t have the biggest impact on the current goal;
  • the effort needed to deliver the initiative is too high;
  • there are many tasks outside the scope added during the sprint;
  • there are frequent changes or updates on initiatives once started. This also shows missing research or insufficient attention to detail.
3. Communication
The PMs don’t have authority over most of the people they work with. From the development team to marketing, sales or support, many people need to need to align in order for them to be successful.
The best way to measure the level of good communication is to ask for feedback from the stakeholders. Ask them to give you clear examples of both good and bad behaviors within your team. Also, check if all the teams have clarity on the product roadmap.
It is hard for most of us to exceed in all three areas, most of the time we will be comfortable in one. What’s important though, is to be aware of exactly where we stand.
For example, some people might good at analysis and bad at communicating. In this case, you will have a hard time creating the bond necessary for teamwork. Don’t expect data to be enough for people’s motivation. There are few people that are into data, they need to be convinced that your proposal is the right one.
Others might feel comfortable communicating, but they don’t like (or have the skills necessary) to do a proper analysis. As a result, they will try to sell an idea that is not backed up by data. Most of the time they will be challenged by their superiors and fail to argue their initiatives. And, in most cases. they will not be sure if they are building the right product.
Print the Venn diagram presented below and ask your team to highlight one or two areas where they feel you are doing a good job. This will be a great way to get proper feedback and see where you need to improve.

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