How to Do Healthy Product Growth Work

  1. Build a map of how people get value from your product.
  2. Involve all roles in driving growth.

1. Define and Measure User Value

Before doing any growth work, you first need to understand 1) what value people get from your product and 2) how you’ll measure success at scale. (1) is defining the value that your product drives, it should ideally be done before you code anything and written down in your PRD, and requires extensive thinking and research. Basically, (1) takes time and is a topic in-and-of itself, but this note will focus on (2) (but please, if you haven’t defined and understood the value of your product, don’t move on to step 2). Because growth work requires iteration you need to experiment and hypothesize quickly, and in order to do that you need near instant feedback from people on the features and systems that your team builds. Enter: metrics.

2. Build a Map of How People Get Value from Your Product

Now that you have metrics to see if people are getting value, many people will just start throwing darts against the board, but this is the wrong way to start a growth effort. Most of the things you try won’t work (which is fine) but, what’s worse, when something does or doesn’t work you won’t have a clear understanding of why it worked and what you should do next. In order to avoid this state, healthy growth starts with a deep understanding of people’s behavior, the ecosystem that we place them in, and the people problems that arise out of this combination.

3. Involve All Roles In Driving Growth

Now that you have a way to measure success and a skeleton of user value to help you identify and prioritize problems, you can start executing! A key mistake I see teams make is to leave all the execution to the Engineers; execution requires all roles on the team to pitch in.

Summary

Assuming you have defined the value that people can get from your product, the 3 general steps above should provide a framework to get your product from used by some to valued by many. Let me know what I missed in the comments!

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Chris Hatfield

Chris Hatfield

I'm a Product Manager who loves to solve problems at the intersection of how to help people get value out of complex ecosystems and how people make decisions.