Measuring PM Impact as a PM Leader by Microsoft Head of Product, Jorge Palma

Why is it so difficult to measure the impact of PM?

The challenge

  • The role

There is a problem space, some kind of ambiguity, there is a PM, role resources for many different teams, usually from different walks of life, and together the team transforms this problem space and this ambiguity into business value. Businesses are evaluating this as a way to evaluate the impact of the PM. There are some issues related only to business cost.
1. Time horizon for evaluation. If you evaluate for years, then it is difficult.
2. The question of attribution is important - what part of the added value for shareholders was due to you or this person separately.

  • The discipline and value

  • The ladder

It is difficult to use only business values. The role itself, with all the problems it has to be used with, is a bit complicated. Self-discipline and the value of PM discipline is still pretty high up in the air.
Now more and more people are infiltrating the PM, and more and more PM roles are being exposed.
In any role, it will be a little more difficult to measure someone's influence based on the stage of their career they're at. All these things are subjective and depend on many factors.

Evaluating PM Impact

The role of the PM is the system where the input is, basically your investigations, your market insights, your product requirements documents, your one-pagers, your notes, the decisions you make collectively. All of these are inputs that you put into the system that typically generate outputs, which can be features, or the speed of features, or improvements in the quality of existing parts of the product.
The result is not necessarily direct business value. Improving the quality of a piece of product is not a direct business value, but it can be an indirect indicator of business value.
It works at different stages and taking into account a variety of factors.

Evaluating PM Impact – Balance

  • PM career stage

  • Product stage

  • Org stage

For a product in Extract value stage:

Outcomes > Outputs > Inputs

For entry level: Inputs > Outputs > Outcomes

The impact that an entry-level PMO can have on results will be much lower than that of a senior-level PMO, so for entry-level PMOs, the focus should be on measuring the contribution of PMOs. As the PM gets more experienced, key quality elements of the product improve.
For entry-level PMs, inputs carry more weight and result than outputs and outcomes.
In order to decide when to change the equation to measure impact a little differently for that person, the following framework can be used.

Evaluating PM Impact – ASHE

This means a solution focused on both the execution area and the focus area. And there is someone who can define a focus area, a problem area, a vision strategy, focus and start promoting a solution. After that, there is an ability to understand how it can be implemented and bring it to the end.
The graph shows that it is easier to move sideways than vertically. And there is such a part as a mountain, which is difficult to climb.

This means a solution focused on both the execution area and the focus area. And there is someone who can define the focus, the problem area, the vision strategy, focus and start promoting the solution. After that, it is possible to understand how it can be implemented and brought to the end.
The graph shows that it is easier to move sideways than vertically. And there is a part like a mountain that is difficult to climb at a certain stage. And you start to move from simple to complex. Then, when you get a little more comfortable, you start doing it without instructions or with fewer instructions.
As you grow from PM assistant to PM role, you include instructions that you can follow.
In the second step, you become the one who knows and defines the instructions.
When you move to the older group, you see what the task is before you and move on to what you are going to do.
As a PM or Director, you will define the vision for problem solving for the rest of the team.
As we did so, we expanded our capabilities. The problem comes when you start to grow a little more axial.

Communicating and rewarding PM Impact

  • Transparent communication

  • Clear goal setting adequate to the career stage

  • Predictably cycles of evaluation

  • Coaching

  • Providing opportunities

Improving PM Impact

  • Improve PM senses

    • Ensure you have a baseline for your weaknesses and boost your strengths

Think about the I/O and result of the framework and consider if any of the areas are null.

You want to make sure that sometimes you take a step back and use all your feelings about the product. There are many pitfalls. In this diagram, there is only one right sector, all the others are unsuccessful.

  • Prioritize, no really.

You will be good at these OAX axes, for that you will have to perform good quality of execution and you will make an idea that really solves the problem, but sometimes something will be missing. It's not just about prioritization.

  • Quantity vs Quality

  • Horizontals

  • Acknowledge optics and visibility, communicate better

  • Coaching

  • Lead

  • Understand the expectations for your current and next stage

  • Self-Learning

Jorge Palma, Microsoft Head of Product