Driving Growth vs Building Core Value by Roan Lavery

BY James Gadsby Peet ON NOVEMBER 16, 2018

Summary: Product managers always find themselves trying to make disparate groups of people happy. FreeAgent has created a three-step framework to help manage this process across organisations. It starts by defining the core value of a product, in a way that everybody can understand, and then maps user journeys, at varying points of the user’s lifecycle. Finally, it creates a scorecard from a variety of KPIs.

Product managers often sit between stakeholders who are asking for new features. From the sales team asking for help to win deals, to users complaining about something that doesn’t fit their use case, we can feel like we’re always letting someone down. But marketing and sales need to be engaged with the development process to help make it successful.

Product considerations must still be looked at. New features, improving performance and addressing UX issues can’t be ignored in order to please the loudest voice in the room.

This is a difficult situation to balance, but FreeAgent, where Roan Lavery is Chief Product Officer, has found three approaches that help it to make better decisions:

Roan Lavery at mtpcon London

1. Articulate Core Value

First, ask how you help customers succeed. It’s not just the features, but what they allow people to do. What does your business mean to them? The obvious way to do this is to ask your users why they’re using your product, as well as how they’re doing it.

From here though, it’s crucial to bring it back into the rest of the organisation. You can do this by articulating a vision, a set of user needs, the jobs to be done and the features that enable all of these.

2. Map User Journeys

It’s no use having features that meet customer needs if they’re unable to find them. In order to understand this you need to start mapping how people flow through your product’s core value proposition.

This needs to be done throughout the lifecycle of your users – someone who has just signed up will look very different from someone who has been using your service for three years.

Once you have a better understanding of the current user journeys, you can work out when people are getting to the point of ‘wow’. This means you can make prioritisation decisions which are based on shortening this time over everything else. For Freeagent, this meant bringing forward the user’s connection to their bank. Even though it extended the onboarding process, it increased conversion and retention because people saw a core product value sooner.

Roan Lavery speaks at mtpcon London

3. Balanced Scorecard

Google’s Happiness, Engagement, Adoption, Retention, and Tasks are the metrics that FreeAgent uses to balance its prioritisation.

Customers recommending the product will give you a better sense than anything if your app is bug free. While NPS data is helpful, softer metrics are just as key to understanding where you are.

Pulling these metrics and indicators together into a scorecard that is understood across the organisation, democratises the appreciation of where the product is. It helps you to explain why you’re focusing on a particular area and brings a more balanced conversation to the problems you face.

At FreeAgent, as soon as a KPI goes red, a team can switch off whatever they’re doing and divert resource to fix it. This isn’t an automatic changing of the roadmap, but it generates a conversation about how best to fix the problem that engages the whole organisation.

James Gadsby Peet


James Gadsby Peet

I've been in the digital industry for over 10 years and have worked across small and large charities, as well as my own freelance projects. I am now Director of Digital at the sector leading creative agency William Joseph. Having been at Cancer Research UK for the last four years, I have been able to work on high volume, high profile campaigns such as Race for Life, Dryathlon and the much-quoted #nomakeupselfie. In that time I helped drive forward the charity’s digital product and marketing capabilities to be some of the most respected and successful in the sector. I'm always excited to work with other organisations, share expertise and swap cat gifs. Give me a shout!