Metrics | Product Management — All about Metrics

Product Management — All about Metrics
Medium | Mar 02, 2022

Comparison between Facebook & Twitter and their use of Engagement & Growth Metrics

What makes a good metric?
(1) Strategic
(2) Understandable/Actionable/Relevant/Referenceable
(3) Rate or Ratio
(4) Correlation vs. Causation
(5) Changeable

Metric rollup
Counter metric
Exploratory vs Reporting Metrics

Methods to select your perfect metric
HEART = Happiness, Engagement, Adoption, Retention, Task (Kerry Rodden)
Across these dimensions, you will identify goals, signals, and metrics to measure how well your product is doing.
Goal = something the user is trying to do or something you are trying to help them to do
Signal = a change in user behavior that indicates that the user is achieving the goal
Metric = a way to measure signal and quantify how much user behavior has changed

Concludes with a walk you through an example for an imaginary product.

Author = Alaa MohyEldin

Scrum | Scrum VS Classic Project Management

Scrum or Classic Project Management: Which is Better?
Team Clarizen | Jul 12, 2021

Scrum project management is rooted in Agile methodology, which is a framework in which small teams carry out the incremental and iterative delivery of a product.

(…) There are generally two main types of methodologies exercised depending on project specs: Classic Project Management and Scrum.

(…) “The Iron Triangle” is a term for the basic foundation of any project management method and refers to the cost, schedule and scope of a project.
(…) Scrum is a process framework that was developed for project management after technology—and more specifically, software—became integral components of major projects. The term itself simply refers to an “ordered formation of players used to restart play,” and the method is all about prioritization and time-boxing over fixing the scope, schedule and cost of a project.

(…) The main difference between scrum and classic project management methodologies can be summed up as fixed scope vs. iterative decision making. Classic project management calls for project managers to look at the development as a whole whereas Scrum has no problem dividing it up into segments.

One of the largest discrepancies in the two techniques is due to the simple differences in terminology. The following are some ways in which the terms differ:
Schedule = Sprint (or Release)
Scope = Sprint Backlog
Work Breakdown Structure = Task Breakdown
Productivity = Velocity
Estimate to Complete = Burndown Chart

(…) Can You Use Both? If you can’t decide between the two, it’s perfectly acceptable for organizations to use both waterfall and scrum. It’s not uncommon for development teams to use a scrum method, for managers to use JIRA to handle their teams and for project managers within the same organization to use a waterfall method.


Roles | Agile Project Manager VS Scrum Master

Why an Agile Project Manager is Not a Scrum Master
DZone | Mar 03, 2013

Interesting rant from the past (2013!). Excerpts:

(…) It’s not Scrum for these reasons:
The project manager and product owner start the release planning and ask the team if the release planning is ok. The team does not generate the initial draft of release planning itself. In Scrum, the team is supposed to generate all of the planning itself.

The checkin is different from the Scrum standup and the objectives of the checkin are different. I did suggest to the teams that if you want to create a cross-functional team where the functions are separated, if you ask people how they are working together, you might help them work together. Sometimes those questions work, and sometimes they don’t. It depends on the team and whether the people want to work together.

(…) The real difference is the difference between a Scrum Master and an Agile Project Manager. A Scrum Master is not a project manager. A scrum master does not manage risk by him or herself. A project manager will take on the risk management responsibility without asking the team.

A Scrum Master has only allegiance to the team. A project manager has responsibility to the team and to the organization. That means that the project manager might feel torn when the organization pressures the project manager to do something stupid.

(…) Agile makes it easy to protect the team. The question is this: does the Scrum Master have other responsibilities in addition to protecting the team or is the Scrum Master full time? An agile project manager tends to be full time on a geographically distributed team. Even on a geographically distributed team, a Scrum Master is not seen as a full time position. Bless their tiny little hearts, managers don’t seem to understand that transitioning to agile, especially for silo’d distributed teams with different cultural norms is non-trivial. They will make room for a project manager, but a Scrum Master? Oh no. Makes me nuts.

(…) I have nothing against Scrum Masters. Some of my good friends are CSTs (Certified Scrum Trainers). However, they are not all project managers, and have not been project managers, and have not studied the field of project management. Some have been. And, the real issue is this: In a two or three day workshop, they cannot convey to a person who may or may not have been a practicing project manager all of their project knowledge.

(…) I respect Ken and Jeff’s work too much to call it Scrum when it’s not.

Author = Johanna Rothman


Roles | Project Manager VS Scrum Master

What Is The Difference Between Traditional Project Manager And Scrum Master?
iZenBridge | 04/01/2019

Project Manager [PM]

PM owns the goal of delivering a project. The team assists the PM in delivering the work products of the project. The PM is in charge of the project management processes right from planning to the execution stage. PM is the center of all the action and is a single point of contact for successful delivery of the project.
PMs have the “Project” Mindset. With this mindset, all the key decisions are taken by the PM. The mindset is all about how to deliver the project on time. The teams follows and executes them.
To successfully achieve the project goal, PM must be having project context and knowledge, delegate tasks, update plans, drive multiple status meetings, communicate with stakeholders and focus on process.

Traditional Project Manager
owns the goal of delivery of project.
does all the work right from Planning, prioritizing features, managing dependencies across teams, takes Risks, communicates etc.
is single point of contact for driving the delivery of the project
PM is the center of all the action and is a single point of contact for successful delivery of the project

Scrum Master [SM]

Unlike PM, the SM is not accountable for delivery of the project. SM is grounded in servant leadership and facilitation, the SM roles do not map directly to any deliverables.
The SM owns the goal of making the team accountable for the project. The Team is at the center of all the action. Scrum master takes the back seat, guides the team by demonstrating the best practices of scrum ceremonies, mentors, grooms, coaches, and develops the team into self-organized, self-managed team. SM inculcates the agile mindset, scrum values, and promotes XP Practices into the team in a way that the team sustains delivering the customer value continuously with no compromise on quality.
Team follows “agile manifesto” values and does all the work done by the traditional project manager. Once the teams are fully coached and transformed into high performing self-organized teams, it’s like attaining Nirvana for the agile teams. The Scrum Master makes the team self-organized, shields the team from outside distractions and assists the team in unblocking any impediments, so that the team can achieve its desired goal.

Scrum Master
owns the goal of making the team accountable for the project.
Team follows “agile manifesto” values and does all the work done by the traditional project manager.
guides the team towards delivery of project.
The Team is at the center of all the action. The Scrum master is out of the action and plays a role of facilitator and servant leadership

Article also includes a few other opinions on these roles

Author = Giri Saran


Remote | Revisiting Agile Teams after an abrupt shift to Remote

Revisiting Agile Teams after an abrupt shift to Remote
McKinsey Insights | April 2020

Agile teams traditionally excel when their members are co-located. Here’s how to ensure they’re effective now that COVID-19 has forced them to work remotely.

Sustaining the people and culture of a remote agile team
– Revisit the norms and ground rules for interaction
– Cultivate bonding and morale
– Adapt coaching and development

Recalibrating remote agile processes
– Remote agile ceremonies come with unique challenges

Chart w/Scrum Ceremonies : Objectives, challenges for remote teams, solutions

– Establish a single source of truth
– Adjust to asynchronous collaboration
– Keep teams engaged during long ceremonies
– Adapting leadership approach
– Various approaches can help teams engage customers and external stakeholders

Chart w/Challenges ; Engaging purposefully, providing transparency, effective collaboration

Note: Article recommended by Bob Schatz, one my Scrum instructors.

Authors = Santiago Comella-Dorda, Lavkesh Garg, Suman Thareja, & Belkis Vasquez-McCall (McKinsey Insights, McKinsey & Company)

Facial Recognition: a T-shirt to hide from cameras

Some shirts hide you from cameras—but will anyone wear them?
Ars Technica | April 10, 2020

It’s theoretically possible to become invisible to cameras. But can it catch on?

Interesting read.


As use of surveillance systems grows and becomes endemic globally, designers worldwide are rising to meet the challenge in a variety of ways. Some, like sunglasses or infrared-blocking scarves, may be able to go mainstream quickly if mass-produced. Others, including Goldstein’s “cloaks” or similar shirts made by a team of researchers from Northeastern University, IBM, and MIT, are a whole lot less likely to catch on.

The trick to expansion is threefold. First, people have to be interested in wearing adversarial designs. Second, the design actually has to work as intended. And third: the design has to be something you wouldn’t mind being seen wearing while also, ideally, being good-looking enough that others will want to wear it, too.

Author = Kate Cox (Ars Technica)

Roles | Project Manager in Agile

Role of a Project Manager in Managing Agile Projects
Journal of Business & Financial Affairs | Aug 12, 2016

Always interesting to read about how Agile & Scrum are perceived out of the IT world. This dates from 2016 and is a good read. Excerpts:

(…) Project manager in agile project
According to Turbit et al., a project manager is a way to connect to the steering committee [10]. The responsibilities of a project manager include the following:
• Managing people in an unpredictable and stressful environment – In agile projects, project timelines are critical. Project Manager ensures the sprint of the project is completed on time.
• Motivating everyone to remain focused on reaching the goal. In a large agile project, challenges and issues create frustration among team members. Project manager motivates his team members to avoid any issues that degrade employees’ performance.
• Modifying work-pressure and timelines to keep the pace – The project is divided among several segments which need to be completed phase wise in a specific timeline. The project manager assigns tasks to individual and balances the workload.
• Managing issues and escalating to the right authorities – Project manager informs the right person at the right time to resolve the issue.
• Communicating changes to the stakeholders – Project manager informs all the stakeholders about the status of the project.
• Fighting for the proper resource – Project manager manages approvals for required resources from the authorized people.
• Preparing project plans and making changes if necessary – Project manager helps to prepare project plans and ensure the project plan is being followed. If any changes required, he ensures changes are updated in the project plan and communicated to all.
• Developing risk management plans – Project manager identifies risks and develops risk management plans.
• Resolving issues to keep the project moving – Project manager ensures any interpersonal conflict, political issues, technical skill scarcity, shortage of the budget should not harm the project. He takes preventive actions to avoid risks.

(…) Project manager as a scrum master
As a scrum master, a successful project manager attains a daily meeting with the team members. This helps the project manager to identify any issues that the team members have faced or shared the update among all the team members [11]. As a scrum master, the project manager is responsible for sharing status reporting, communicating changes, risks, project plans and to identify any missing roles. Contrary to waterfall method, roles are distributed among all the team members. The key people in an agile method are the team members, scrum master, and the client.

(…) Findings: How role of a scrum master differs from a PM
According to Frederico et al., the role of a project manager and a scrum master differs from each other [12]. In an agile project environment, the roles of a project manager and a scrum master are as follows:
• A project manager manages the project – scope, cost, timeline and the overall quality of the project. A scrum master manages each scrum to reach the project goals.
• A project manager might manage multiple projects at a time. A scrum master usually focused on a specific project team.
• A project manager manages the budget and the risks of the project. A scrum master motivates the team members, facilitates sprint planning and scrum meetings.
• A project manager focuses on processes and allocates tasks to the team members. A scrum master helps to improve team dynamics and acts as a servant leader if required by the project.
• A project manager is a communicator between the management team and the team members. A scrum master is the facilitator and trains the product owner.
• A project manager informs the management about the project progress and coordinates with other teams. A scrum master motivates the team members and increases the team bonding.

Author = Soumita Banerjee


Remote | ZDNet Special Feature: Working from Home: The Future of Business is Remote

ZDNet Special Feature: Working from Home: The Future of Business is Remote
ZDNet | Undated

(…) From Fortune 500 enterprises to very small businesses, every organization has been thrust into the future faster than prognosticators dared dream. What factors will determine failure or success in this brave new world of work?

A variety of topics related to “Working from home: the new normal”. Each topic has its article with interesting ideas and perspectives, tools & tips. List of topics:

  • Work from home 101: Essential tools for telecommuting
  • What does the new normal look like post COVID-19? 15 CXOs answer
  • Everything you need to reopen your business
  • How remote working forced us to look beyond the traditional PC
  • Survey: Most US employees are uncomfortable returning to the workplace as restrictions ease
  • How the young workforce is responding to COVID-19 pandemic
  • Your Zoom meetings will be safe and secure if you do these 10 things
  • ZDNet Recommends: The best products for every office
  • Remote-working checklist: 10 top challenges you’ll face
  • Survey: CFOs looking to make remote work, telecommuting more permanent
  • Windows 10 alert: Zoom client can leak your network login credentials
  • I’ve been working from home for 13 years and I’m beginning to hate it
  • 9 remote work best practices from Verizon’s HR chief
  • Working from home on a laptop? Check out these external monitors
  • How one team switched 4,000 staff to remote working in just a week
  • Could COVID-19 change the look of the office as we know it?
  • With everyone working from home, VPN security is now paramount
  • Best video conferencing software for business
  • Coronavirus updates: How COVID-19 is accelerating the future of work
  • 64 expert tips for staying healthy, happy, and productive
  • Build a super-functional home office for $1,000
  • Slow Wi-Fi? 8 ways to speed up your home office network
  • Managing telecommuters? Here are 8 management tips
  • Hardware dilemma: Desktop or laptop with docking station?
  • Working from home? Switch off Amazon’s Alexa (say lawyers)
  • Your home Wi-Fi network is going to be exposed by telecommuting
  • Build a budget home office for under $300
  • Working from home: Cybersecurity tips for remote workers

Author = ZDNet

Remote | Remote Work VS Distributed Work

The crucial difference between remote work and distributed work
Work In Progress Dropbox Blog | April 03, 2020

Remote work is a discipline for the individual worker, but distributed work is a discipline for the entire organization.

Distributed work needs different tools
Distributed work needs a new social contract
Distributed work needs a more agile org chart
Distributed work needs a smart workspace

Author = Anthony Wing Kosner

Roles | Project Manager VS Scrum Master

Project Managers Make Lousy Scrum Masters
Vitality Chicago | Jul 26, 2018

Interesting read. In a nutshell:

Project Managers Are Predisposed to Control
The main challenge that project managers have when performing the scrum master role is that it is different. The skills and approach that make a project manager great will make a scrum master fail.
If I were to pick out just one thing that project managers need to focus on, it would be control. PMs are predisposed to manage and control. What do they control? Everything! That is how they make sure their project succeeds.
In A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), we can see all the areas that project managers are expected to manage or control including scope, time, cost, quality, human resources, communications, risk, procurement and stakeholders…which is pretty much everything.
The project manager has overall responsibility for the successful initiation, planning, design, execution, monitoring, controlling and closure of a project. The project manager takes charge and succeeds by getting work done through others. The project manager has also been the one to blame when things go wrong.
In contrast, the scrum master is a servant leader who doesn’t have the overall responsibility for delivery. The scrum master supports the product owner and scrum team to take responsibility for all aspects of the work: planning, estimation, executing and delivery. The primary responsibilities of the scrum master could be summarized as:
Teaching and coaching scrum to the team and product owner
Helping the development team to self-organize
Removing impediments
Serving the product owner, dev team and organization
Facilitating scrum events

Project Managers Need to Relinquish Control

A Quick Litmus Test On Command And Control
While not perfect, this assessment might give you an idea of the level of control you tend to exert. Take a moment to go through the questions below and track how many “yes” responses you have:

Identifying Controlling Behavior
Do you feel that you need to monitor your team members so that they don’t slack off?
Do you believe that you generally know what is best, and willingly offer solutions and advice?
Do you tend to interject yourself into problem solving, even when you are not invited to get involved?
Do you try to make the results conform to your idea of what the results should be?
Do you feel uncomfortable when others are in control and you are not?
Do you feel uneasy by the idea that your employees or team may operate fine without you?
Do you feel the need to be involved in the details and decisions to reduce the risk of the project failing or having a misstep?
Do you feel solely and personally responsible for the success and failure of the people you lead?
Do you tend to step in or override others to protect them from possible mistakes or the consequences of their decisions?

Author = Anthony Mersino