One minute reads: a North Star in product delivery

Graphic of an open book which says 1 Minute Reads.

At Red Badger our delivery teams often use a North Star metric to guide the way through product delivery. A good North Star tells you if the direction of travel your product teams are taking is having a positive or negative impact on your customers.

A North Star is a single metric of success for a product team. There are a couple of golden rules when it comes to selecting a good North Star

  • It should be measurable
  • It should be a leading indicator of success
  • It should align to your product vision

The most confusing part of the North Star is identifying a leading indicator of success. Most companies have a KPI around revenue. This is needed and is vital, but it’s not a North Star. If revenue begins to fall, something most likely went wrong further upstream and it’s too late to do anything about it. Digital teams should try and find something that they want their users to do within their product and centre their North Star around this. 

A company like Spotify may focus on follows, playlists created or tracks played. They are unlikely to focus on subscription revenue as a North Star. 

At Red Badger we advocate changing your North Star when product delivery focus shifts - there is nothing wrong with this. The North Star is like any other tool that you should use to your advantage. When growing a new product the focus is likely to be onboarding or getting new customers to their first order etc. Building a North Star around this will help align your product team. When the focus of the team shifts to retaining customer or repeat usage the North Star should shift as well.

If you’d like to discuss how Red Badger can help your organisation develop its North Star framework please get in touch

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