In 2017, according to the Project Management Institute (PMI), a quarter of new business projects were expected to fail, many because they didn’t have a good enough handle on their product goals.
Here’s the hard truth: without clear product goals, you and your team will struggle to bring your plans to fruition.
At June, we know this better than most. In this article, we’ll show you how to establish clear product goals and use them as launchpads to success!
What is a Product Goal?
A product goal is a long-term objective that you need to fulfill in order to turn your vision into reality.
It can take months or years to go from the planning and envisioning stage to product delivery. During this time, it’s very easy for people to lose sight and forget the goals they have set for the product they’re working on.
- Product goals function as road markers. They can help keep you and your team on the right track, no matter how long the project takes.
- Product goals also act as a reminder. It can be easy for product team members and stakeholders to lose sight of their product vision and forget what the product is all about.
By having a list of goals, you can ensure that everyone is on the same page and all eyes are on the prize.
Good product goals
You need to bear in mind three things when it comes to choosing good product goals.
- Easy to understand: Product goals should be written in such a way that every team member and stakeholder has a clear understanding of what the goal means and how it relates to them.
- Actionable: The goals must be do-able and not beyond the ability or resources of the organization or the team.
- Achievable: They must be realistic. Unrealistic product goals will cause morale to drop among team members because they’re impossible to achieve.
A Product Goal Example
Here’s an example of a well-defined product goal.
Increase user retention by 10% in Q1.
As you can see, the product global is written in plain English and contains an actionable and achievable task.
Plus it has a clear deadline – the first quarter.
In this case, the product team could use the User Retention template from June to make the job easier. June’s template can help you keep track of all the relevant data on user retention and provides you with a handy visualized chart, which makes it a whole lot easier to see if you’re on track to achieving your product goal.
Next Step: Product Initiatives
Once you have clearly defined your product goals, you need a plan that will enable you to achieve them.
That’s what product initiatives are for.
Product initiatives include all the important tasks and actions your team must take in order to achieve the product goals you have set for yourself.
These product initiatives are typically spread across the whole organization and can involve many different teams throughout your organization.
Product initiatives can take time to complete, so it’s important to have a realistic timeline in mind when you’re coming up with a product initiative.
A Product Initiative Example
Let’s say we have a product initiative that involves achieving that 10% customer retention goal we set ourselves in the previous section.
Here’s what such a product initiative might look like for this goal:
- Optimize the 30-day free trial for Q1.
- Strengthen security features in the next 5 months.
- Add 5 collaboration features for Q4.
To make the job easier, you can use June’s Feature Release template, which can track the progress of such product initiatives.
Sprint goals are short-term goals that break up your overarching product goals into smaller, more manageable objectives. They allow you to achieve your product goals in an incremental, iterative manner.
Imagine your product goal as a ladder. Each rung on the ladder is a sprint goal. You get closer to achieving your overarching product goal with each step you take.
A Sprint Goal Example
Let’s use our previous example of increasing user retention by 10% in Q1.
To that end, the scrum team (the group responsible for developing and delivering your products) can come up with a few sprint goals.
- Sprint goal 1: Analyze customer data to identify their pain points and potential opportunities.
- Sprint goal 2: Set plans to address customer pain points and leverage identified opportunities.
- Sprint goal 3: Deploy these plans within Q1.
- Sprint goal 4: Measure user retention rate in Q1 to see if numbers are improving as planned.
Product goals can sometimes be confused with product vision, but there’s a crucial difference.
Product goals are middle-term objectives, while product visions are longer term tasks an organization sets itself. Simply put, your product vision is your product's overarching goal. It describes what the product can do for your customers and how it can grow your business.
A product vision can have a deadline, but not always. It serves as a motivating force and a reminder to help your team stay on track. Many product teams may never achieve 100% of their product vision. That's okay! Many product visions are written so that they can never be realistically achieved. In these cases, getting very close to the final vision is good enough.
Product Goal: Reach 10,000 new users by the next 12 months.
Product Vision: Provide an intuitive project management system that can help support teams.
The Product Roadmap
It's easy to plan a single product goal, but when it comes to setting up several goals, product roadmaps come into play. A roadmap is a plan showing how your product should ideally change over time and includes a timeline that will allow you to stay on track.
The map should make it easier for scrum teams to stay on track with their product goals, each building on top of the last.
Here's a simple product roadmap:
- First product goal: Focus on creating an initial user base.
- Second product goal: Acquire additional users.
- Third product goal: Generate revenue.
Product roadmaps are a common practice that scrum teams benefit from. They can create an effective sales and marketing strategy that increases the team's productivity and efficiency. Losing sight of the initial product goal can result in losing users. It's why using a clear-cut roadmap is so important.
To make the most of a product roadmap, you can use June’s Slipping Away Users template to track when users quit or slip away from your product.
This template displays measurements such as Last Event Received, First Seen, Last Seen, Total Events, and more. By analyzing this type of data, you can keep tabs on which of your users look like they’re about to stop using your product and re-engage with them accordingly.
Remember, getting a new customer costs five times more than keeping one you already have!
The Product Backlog
A product backlog lists everything that must be present in the final product. In other words, it contains every requirement you or your clients have for the product that must be included when it’s finally delivered.
Product backlogs are sometimes lengthy documents. Depending on the project's complexity, a backlog can include hundreds or even thousands of tasks.
The best practice is to add an item to the product backlog if it contributes to completing the product goal. You should avoid adding minor or inconsequential fixes or improvements to the backlog so that you keep the backlog to a reasonable length .
Set Strong Product Goals
Setting the right product goals is crucial for you and your team if you are going to turn your vision into a successful product.
There are three things you can do to set robust product goals:
- Maximize input from your team.
- Set yourself SMART goals .
- Be realistic about the standard you set yourself.
We examine each of these below.
Every scrum team member must be on the same track when creating a product goal. Collaborating with your team is the only way of achieving a product goal effectively.
This collaboration isn't limited to the scrum team but involves all stakeholders. Pay attention to the stakeholders' input! They will ensure that the scrum team works according to key business objectives and metrics.
If you're a product owner, including your team every step will result in a more authentic product goal. It will also increase organizational awareness and a sense of ownership. As a result, the company will enjoy better team productivity.
Finally, utilizing user input is crucial. This is especially true when it's time to focus on the goals that need data to complete. In this case, scrum teams can use analysis software or templates to see how users interact with the product.
Set SMART Goals
Scrum experts have been stressing the importance of SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) goals for a long time. And rightfully so! They’re an invaluable set of objectives that allow you to keep your eyes on the prize.
From the beginning of the project, scrum teams should have specific metrics that measure whether the product is valuable or not. It's also crucial that scrum team members are assigned deadlines. It helps the team move forward with the project in a time-effective manner.
Here are a few examples of SMART goals to consider:
Specific: Increase mobile app users by creating targeted social media campaigns.
Measurable: Increase mobile app users by 10,000.
Actionable: Increase mobile app users by creating targeted campaigns across Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok.
Relevant: Increase mobile app users. Mobile users tend to use our products longer and increase profitability.
Time-Bound: Increase mobile app users by 10,000 within the next 12 months.
SMART: Increase mobile app users by 10,000 by creating targeted social media campaigns across Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok within the next 12 months. Mobile users tend to use our products longer and increase profitability.
Devise Realistic Standards
Creating underwhelming product goals for your scrum teams will get you nowhere. At the same time, it never hurts to dream big.
The product goal must be ambitious enough to entice customers, meet business objectives, and challenge the scrum team positively.
Finding the perfect balance of ambitious and realistic product goals can be tricky. You don't want your scrum team spending months on a project that's impossible to achieve in the long run.
Not only do unrealistic product goals demotivate your team, but they also disappoint users and shake stakeholder trust. So it's best to understand how realistic and feasible your product goals are before you pursue them.
Our advice is to ask product engineers and marketing experts for their input. They will give you the information you need to create realistic product goals.
The heart of your product goal should be user satisfaction. This means that scrum teams must focus on user needs above all while working on the project.
In this case, learning what the user wants, needs, likes, or dislikes is crucial. The only way to ensure that is by keeping close contact with your customers and tracking their activity on your product.
Analysis tools like June are the perfect way to keep track of user engagement with your product. Our tools allow scrum teams to get insights and real-time reports on what users like and dislike about your product.
For example, the Power Users template allows scrum teams to track which users love the product and what they love about it. This way, you'll be able to track the progress of your product goal as well as the health of your business!
Not only does this template help you track your power users, but it also helps you communicate with them. The template allows you to calculate the weekly and monthly users' curves and stick to your product goal efficiently.
Track Your Product Goals With June!
June can help scrum teams plan and manage a product development cycle.
We offer templates that help you monitor the progress of your product goals and determine where your business is meeting your users’ expectations and where it’s falling short.