Decide on a North Star for Distribution
The Product team has a goal to become more data driven. The first step is for each group to set a single North Star metric that Product can use as a guide for setting priorities, and give us more insight into product usage trends. For Distribution, it should be a single overarching metric that all of our product work aims to improve.
@sfwgitlab: I would like every group to have a single “north star metric” that your group is trying to move with your development activities. In most cases this will be AMAU/SMAU, but I’m open to other north star metrics. Once you align on the metric, then we need to baseline it, and set a quarterly goal for it. Then we’ll have regular reviews to track performance against the metric, and review activities underway to move it further. We will use this data to inform future investment decisions, so it’s important to lean in on this.
What is a North Star?
The North Star is the single most important overarching metric that we want to contribute to. It is the thing that will have the biggest impact for users and the company. Think of it as the intersection between delivering customer value, and the long-term success of GitLab the company.
How is a North Star metric different to an OKR or a KPI?
The North Star metric is a single metric that guides other metrics used to measure our work, such as KPIs and OKRs.
Examples of North Stars
- YouTube's North Star metric is Total Watch Time
Suggestions for a North Star
- Total number of active self-managed installations
- Total number of Monthly Active Users (MAU) in self-managed installations
- Percentage of installations on the three most recent versions of GitLab
- Number of upgrades per month
- No. of active installations on a supported release version
What do we do with the North Star?
Once we have a North Star metric, we can use it to guide what we do. We can prioritize work that we think contributes to the North Star, and then monitor the North Star metric to see if it is moving in the right direction. After establishing the North Star, the next step is to break it down into sub-metrics that will contribute to growing the North Star metric (when a sub-metric goes up, the North Star metric also goes up). For example, if the North Star metric is # of Active Installations, sub metrics might be: # of Active Installations Using the Helm Chart, # of Active Installations on OpenShift, Lifetime of an Installation, Churn Rate. We can break each of these down to think about what we can do to push the sub metrics in the desired direction, which ultimately pushes the North Star metric in the desired direction.
The Product team will meet monthly to check in on progress on the North Star metric, review data that shows changes in sub metrics and the North Star metric, and use this data to discuss prioritization.
Considerations when deciding on a North Star
- The metric indicates that a customer is getting value
- Keep it simple