Adriano Di Marco
Dec 13, 2018 · 6 min read


Roan Lavery discusses about the playbook used at FreeAgent to find the balance between building core value and driving growth.

This playbook is composed of 3 sections:

  • Articulate core value — How do we help the customer succeed?
  • Map the user journeys — How can we help customers quickly “get it”?
  • Generate a balanced scorecard — How do we prioritize effectively?

Each section comes with a recommendation:

Use the Jobs to be Done framework to create a core value map and help the customer succeed.

Apply the Lifecycle growth and the Time to wow map, to ensure that customers get the core value of the product as quickly as possible.

Define metrics that makes sense using the HEART framework and the Goals / Signals / Metrics processes, to generate a Balanced scorecard. It will help you prioritize effectively and share the ownership to the whole team.

Roan started his talk by highlighting how difficult it can be for Product Managers to find the right balance between launching new features, increasing the stability and the user experience of the product, and working on the on boarding, supporting the sales, testing the prices and so on.

PMs are basically struggling in finding the sweet spot between building core value and driving growth.

For a product manager, this is not an easy task, but it is also hard for the team building the product and for the stakeholders not understanding the product decisions.

In order to bring transparency and take the best decisions, Roan uses a 3 steps playbook:

  1. Articulate core value
  2. Map the user journeys
  3. Generate a balanced scorecard

1 — How do we help customers succeed?

The first thing to help customers succeed, is to go out and speak to them. Not only to understand how they are using your product, but more important to understand why they are using it.

Remember that customers hire your product to do a job. Thus, you need to understand what job they hire you to and make sure to communicate what you discovered to your team.

You can use the Core value map in order to present your discoveries in a clear and brilliant way. The core value map is composed of 4 key sections: the vision, the user needs, the jobs to be done and the features.

  • the vision illustrates the big picture of your product or service. This is what is driving the whole company.
  • the user needs are the results of the discovery phase you have made and of the user interviews you have conducted. They represent big topics that your users are about.
  • the jobs to be done are the reasons why a user will hire your product or service. They don’t hire you because you’re FreeAgent, they hire you to get paid, track cashflow, or even file taxes.
  • the features are what will help address the jobs to be done.

Applied to FreeAgent, the core value map looks similar to this:

  • Vision: Make businesses happier and more successful by putting them in control of their finances
  • User needs: Nail the daily admin, Make better decisions, Relax about the tax
  • Jobs to be done: [Get paid, Track cashflow], [Health checking, Planning for future], [File taxes, Stay legal]
  • Feature: Invoicing, Online payments, Payment reminders, …

2 — How can we help customers quickly get it?

We drive growth by engaging users with core value as quickly and often as possible.

You need to make sure to expose your core value through all the points of your cycle:

  • During the on boarding you need to reduce the time to wow ⏱️
  • At the early usage, you need to focus on building habits 🛠️
  • When the use is established, you should focus on creating engagement loops 🔁
  • When the user is disengaged / churned, put your efforts in resurrecting the dead 💀

The lifecycle growth wheel is a good way of illustrating the points of the cycle and the objective that should be targeted accordingly.

Let’s take the example of the onboarding, whose objective is to reduce the time to wow, and map the user journey in order to understand what works well and what don’t.

The user interviews are really important in order to produce a relevant mapping that will generate insights. You can take the user feedback and place them on a user journey map to clearly identify where the friction lies and where the user is delighted.

By placing all the touch points from the signup to the exploration of the core value on a timeline, you can identify what what can be removed in order to reduce the time to wow.

The key here is to measure, test, and try. You identify that there is a flaw in your signup process or app onboarding that generate frustration? Try removing it and see how it impacts the time to wow.

3 — How do we prioritize effectively?

Here comes the balanced scorecards.

It is important to make sure to pick the right metrics to watch. It’s becoming easier and easier to track everything and get confuse about what to watch. The Goals / Signals / Metrics process can be really helpful to pick the right metrics.

The Google HEART framework is useful to provide a good sense of the quality of the user experience, by looking at 5 categories: happiness, engagement, adoption, retention and task success.

You can then map out goals, signals and metrics according to a given category of the HEART framework.

If we take a look at the Happiness, two of our goals could be:

  • We want customers to enjoy using our product
  • We want our app to be bug free

The signals for those two goals could be:

  • Customers are recommending the product
  • Customers are not reporting bugs

The metrics for those two signals could finally be:

  • Quarterly NPS
  • Open bug count

Once you have the right metrics for the 5 categories, you can generate a balanced scorecard that will serve as a graphic indicator of the current state.

Each metrics should be colored in a way that is easy to interpret. A Net Promoter Score of 70 being good, the number should be displayed in green. A count of open bugs that is flirting with 35 might be too high for your standards and thus be colored in red.

At FreeAgent, when a metric goes red, the team has until the Monday to finish up what they are working on and should switch on to the red metric on Monday to make sure it goes back to green.

Roan ended his talk by reminding that this is not a rigid structure and that if the team felt like they should finish something first, a discussion would happen and that is a good thing.


MeilleursAgents Engineering

MeilleursAgents Engineering Teams (Product, Web & Data Teams)

Thanks to Théo Lion and Christopher Parola

Adriano Di Marco

Written by

Product Manager at @MeilleursAgents. Sport enthusiastic and tech lover

MeilleursAgents Engineering

MeilleursAgents Engineering Teams (Product, Web & Data Teams)

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