TBM 28/53: Words Before Numbers (North Star Statement Exercise)

Short post this week.

I'd like to share an exercise I use during my North Star Framework workshops. The exercise is valuable no matter which framework you end up using.

First some background. In the workshops, teams often jump straight to metrics and measurement. Or they copy what they think Company X does based on a blog post, assuming Company X has it all figured out (they don’t). They skip the most important part: exploring and clarifying their OWN ideas, beliefs, and assumptions. As tempting as it might be, it really pays to avoid outsourcing this thinking.

In the exercise we focus on words and clarity. I use prompts to guide the team in the right direction without being prescriptive. We start with brainstorming. And then narrow the statement until it captures the current strategy and tactics. The last step is to consider options for measurement. In my experience, doing this at the end focuses the team. The goal isn’t the perfect metric. Rather, it is a metric that does the job you need it to do right now (learn, reduce uncertainty where it matters).

You might already have this in your head. Give it a go.

Nailing this thirty to sixty second statement — and knowing it inside/out, and revising it accordingly — is a product management superpower.

Here’s a Miro board and a PDF of the template.

The Template:

Here’s a rough example for a hypothetical DIY kit startup targeting DIY-curious customers. There’s a lot that could be done to improve this example, but hopefully you get the idea.

Hope this helps!