What Is Your Product’s North Star? Explained by MyFitnessPal Senior PM

Product Management involves so many different things, it can be easy to get sidetracked and forget just what it is you’re trying to do! As there are so many people working on the same product, it can also be difficult to keep everyone working towards the same goal. That’s why every product needs a North Star.

Meet Shubhansha Agrawi

Shubhansha is the co-founder of FuelUrCareer and a strong advocate of solving user problems while achieving business goals. She is a Software Engineering major with masters from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh. She currently works as a Product Manager for MyFitnessPal, an app for the health conscious to track their calorie intake and plan their fitness journey.

Shubhansha Agrawi

Finding Your Product’s North Star

What is a ‘North Star’?

Shubhansha describes it as an “A-ha” moment for the user. The idea of following a North Star is particularly popular with tech people, as it does not represent the flashiest number, but what gives us direction.

Space shuttle stars

Case Study – Facebook vs MySpace

Facebook and MySpace are two similar platforms with two very different success stories. The reasons being:

  • A difference in vision
  • MySpace did not iterate!

What we can learn from this

1. Build It Right

2. Get the Basics 

  • Spend ample time to understand and build the vision 
  • 3 months/6 months/1 year 

3. Communicate 

  • Take ownership
  • Always anchor stakeholders 
  • Reflect and repeat!

4. Understand that things will change 

  • Speed, quality, cost compromise 
  • Iterate as your product grows
  • Build qualitative and quantitative balance

A Product Manager should always first get the basics right, and then move on to the next stage. Take an adequate amount of time to properly build the vision for your product, and use it as a guide moving forward.

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