The Growth Process
A framework for growth teams used at Atlassian.
Growth teams are often tasked with moving high-level goals, but these goals are rarely directly actionable. As a result, high-level goals need to be broken down into actionable components that can then be prioritized. This process gives Growth teams the flexibility to work anywhere in the product that will have an impact on their goal, but also the burden of ensuring that their focus will have a directly-measured and quantifiable impact.
This work should happen prior to starting on an initiative. It’s used to create a long-term backlog for a team and ensures that they’re focused on genuine problems/opportunities.
1. State your primary goal
Growth teams typically focus on a goal such as monthly active users (MAU). This goal is usually mandated at a company level, but just about any numerical goal can be improved using growth tactics.
2. Break the goal into measurable components
Most goals are very difficult to directly move because they are very broad and encompass nearly all aspects of your product. For example, MAU is influenced by nearly everything; marketing sends more people to try your products, product features keep users around by providing value, performance prevents frustration (and abandonment as a result), onboarding reduces churn, etc.
To solve for this, your primary metric must be divided into actionable components that can be affected independently of each other. These components empower us to understand and measure what increases and decreases our metric.
To break your metric into components create a list of ways that your metric is reduced and increased.
From these broad categories, further segment your components until:
- They describe a single experience/journey in the product.
- The components measure features that are roughly an appropriate size for a single team to change.
- Note: It’s important that each component directly contributes to your metric, and is not a correlation.
Using MAU, MAU consists of:
Positives. MAU is increased by:
- The number of returning users
- The number of new users
Negatives. MAU is decreased by:
- Churn of new users that join
- Churn of existing users that go dormant
- Churn of returning (previously active) users
3. Measure the size of each component
Ultimately we aim to prioritize the biggest opportunities, so understanding which component contributes greatly or trivially to your metric is important.
Quantify both the absolute size of the component (i.e. how much it happens every month) and (where relevant) the rate that it changes or occurs.
Taking MAU churn of new users as an example if a product has 100,000 new users a month but 40% of them are not active 28 days later there's a total opportunity size of 40,000 users that we could influence by getting them to remain active.
4. Estimate the feasibility of moving each component
From the previous step you know the absolute size of each opportunity, but don’t know how easy it is to affect change. I.e. you might lose 100,000 users/month to churn, but don’t yet understand if you can reduce that by 1% or 100%. This step defines the relative size of all opportunities.
Estimate how much you can change each component. It’s difficult to accurately predict how much you can move a measure in advance of actually doing it, so use coarse estimates like easy (can improve by 20%), moderate (can improve by 10%), and difficult (can improve by 1-2%). This process is unstructured and relies on your experience, but you should consider a range of factors:
- Product knowledge: Is the current experience good? Do you think it would be easy or difficult to make a better experience?
- Customer knowledge: Does the current experience meet customer expectations/needs?
- Influence: Do you have a lot of opportunity to influence the behavior of users? I.e. users who have already abandoned the product are difficult to influence as there’s limited channels to reach out to them, whereas it’s easier to influence new uses joining your product as you can build a new experience for them.
- Synergy: Do efforts here get leveraged or multiply efforts from other initiatives?
5. Create a prioritized list of opportunities
At this point your primary goal is split into components, those components are measured, and you have an estimate for how much you can improve them. Multiply the size of the opportunity by the amount you believe you can improve it. Your output will be a list numerical list of opportunities that can be prioritized. Your list can be used to define a roadmap and resources needed to execute.
A prioritised list of opportunities that your team can tackle.
Product Manager and Analyst