Words Before Numbers: North Star Statement Exercise

Discover your North Star Statement by following the step-by-step prompts in this exercise.

Perspectives
March 25, 2022
Image of John Cutler
John Cutler
Former Product Evangelist, Amplitude
North Star Statement Exercise

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 and 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 and out, and revising it accordingly—is a product management superpower.

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.

North Star Statement

Now it’s your turn. Download the North Star Statement Exercise to walk through step-by-step prompts that will help you identify your path to sustainable, differentiated growth.

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About the Author
Image of John Cutler
John Cutler
Former Product Evangelist, Amplitude
John Cutler is a former product evangelist and coach at Amplitude. Follow him on Twitter: @johncutlefish

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