Over the past 8 years, I’ve had 14 direct reports from a variety of backgrounds (product, engineering, sales, design, ops, hr). In many cases, I hired someone who was a specialist because they were better at their job than I would be. I would often handle some of their responsibilities before they joined, and then I’d magically watch over the first few months as they figured out how to surpass my quality of work. It’s a good feeling.

Somewhere along the way, I had tried all the roles in a company and finally discovered my love for product management. Like many product managers, I scoured books and the internet trying to uncover which skills and experiences made a “great” product manager.

For those of you trying to the learn the discipline, I will warn you—you will be (mostly) disappointed at what’s out there. You’ll poke through poorly constructed listicles telling you a bunch of skills like “strategic thinking”, “problem solving”, and “time management.” Ugh.

Here’s my problem: I don’t do vague, wishy-washy terms like that. It’s never been helpful for me, and so I don’t preach it to my fellow product managers.

Instead, I build myself a personal scorecard with each dimension and the exact activities you need to do to demonstrate competence or mastery. Maybe it’s a little narrow and prescriptive, but damn, it’s useful. And my direct reports tend to agree. Warning- this is pretty meaty.

The Product Manager Scorecard (v1.07)

*Score: 5 is high

# Dimension Activities Score* Notes / Action Items
1 Product Vision
  1. Maintains a public-facing 12 month roadmap
  2. Communicates major roadmap milestones to various stakeholders (executives, customers, teammates) on a regular basis
  3. Shares knowledge about future capabilities, industry best practices, and contributes to advancing the frontier of knowledge within their domain
  • Write a blog post about the future of content curation practices within large media companies
2 Customer
  1. Maintains close and constant communication with their top users / customers
  2. Solicits and maintains a rolling list of customer feature requests
  3. Understands and anticipates customer needs and goals, especially tracking the tangible metrics they use to gauge their own success
  • Hold 5 customer interviews to establish better customer success metrics
3 Requirements
  1. Regularly uses some/all of these requirement types: user stories, use cases, acceptance criteria, test cases, information architecture, workflow diagrams, entity relationship diagrams
  2. All work that enters a sprint meets a “Ready to Work” standard and all completed work meets a “Definition of Done” standard
  3. Requirements are regularly peer reviewed and requirement misses are tracked for retrospectives
  • No action required
4 Design
  1. Uses low and high fidelity prototypes in product validation
  2. Maintains (w/ designers) up-to-date layered mockups of their applications
  3. Collaborates with designers in discovery using design sprints, customer interviews, etc.
  • Update layered mockups for the content search interface
5 Technical
  1. Engages with developers in detailed discussions about database design, technical architecture, and technical trade-offs
  2. Works directly with the database and APIs for data gathering, testing, support, and research
  3. Communicates with technical details about the core application design and execution of their products
  • Set up Postman account and have developers show me how to test the APIs
6 Project Management
  1. Over 80% of business critical projects are delivered on-time and within budget
  2. Has calibrated both velocity and feature complexity estimates with their team
  3. Maintains the proper tooling/systems such that all members of their team know what they should be working on at all times
  • Missing some deadlines on larger projects. Work on breaking 3+ month projects into < 3 month phases.
7 Marketing
  1. Communicates 90% of product and feature releases using both direct and indirect communication (newsletters, demos, blogs)
  2. Understands and tracks the customer journey (how people find out about their product, develop a need, sign up, and purchase)
  3. Uses some/all of these tools or their equivalents comfortably—Google Analytics, Mixpanel, Optimizely, Typeform, Mailchimp
  • Take a brief training course on Google Analytics
8 Support
  1. Maintains thorough help docs for users and internal documentation for their team
  2. Upholds an active Service-Level Agreement (SLA) in conjunction with support/helpdesk staff
  3. Has documented fixes and workarounds for all recurring edge cases
  • Finish documentation for content scheduling application
9 Testing / QA
  1. Maintains up-to-date, thorough test scripts for all of their applications
  2. Works with developers to implement automated testing and monitoring for critical behaviors
  3. Employs some or all of these techniques: user acceptance testing, A/B testing, guided/unguided usability testing
  • No action required
10 Analytics
  1. Memorizes all major product unit economics (CAC, LTV, margins, etc.)
  2. Tracks and shares 3-5 core KPIs for each of their applications
  3. Uses client-side activity tracking events and multiple conversion funnels for user goals
  4. Uses quantitative hypothesis-based validation and experimentation on a regular basis
  • Set up 2 conversion funnels for key activity milestones



  • This is for product managers as individual contributors. If you’d like a scorecard for PM managers/executives, let me know.
  • This is based on an average of experiences between SMB SaaS and consumer applications. If you’re working on enterprise software or internal systems, you might need to adjust some of these activities. 
  • Your role as a PM is going to vary depending on the size of team, type of business, etc. Some things are missing or can be excluded depending on your case.
  • Just because you do all of these things does not mean you are a great product manager, but I would be pretty surprised.

How to Use this Scorecard

  1. Customize this for your role
  2. Fill this out yourself each month
  3. Review action items for improvement with your manager**
  4. Rinse and repeat

**This is not for your manager to fill out. They should provide feedback and guidance on how to improve on each dimension (sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know).

Wow! You made it through all that. This structure is what I use for myself and for my PM direct reports. I don’t apply weighting or care about total scores. The purpose is to hold up a standard that tends to correlate with competence/mastery of the skills. This is version 1.07 of the scorecard, so it’s a living document that I update every so often. I would love your feedback on areas that you feel are missing or should be removed.



The Product Manager’s Personal Scorecard