Figuring out the best KPIs for your product is not an obvious task – but even more complicated is measuring how your PMs are performing. Should the two be tied to each other? If your customer base is growing, can PMs take credit for that? Probably, although less directly than sales and marketing. But if your customers churn, will executives turn to product to look for culprits?

User Retention is one of the most important KPIs for any product team, but like others, it’s not entirely in the hands of the product. So should product managers be measured on retention? According to our poll this week, 70% of you believe that yes, in fact, retention is something that PMs should be measured on. All three debaters agree, although, they point out that retention is something that everyone in a company should be measured on.

But there are 30% of you out there who don’t think that it’s fair to measure PMs on retention — why? and what should they be measured on?


Without question, product teams should be measured on retention (just like every part of the company). A clear alignment to accountability for retention materially effects how product teams develop product roadmaps and engage with customers. For many product teams, there is deep sales/bookings DNA that can bias product roadmaps without a direct connection to retention objectives for the business.

Patrick Tickle

CPO, Planview

Everyone Should

Shouldn’t everyone in the company be measured on retention, not just product? I mean sales, support and implementation services all play a role in retention, so if we are going to use it as a key performance indicator then I think everyone needs to have it as a success metric.

Kristen Butzow

Product Coach, Pragmatic Marketing

Third That

Retention is one KPI among many that measures a product as a whole (aside from things like revenue, conversion, churn, etc.). I totally agree with Kirsten - everybody influences these.  Good support can have a huge impact on retention -- in either direction -- it's not product's responsibility alone. This may mean we need more specific KPIs for support, marketing, dev, product, etc.

David Schwartz

VP Product, Wix