The Fallacy of Productivity Metrics: Why Quality Trumps Quantity in Product Management

Nov 13, 2023

In the world of product management, there has long been a debate about whether quantity or quality should be prioritized. Some argue that producing a large quantity of work leads to finding a few exceptional pieces among the weaker ones, while others believe that focusing on quality is the key to success. In this article, we will explore the fallacy of productivity metrics and why quality ultimately trumps quantity in product management.

The Pitfalls of Measuring Productivity

Many organizations have embraced the concept of productivity metrics as a way to measure the output of their teams. However, relying solely on these metrics can lead to misguided decision-making and a focus on the wrong priorities. One example of this is the story of a company that implemented a company-wide productivity initiative. While the program was successful in improving certain aspects of the business, the poor measurement process led to inflated savings calculations and eventually caused the program to lose credibility.

The Limitations of Quantity

When it comes to product management, simply focusing on quantity can be counterproductive. Producing a high volume of work does not guarantee success if the quality is lacking. In fact, it can lead to wasted resources and missed opportunities. As bestselling author Dan Pink pointed out, it's possible to write two mediocre books in the same time it takes to write one really good book. In this case, the quantity of output doesn't equate to better results.

The Importance of Quality

In product management, quality is paramount. It's not just about the number of features or tasks completed, but rather the impact those features have on the end user and the overall success of the product. Focusing on quality allows for a more thoughtful and deliberate approach to product development. It ensures that each feature is well-designed, thoroughly tested, and aligned with the needs of the target audience.

Achieving the Right Outcomes

Instead of measuring productivity based on quantity, product managers should focus on achieving the right outcomes for their customers and the business. This requires a shift in mindset from output to impact. Rather than setting goals based on the number of features released or tasks completed, product managers should define success based on the value delivered to the end user. This might include metrics such as customer satisfaction, user engagement, or revenue growth.

The Role of Continuous Improvement

Continuous improvement is a key aspect of quality in product management. It involves constantly seeking feedback, learning from mistakes, and iterating on the product to make it better over time. By prioritizing quality, product managers can create a culture of continuous improvement where the focus is on delivering the best possible product to the customer.

Balancing Quantity and Quality

While quality should be the primary focus in product management, this doesn't mean that quantity is irrelevant. It's important to strike a balance between the two. By setting realistic goals and timelines, product managers can ensure that they are delivering a sufficient quantity of high-quality work. This requires effective prioritization, resource management, and a clear understanding of the needs and expectations of both the customer and the business.

The Benefits of Learning from Mistakes

One of the advantages of prioritizing quantity in product management is the opportunity to learn from mistakes. By producing a large volume of work, product managers and their teams have more opportunities to experiment, iterate, and refine their ideas. This iterative process allows for continuous learning and improvement, leading to better outcomes in the long run.

The Importance of a Growth Mindset

In order to prioritize quality over quantity, product managers must adopt a growth mindset. This means embracing challenges, seeking feedback, and continuously developing their skills and knowledge. A growth mindset allows product managers to approach their work with a sense of curiosity, resilience, and a willingness to learn from both successes and failures.

The Role of Education and Learning

To excel in product management, ongoing education and learning are crucial. Product managers should actively seek out opportunities to expand their knowledge, stay up-to-date with industry trends, and develop new skills. This may include attending conferences, participating in webinars, enrolling in training programs, or seeking mentorship from experienced professionals. By investing in their own growth and development, product managers can enhance their ability to deliver high-quality outcomes.


In the world of product management, the fallacy of productivity metrics becomes apparent when quantity is prioritized over quality. While quantity may initially seem impressive, it is the quality of the work that ultimately determines success. By focusing on achieving the right outcomes, emphasizing continuous improvement, and embracing a growth mindset, product managers can deliver high-quality products that meet the needs of their customers and drive the success of the business. Education and learning play a crucial role in this process, allowing product managers to stay ahead of industry trends and continuously develop their skills. So, in the realm of product management, remember that quality always trumps quantity and come check out our Product Management course at Gigantic.

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