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May 9, 2021
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The North Star - Empowering change

by Vincent Nativo on 01/13/21 10:56:00 am

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


Anyone in product ownership knows about the North Star.

It's that key product goal that means the team have succeeded in their mission. That ideal outcome for the the product towards which everyone is working. It needs to be measurable, achievable (at a stretch, it shouldn't be easy to reach), inspirational and most importantly, always visible.

Most North Stars are focused only on product and financial outcomes. But the thing about them is that they are also used to identify and drive lower level goals / OKR's (Objectives and Key results). So what you end up with is OKR's at every level that only reflect product and financial performance. At the same time a lot of game companies are trying to improve their cultures and focus more on developing and growing their people as well as promoting a good work / life balance. But do teams really feel empowered or comfortable setting personal or cultural goals if these goals are not represented by or related to the North Star in an obvious way?

Maybe the North Star should actually be a North Constellation made up of three stars: Product, Culture and Growth (organisation, financial and personal)

So we define what our key outcome and metric is for each star. We decide how big each star is at any given time (and they can change size quarter to quarter or year to year, depending on what is an appropriate cadence for your business). The size means a couple things. It is an indication of the importance or priority of the goal at any given time. It also informs teams of how they should weight and balance their lower level OKR's.

My name is Vincent Nativo and I'm a producer with 20+ years experience in FinTech. I want to move into the games industry and I know I have many transferrable skills that could benefit any game company. If you are looking for new perspectives and positive, productive and stimulating disruption, I can help you.

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