The “Did It Work?” Test: Setting Success Criteria for your Products

March 30, 2015

ProdPad Labs Product Development

Although “Did it work?” test might seem a little too abstract to hold up to any meaningful metric, I have a quick way you can measure the success of any one of your new product features by reframing the way you ask that question.

But before we get to that, you have your metrics, right? You should never develop an idea, let alone start working on it without establishing success metrics (or criteria) for it first. If you’re tacking these on as an afterthought, you’re in trouble. You might be spending precious resources building something you can’t measure, which will make it difficult for you to justify whether it was worth it.

Don’t leave this for later – do not pass go until you identify success metrics first. As in, try this exercise before you go forward with any new idea.

Do not pass go until you identify success metrics first. -@simplybastow Click To Tweet

So what’s my big idea? Isolate just one idea and develop new success criteria for that idea alone.

So for example, ask yourself: “Does my success criteria for this idea…”:

  • Lend itself to calculation? Is it a number?
  • Compare easily across different experiments and over time?
  • Give me results that help me to make a decision?
  • Have enough detail for me to execute?
  • Reflect our real strategic goals (acquisition, retention, engagement, growth)?

Once you have that, check to see that your success criteria is NOT:

  • Driven by the data you already happen to have
  • Geared up for another organization’s strategy rather than your own
  • A vague action, milestone or goal rather than a true measurement
  • Shrouded in business language. Is there anything ambiguous about the phrasing of your success criteria?

You might find that it’s a bit of a challenge to find analytics that fit are both meaningful and measurable. That’s because it is. So pick something with a relatively short development cycle (start applying it to just one or two ideas straight away) to see if you’re actually able to derive any value out of your metrics.

Here are a few examples to get you started:

  • Number of sessions per user
  • Session duration per user
  • Number of user actions per session
  • Duration of 1st user login

 


Want to read more about measuring success? Check out our Help Center!

This exercise was taken from the ProdPad Handy Guide for Product People. Try ProdPad free or tweet us to let you know you want a copy!

Janna Bastow is co-founder of ProdPad, software that helps product managers plan and deliver better products. Janna also organizes ProductTank events around the world, including Mind The Product, a global community of product managers. She likes to inspire great product conversations by asking: “What problem are you trying to solve?”

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