You invest a lot of time, energy and passion into your work. It’s not easy to take a new product or feature from inception through to delivery. So, how do you measure and demonstrate its value post-launch?
1. Defining & measuring success
It starts with definition. Any metrics you focus on will depend on your long-term strategic vision for the product, and how you intend the product to be used. As a baseline, you should have a core usage metric. For most new products or features, active users are going to be fundamental to success. By comparing daily active users to monthly active users, you can also gauge the ‘stickiness’ of your product. If you are offering a service with a longer life cycle, then stickiness may not be so relevant.
You may also want to consider tracking more specific metrics that relate to the function of the product - perhaps there is a key area of the platform or piece of content you want to track. Setting this out at the start of the process makes things much easier later on. And there are lots of ways you can enhance and refine your measurement approach.
- Think about the nature and scale of your product, and tailor your reporting frequency accordingly. Diving into data on a daily basis might not be necessary if you are handling a niche product, for example.
- Automate your reporting processes where possible, so you are able to step back and think more strategically without having to worry about collating data.
- Build context when sharing reports to your stakeholders. If there are factors affecting usage, or if you’re planning to gather more user feedback on a feature, this is useful for them to know.
2. Customer gatekeeping
User research is a key aspect of product development. The decision to launch a new feature, or improve a specific journey, often stems from insights gathered from your target audience. But as a product manager, how do you gain access to your customer base?
Lining up participants for interviews and focus groups can be a challenge when you don’t have direct contact with them. And you might find that the people in your organisation who work closely with your end users are quite protective of them. This is sometimes referred to as customer gatekeeping. When a colleague has worked hard to build a strong rapport with a client or customer, they want to maintain that. The idea of another team swooping in and interrogating their contacts can cause friction. So, how can you work together with those stakeholders to ensure you’re making validated and informed decisions?
- Build trust by bringing them into the process early on, so they can see the long-term vision and don’t feel caught off-guard when you ask for help.
- Show them that you value their expertise by tapping into the existing knowledge they have about their audience segment - workshops are a great format for this.
- Be transparent and share documentation with them in advance, so they can see the types of information you are looking to capture and have a chance to input.
3. Balancing priorities
You know the feeling, when everything needs to have happened yesterday. Your backlog is bursting at the seams and priorities are constantly evolving. Your project team is working at maximum capacity. Then a new business initiative drops in, and you're asked to treat it as a high priority.
It can feel like you’re up against it, being pulled in different directions. In larger organisations especially, you could be dealing with senior stakeholders across different units, each of whom wants their needs to be met first. At a smaller organisation, you might find that resource is the biggest blocker. If you find yourself overwhelmed by your backlog, there are a few things you can do:
- Be realistic about what’s achievable; stay on top of your estimates and dependencies, and communicate these clearly back to key stakeholders.
- Utilise a prioritisation framework, like MOSCOW or RICE, to create alignment on where the priorities lie, and be ruthless in your backlog refining sessions.
- Consider getting some extra hands on deck; whether that’s outsourcing a whole project, or simply extending your current team with a contractor or two.
Working in product management can be both demanding and rewarding, but there are lots of tips and resources out there to help you along the way. Need a hand revolutionising your digital presence and drive your success? Contact our team today.