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How to measure the impact of your product’s latest release

armiedema profile image Adam Miedema Originally published at Medium on ・3 min read

Yayyy — all of that hard work we put into updating our product is now complete and in production! Now for the Champagne, retrospective, and team kudos!

Enjoy the celebration, you deserve it! Work becomes mundane and demotivating when we do not celebrate our accomplishments.

But, don’t forget — there is still more work to do post release! And… some of that work should have started before releasing to production!

A key post-release activity is to track performance of the release and the adoption of it by your users. In other words, now that the work is done and out there, how are the users responding to that work? How and what you measure starts when you are planning for the release. Here are some quick tips on how you can instrument and measure the impact of your product releases!

1. Plan on delivering work that will provide the customers and users value and delight

While planning your work efforts, focus on what will provide the most value to your customers and end users. Before committing to work, you should have a good idea as to if that work is actually desirable and viable to your audience. If it is not, then shift focus onto what is.

There are certainly outside factors that can weigh in on the decision of what and what not to commit to — such as if the efforts improve internal operational efficiency (which indirectly should also benefit your customers) — but, in the end, your customers are who keep you in business and deserve your focus.

As for delight, delight is what keeps your customers hooked. Yes, a bare, Minimum Viable Product (MVP) has it’s place in the beginning stages, but delight is what keep users hooked, coming back, and become raving fans.

2. Determine what success looks like for the release in terms of customer and user acceptance

There is a lot of terminology for this — Key Performance Indicators (KPI), leading / lagging indicators, metrics, accounting, acceptance rates, etc, etc.

Ultimately, what success should look like should be simple, easy to measure, focuses on the customers and users, and, ideally, persists through the life of the product. For this reason, I like to model measurements around the Pirate Metrics ( a cquisition, a ctivation, r etention, r evenue, and r eferral — aarrr… get it? heh heh…).

Using these as the bases and tacking on additional metrics where it makes sense make it easy to see how your product is really doing without wasting efforts chasing after vanity metrics that are often difficult to retrieve and which also often provide misleading information.

3. Build the ability to measure into the release

Don’t forget to instrument your measurements! If the product has just been born, then, in all likelihood, you are probably keeping the instrumentation loose and relying on some manual efforts.

When working on newer products, this is often a sacrifice we make because we want to get the product into the hands of the customer as soon as possible so that we can start getting feedback.

That’s fine! However, be sure to continue to enrich the instrumentation as you go so that you can more easily and concisely retrieve the metrics you need!

4. After the release — watch, measure, learn, and interact

Now that the latest work effort has been released to production and you partook in some post-release celebration, now is the time to start watching! Watch as data comes in, see how user actions trigger events that count towards the metrics you established.

How do they measure against your expectations? Are you learning anything from the metrics? Let the quantitative data build up as it gives you key insights into what users are doing and how they impact your metrics. But, don’t stop there!

Interact with your customers and end users. How have they interacted with your customer support team? How have you, as a product, team interacted with them? Acquire this qualitative data as it allows you to achieve a more complete picture of impact when overlayed with the quantitative data.

It also allows you to establish better relationships with your users and build empathy with their needs and what they find value in. Use all of this that you have learned and put it back into your product!

The more in-tune you are with your customers and your users, the better position you will be in to provide them the value and delight that keeps them coming back! I hope this post provided you with some good insights! Leave a comment below and let’s continue the discussion!

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