The best PMs define success before building a feature. To define success, teams should think through:
- The customer problem they're solving, what does it look like when solved (for the customer and the business)?
- How impactful is it if solved (time-saving, cost-saving, revenue-generating)?
- How does solving this problem help the company achieve its longer-term vision/strategy? Is there a KPI or measure for the feature that helps the team know they're moving toward that strategy?
Once the feature is launched, there are a few different ways to determine whether a new feature or update has been successful:
- Track usage metrics: such as the number of users using the feature, the frequency with which they are using it, and any changes in retention or engagement.
- Gather customer feedback: This can be done through surveys, user interviews, or tracking social media mentions of the product.
- Monitor for changes in key performance indicators (KPIs): Depending on the goals of the feature or update, you can also monitor for changes in relevant KPIs, such as revenue, conversion rate, or customer satisfaction.
- A/B test: If you're unsure how a new feature or update will be received, you can run an A/B test to compare the performance of the new feature or update against a control group.
Lastly, a helpful question that Sean Ellis has popularized is the PMF test: ask users, “how would you feel if you could no longer use the product?” and measure the percentage who answer “very disappointed.” After benchmarking nearly a hundred startups with his customer development survey, Ellis found that the magic number was 40%. This can be a helpful tool to identify users to interview further and segment your customer base around those customers that find a lot of value in your product that you should be targeting.