Running a reliable digital products development company like Mobnia means you frequently get pitched different product concepts with the aim of luring you to build the product or an MVP to test the market. Some of these product ideas are new inventions, most of them are hybrids or modifications of existing products positioned to capture a new market opportunity.

I must confess that I thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to witness early and first-hand the birth of new ventures by founders who are passionate to solve a problem that meets the needs of thousands and possibly millions of people. I am also emphatic at this stage that success for the product is clearly defined regardless of if we eventually build the product or not.

At this early stage of the product road map, it is important to identify what qualifies as success for the product. Even though it might seem obvious to everyone, especially the founders, explicitly communicating and specifying the form and degree that success will take is still very important.

As the product exists to solve a problem, identifying the form of the solution clearly and down to <a href=>specifications provides a direct correlation to the metrics of success that is expected for the product.

Once the metrics for product success have been expounded, the next important question the founders must ask themselves is how much of each of those metrics will they be able to achieve, and how they could scale this.

A hypothetical scenario could be a team building the next social network. For this product catgeory, a common success metric would user signups. However, the team must go beyond the ambiguity of targetting many users and specifying exactly how many many users they want to reach e.g 250,000 user signups, and how they intend to reach that many.

For technical teams, clarity in this area is a pre-requisite for success as it helps evaluate the resources and people needed to achieve this goals and to understand how much of the identified metrics depends directly on the technology features, or should act as an enabler for other parts of the business.

Product metric goals must be phased, and reviewed over time. This helps teams check if they are on track to meet the goals, and if their assumptions were correct and adjust accordingly.

A table to list all product metrics table for that hypothetical social network could look like this:

User Signups250,000April 2017
  1. Referrals
  2. Inbuilt Virality
  3. Social Media
  4. Product Hunt
  5. Featured Posts/ HackerNews/etc
  6. Events
  7. ...

Defining the metrics for success early in the life of a technology product helps everyone manage expectations. It also provides an empirical and mental backdrop that guides all the product development operations- business or technical, and helps the teams evaluate if they have what it takes to achieve the metric and scale it to where it needs to be.