There is an endless number of questions that plague any group releasing a product, but there is one that, if ignored, will cripple any chance of success, and if answered, can yield phenomenal results.
First, lets go through some typical questions.
- Will the product generate revenue/profit?
- Will the product reach our audience?
- Will we be done in time?
- Is the development team capable of delivering?
- Will this feature be worth it?
- Is this a good product?
- Is this the MVP or is there more?
- Is this a good design?
- Is this usable?
- Will agile work?
- Is the team committed?
- Are we getting better?
- Are the customers happy?
- Whats the next big thing?
There are plenty more to ask, but these keep enough people up at night. In fact, just today I was on the phone with a client who was happy there were people who had signed up for their Beta and depressed that they aren’t actually using the it.
Their question for my client may be, “Why aren’t people using this product?”
There’s another question though, that follows on the heels of every first question you want answered.
How will I know?
If you can figure out the answer to that question, you’ll be forced to confront every truth that is in front of you. A lot of people will balk at trying to answer this question, hollering that there is no objective way to know or that the data doesn’t yield statistically significant results,
The reality is, that in the world of products and software we are trying to make the best decisions we can. Millions of decisions that culminate in a product that people adore or ignore. So, when you answer the question, “How do I know,” remember, you are only trying to make a decision. The answer to the question only has to be significant enough to help make the decision. Nothing more.