Sunday, 6 September 2015

Measuring the success of your shiny new toy


I like to think of myself as an ‘early adopter’; check me out, aren’t I clever! I love trying new things. I really enjoy jumping in and figuring out to use a new technology, a new social media channel, a new product which guarantees to change your life for the better. However, if you’re going to spend time and money trialing something new, especially lots of your company’s money, it’s worth thinking beforehand about how you’re going to measure the success of your new-fangled toy.

Recently, a company presented something shiny and new to my colleagues. This something new was exciting and potentially useful, so we agreed a trial. I watched as some of our more eager beavers (not the technical term) embraced the new tool and started creating. Then some bright spark asked how we were going to measure whether the trail had been successful. I was disappointed that it wasn’t me who’d raised this issue, as I like to pride myself on being slightly obsessed with measurement, as per previous blog posts. But, I consoled myself with the fact that maybe my banging on about measurement has rubbed off on my colleagues. Anyway, good point (whoever made it!)

It’s not too late, we can still measure the success of the product, because the folks who created it were clever enough to realise that it would be pretty hard to justify/sell without analytics. But how many people would have to embrace the new tool for us to consider it a success? Would it be a success if a handful of senior people loved it? Or if hundreds of junior people found it useful?

It got me thinking, that before we embrace a new technology or jump headfirst onto a new social media channel, we ought to make sure we’re clear on what problem it’s going to solve and how we’ll know if it’s solved it.
  • What does the product/technology do?
  • What problems that we currently experience could this fix?
  • What will it cost, both in terms of cold hard cash and time?

Okay, so we’ve decided to go ahead with the trial, how are we going to measure the success?
  • Is it enough for the trial to just be better than the current solution/work-around? 
  • How will we know if things are better?
  • Can we gather data and/or qualitative feedback from users?
It’s easy to fly magpie-like to the newest shiny thing, I do it a lot, but before we do, do you know how to recognise if it’s solid gold or fools gold?

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