Numbers, statistics, trends – today’s data management tools bring us a lot of information, but the real question is what do you need to know? Several articles, and a new book on the subject, have popped up recently with lists of possible metrics, but one bit of advice is central to all of them: “Less is More.”
But that simple mantra begs another question – which metrics matter? The answer is, “It depends.” A new business needs to be sure they are solving a real problem for a reachable market that values the solution they are being offered. A later stage company needs to assess how users engage with the product. Do they use it enough to expect them to continue paying for it? Do usage patterns indicate users feel the product is of significant value? The answers will help the business learn, adapt and move forward, or change direction to find other opportunities.
Ash Maurya provides a good overview in his recent article, “Lean Analytics – The One Metric That Matters And Other Provovations.” For this article, Ash interviewed Ben Yoskovitz and Alistar Croll, the co-authors of Lean Analytics, to get their insight on the subject. If you are interested in the logic behind what is called the, “One Metric that Matters,” (OMTM) I recommend this article – as an introduction to the book if nothing else.
For more on the OMTM idea, I suggest you read this article from KISSmetrics. It goes into more detail about finding the crtical questions in a stage of your product lifecycle and how to use the data you collect to validate your assumptions. This isn’t light reading – it is relatively short but packed with detail.
And for the last word on the subject, I suggest you turn to none other than Eric Ries, the founder of the Lean Startup movement. Again, in his article, he is writing in response to the recent release of the book, Lean Analytics, but he adds several stories from startups and his experience in the field.
You can find many more articles on the subject I’m sure, but these authors provide about as much as you could want, short of buying the book. But then, if you are in a Lean Startup, you’re buying the book now – Right?