The Measure Of Success: Staying On Track From The Very Beginning

July 6, 2020


Any successful project begins with a clearly defined problem to solve (Are You Solving the Right Problem?). Project stakeholders need to be able to articulate the overriding challenge succinctly from the very start. (Spoiler: this often involves narrowing your vision, and may include…gasp…removing functionality.)

Once the problem statement is in place, you can begin to determine how to measure project success, whether it’s behavioral changes, KPI bumps, or attitude improvements among users. Knowing this, here are four things to keep in mind when kicking off a project:

  1. Identify success metrics from the get-go. This will help focus any and all decisions through the course of the project. Any potential scope creep or changes can be evaluated against the success metrics to determine if they add value or detract from your original goals. For example, if you decide you want a new app to boost sales, you may be able to de-prioritize a bit of scope creep from the CFO to help offset financial risk.
  2. Be proactive. Begin measuring before the project kicks off. An initial benchmark will allow you to create a before-and-after picture once your app is live.
  3. Remember, there isn’t one way to measure success. While quantitative KPI’s tend to be easier to measure (e.g. increased sales, decreased process cycle time, increased user retention on an existing app), qualitative benefits can be measured, too. Consider using User Research, surveys, or interviews to gauge things like user happiness or ease-of-life improvements.
  4. Finally, be sure to measure against yourself and industry benchmarks. The more specific you get with measuring, the more actionable your data will be. If there are industry KPI’s, use those as well to see how you fare against competitors


Actually, there is one other important measurement to consider: you vs. your intentions. One of the most satisfying parts of any project is achieving the outcomes you had hoped for, then communicating them to your team. If that sounds like something you would enjoy, Michigan Software Labs can help turn your problems into industry-leading solutions.

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