With the rise of technology and accessible infrastructure, building products has never been easier. At the same time, building successful products has never been harder as well because there are more products competing for user attention than ever.
Building great products in a lot of hard work.
Creative ideas, wild swings, strong gut feel, great resilience does yield good traction but there is no set formula that assures product success. You could increase the probability of success using product experiments.
Experimentation is a great way to learn and prioritise precious resources. This makes it a key component in building a successful product.
Here are some learnings and reflections from conducting 1000+ product experiments 👇
- An experiment is a sandbox that helps you control who participates in the study, the objective of the study, specific aspects that are tested, make bets on specific features and measure using data for actionable insights. This helps the product team to advance in the right direction and stay clear from the wrong path.
- At the base of every product there is a customer. And every customer is a human being. It is hard to know what are the needs and wants of a human being in a dynamic context. With structured experiments it is easy to learn the real impact your product has on its customers.
- Every experiment starts with a hypothesis (guess) and every experiment ends with an evidence that proves the hypothesis right or wrong. That is a great starting point. Experiments help you kickstart product thinking in case you are stuck and overwhelmed.
- Every great experiment lists down its objectives, assumptions, questions to be answered, decisions to be made, areas of uncertainty, areas of impact and most importantly what to measure. Even before the experiment starts put down everything you know about the topic in one place so you tick and cross post the experiment. This is how the product team's understanding of the product compounds exponentially.
- More than what to keep, experiments help you make an informed decision on what to eliminate from the product.
Build a dedicated labs in your org to run experiments. Having a name and a place associated for experiments boosts the confidence of experimenters to attempt. The fear of failure slowly gets eradicated and it becomes a culture in the teams.
In my view, experiments are a way to extract gold from dirt. In the process there will always be a lot of dirt and very little gold.
Setting right exceptions, having great perseverance and being very patient with the process of experiments will help you building great products.