Measuring Outcomes

Every project should have 2 measurements associated with it - the measure of success (does it accomplish what the business wants) and the measure of sunsetting (when is should this project be retired).

For example, let’s say your company has decided to create a knowledge base for the customers to use. Measures of success would be the time it takes for customers to become proficient at using the product (time should go down) and number of requests customer success gets for help around normal tasks (number should go down). A measure for sunsetting would be if the number of customers accessing the knowledge base goes to a trivial number (for example if improvements to the user flow led to customers not needing to consult the knowledge base).

Why would we want these?

The first measure will tell us if we built the right thing with the right knowledge. If the project did not have the intended effect, we can look into what happened - was the product right, but the customer path to the product wrong? Was the product itself wrong and we need to look into better customer analysis?

A lot of things can go into the first measure and sunsetting projects which did not achieve success can go a long way towards keeping an engineering group focused.