Category: Blog, Business, Fundamentals

Digital Product Goals and Metrics: How to Set Product Goals with Examples

Did you know that when people write down measurable goals, they are 33% more likely to achieve them1? If you are about to build and launch an innovative digital product, this seems like an opportunity worth using to raise your chances of being successful. See how to craft effective product goals and maximize business benefits from being goals and results oriented.

Vision – How to inspire and align others towards your dream?

To get to the truly powerful product goal, you need to start from the very top.

Either you’re just starting up your business or have been active for years now. Maybe you are your own boss or you are an employee of a bigger company. No matter the scenario, there is a story behind why you or your company started doing what you’re doing.

What was the idea behind the business? What was the dream which you started with? What is the north star guiding your actions, both big and small, every day?

I challenge you – tell me in a single sentence what you want to achieve with your business 10+ years from now and make me want to stand up everyday in the morning and join you on the journey to make it a reality. There it is – your vision.

Think big. It’s truly important to be able to share your vision with others. If you’re willing to build a digital product, you are about to do something highly innovative and complex, which will require the cooperation of many different people. The better they understand and are inspired by what you want to achieve in the long run, the better they will be able to support you with your dream.

A good exercise to get to the actual business vision is to ask why you are doing what you’re doing. Answer it and ask another “why” as many times as you need to get to the “in order to positively impact the world” answer. Now step back to the answer before and there you will have it. The “how” your business and your product will bring about a positive change and meaning.

If you’re still unsure what your ultimate purpose is, try to get inspired with the powerful examples of other companies’ visions:

  • Microsoft: “A computer on every desk and in every home.”
  • Space-X “Enabling people to live on other planets.”

Feels like a good motivation engine, doesn’t it?

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Business Goal – How to make a vision a reality?

Having your big dream explained as a vision, you can now specify a business strategy describing how the company plans to achieve it, while providing value to customers, employees and stakeholders.

Your business strategy defines how the company will achieve its success and ought to be built around a shorter-term business goal – specific, measurable, and with a timeline defined for the next 3-5 years.

A good business goal is one that:

  • clearly defines the desired business benefits (e.g. increasing revenue, running new revenue streams or reducing costs)
  • is an answer to “why” you’d like to carry out the planned activities at the business level (e.g. why you’d like to be a technological leader or set new industry trends)
  • enables a measurement of success on the business side of things (e.g. obtaining the cooperation of 10-15 business partners)

Achieving that business goal via the specific strategies implied, will get you one step closer to reaching your long term vision.

One of those strategies might be to build and launch a digital product. This is where the product goal comes into play – together with a product strategy describing how the product is to be successful.

 

Product Goal – How helping your users will help your business?

So now you’re at the stage where you have your big 10+ year dream defined, a business goal for 3-5 years from now set, and you know that one of the things you need to do to reach that goal and get closer to your big dream is to launch a digital product.

Your product strategy needs to be complementary to the business one and ought to also have a specific goal set.

The product goal should bring an combined answers to:

  • What problem do you want to solve for your users?
  • How will solving that problem commit to achieving your business benefits?

The product goal should always have those two dimensions connected – a thesis that bringing a specific user benefit will bring a specific business benefit.

The best way to start with crafting a good product goal is to use the following template:

Help users to [describe the benefit / problem solved / need addressed] AND [by doing so, reach a business benefit that will best help to grow the business]

To come up with a truly inspiring and results oriented product goal, make sure it meets the following elements of a “Good Product Goal” control list:

  • Describes the future state of a product
  • Aimed at a real problem / user’s needs, which the product is about to solve
  • Is the milestone to accomplish the vision and business goal
  • Highlights the intention (what?) but does not establish the way to achieve it (how?)
  • There is only one product goal at a time that the team works on
  • Market-driven (provides product usability for users and constantly tested with/by them)
  • Achievable
  • Time-boxed (2-6 months) – it’s best to define the product goal every time you plan to launch a specific product version
  • Inspiring
  • Result-oriented
  • Measurable
  • With metrics aimed at checking if achieving the goal solves user’s problem/ meets the user’s needs and enables the desired business benefits to be reached

Did you know?

If you’re thinking about building and launching a digital product, you must have heard about Scrum – which is a highly popular framework that helps people, teams and organizations generate value through adaptive solutions for complex problems. Scrum is often used to develop software.

Scrum as a framework is described in the Scrum Guide in order to help people worldwide understand it.

The Scrum Guide is updated from time to time. For the last 4-5 years, it has been 12 pages long. At the end of 2020, it was significantly slimmed down – in order not to stiffen and not impose solutions on the teams, but to propose the essence of what Scrum should be about. This is when 4 pages out of 12 were deleted. Do you know what was added, though? That the team should work with the product goal.

According to the Scrum Guide, the product goal describes the future state of the product and is a long-term result to be delivered by the team. The Product Owner is responsible for defining and communicating the product goal. The entire Scrum Team is focused on a single product goal at a time.

Product Goal’s Metrics –  Gow to know your product is successful?

Focusing on the product goal requires us to define the metrics by which we measure the effectiveness of our actions. A good product goal requires the metrics to determine if it has been indeed met.

Product goal metrics provide the answer to the following questions:

  • When will you be able to say that your product has been successful?
  • How do you measure the success of your product in terms of numbers?

By having a measurable goal, an experienced team of experts working on the product can be creative in finding optimal solutions to achieve it. Moreover, money is spent only on relevant things that will bring real benefits to the business and the users.

As a good practice, each product goal should be correlated with the maximum of 3-5 metrics. A timeline for the measurement should also be predefined (e.g. within 3 months after launching the product).

The metrics, once the product is launched, should help to measure how the product is doing on the market and what kind of impact it is bringing.

Good metrics should allow you to easily assess whether your product is headed in the desired direction and how to prioritize further product development decisions, based on the users feedback.

Example metrics:

  • Rank among the top 15 recipes app in 6 months
  • number of app activations within
  • user engagement (per screen, per feature)
  • NPS (will you recommend this product to your friend?)
  • number of active users
  • average basket value
  • conversion rates
  • level of income from in-app purchase after [x] weeks of release
  • application rating
  • number of de-installations
  • length of a shopping flow
  • number of returns per number of active users
  • comparison of conversion in a standard versus “one click” purchase

Benefits – What are the benefits of having a product goal defined?

Thanks to the product goal you provide, the team building the product will have the opportunity to create real impact in supporting and achieving both product and business goals.

In terms of the benefits, the product goal:

  • helps focus on the things which are the most essential and bring faster product increments
  • motivates the team and provides them with real impact on shaping the product
  • ensures nobody gets lost in unnecessary tasks
  • ensures everyone in the team understands what they are working on and what benefits the product is about to deliver
  • helps in the management of stakeholders’ requirements
  • unifies the collaboration of many teams outside the product development team
  • brings the knowledge to the entire team on how to measure the success and what’s needed to achieve it
  • allows the team to look for optimal ways to achieve the goal and increase the chances of its success

Example of Digital Product Goals

Company type: Empower Recruitment Company

Goal Description Good Goal Control List
Vision Empower people to take control of their own fates.
  • 10 years +
  • describes “how” business and product will bring about a positive change
  • inspiring
  • ambitious
  • ultimate purpose
Business Goal Facilitate 10 000 low-income clients on achieving financial independence; obtain stable revenue stream through partnering with 1000 mid-sized and corporate partners in need of seasonal employees
  • 3-5 years +
  • provides value to clients, company itself and stakeholders
  • clearly defines the desired business benefit
  • enables a measurement of success on the business side of things
Product Goal Provide online job opportunities to work from home and grow initial user base
  • ~2-6 months goal
  • states what problem the product will solve for the users
  • connects a specific user benefit with brining a specific business benefit
  • complementary to the business goal
  • results oriented
Product Metrics
Timeline: 2 months from launch
  • Number of registrations: 10 000
  • Number of offers: 1000
  • Number of applications: 5000
  • with a specific timeline
  • fits within 3-5 metrics good practice limit
  • with specific values which define when we will know the product is successful

Company type: Psychological healthcare company

Goal Description Good Goal Control List
Vision Increase psychological awareness among adolescents and make it easier for them to cope with their own emotions.
  • 10 years +
  • describes “how” business and product will bring about a positive change
  • inspiring
  • ambitious
  • ultimate purpose
Business Goal Obtaining permanent state funding and a stable source of income thanks to cooperation with 1000 sponsors.
  • 3-5 years +
  • provides value to clients, company itself and stakeholders
  • clearly defines the desired business benefit
  • enables a measurement of success on the business side of things
Product Goal Help young people to get a free psychological consultation through the mobile application and acquire the initial partner base.
  • ~2-6 months goal
  • states what problem the product will solve for the users
  • connects a specific user benefit with brining a specific business benefit
  • complementary to the business goal
  • results oriented
Product Metrics
Timeline: 2 months from launch
  • Number of registrations: 10 000
  • Number of sponsors: 1000
  • Number of consultations: 500
  • with a specific timeline
  • fits within 3-5 metrics good practice limit
  • with specific values which define when we will know the product is successful

Company: Ecological lighting company

 

Goal Description Good Goal Control List
Vision Through “Sustainable design” to better human health, comfort of everyday life and lower energy consumption.
  • 10 years +
  • describes “how” business and product will bring about a positive change
  • inspiring
  • ambitious
  • ultimate purpose
Business Goal Become a sustainable, beautiful and healthy lighting options leader; Increase sales of ecological lighting 2x in the next 3 years and increase the sales range to Middle East countries
  • 3-5 years +
  • provides value to clients, company itself and stakeholders
  • clearly defines the desired business benefit
  • enables a measurement of success on the business side of things
Product Goal Provide the opportunity to purchase ecological lighting for users of the mobile channel and increase sales conversion by 0.5%.
  • ~2-6 months goal
  • states what problem the product will solve for the users
  • connects a specific user benefit with brining a specific business benefit
  • complementary to the business goal
  • results oriented
Product Metrics
Timeline: 2 months from launch
Rank among the top 10 lightning marketplace apps
Sales conversion from mobile channel: 20%
  • with a specific timeline
  • fits within 3-5 metrics good practice limit
  • with specific values which define when we will know the product is successful

Summary

Correctly defining goals and metrics for a digital product requires knowledge of the company’s vision and long term business goals. A good product goal puts users needs into the spotlight and at the same time is the milestone to accomplish the vision and business goal. Pairing the product goal with specific metrics allows everyone engaged into product creation to clearly understand what success means and focus on making it a reality.

Sources

  1. A 2015 study by psychologist Gail Matthews showed that, when people wrote down their goals, they were 33 percent more successful in achieving them than those who formulated outcomes in their heads alone.

Marta Małkowska

Head of Delivery

Head of Delivery in Droids On Roids from 2020. A proud member of the company for 8 years+. Agile driven and results focused. Responsible for the company's transition into agile software development process. Previous Scrum Master, Agile Coach and leader of Scrum Master's team.