MVP Product Performance Analysis: Why?

(Culled from my experiences developing products for an organization)

As I've mentioned in a previous post, releasing a product is simply the first step (albeit a huge one) in a successful product lifecycle.  An MVP, is just that:  In theory viable, but certainly minimal and it is necessary to plan for and DEDICATE resources to analyze your work post release to ensure the product is realizing its exciting potential (Note: I'm packing a lot of meaning into "potential.").  Designing and implementing an analysis plan will ensure that you and your team make visible and create a common understanding of the product's health.

Validate 

It's likely your organization has sunk a significant investment into developing the product at hand. After all your vision sold them on it (or they themselves had produced the vision and asked you, the PO, to make it a reality)!  In order to understand if the product is performing as expected (Is the organization getting ROI?), it's imperative to design a product analysis plan.  Did I mention that your organization has invested heavily in the vision?  They'll want a full rundown on the actual vs. planned value the product is delivering and insight into the "why's."

Monitor and Respond

For any new release, expect surprises.  Assuming your product post-release will progress from baby steps to running on its own is product suicide.  All the pre-release testing in the world cannot uncover the insight you will gain from post-release product analysis when real users are able to interact with the product in business critical situations repeatedly over time.  Implementing a consistent and repeatable analysis plan will help you get a pulse as to whether your product as delivering value as expected, or if not, understand where the weaknesses are and how to focus efforts to ensure that the product is able to create impact.  With this said, it's important to implement the plan early and perform analysis frequently so that your team can react to the good and the bad, quickly.  

Uncover Opportunities and Weaknesses 

A key analysis focus for me is this:  Product analysis should be designed to distill both OPPORTUNITIES to capitalize on and WEAKNESSES to address.  As a matter of fact, I design the analysis specifically to uncover insights in these realms.  This insight is paramount and will help deliver value as visioned.  

Opportunities:  As you dig into your analysis, you'll notice trends both through sheer numbers and via user insight that will, for example, help to:

  1. Highlight popular use cases to focus marketing efforts
  2. Determine where to focus development energy for future releases

Weaknesses:  Although, "weakness" has negative connotations, think of weaknesses as OPPORTUNITIES.  For every product weakness you discover through your analysis, there is an opportunity to improve or even capitalize on. Some examples:

  1. Pivoting functionalities to play to actual market and user needs.
  2. Insight regarding technical and design: Bugs, poor user experiences... 
  3. In the case of a system, understand if the technical and user pieces are working in harmony, if not, pinpoint areas to improve.

So, yeah, tons of value in implementing an analysis plan...but to do so involves collaboration and a focus on designing a plan that effectively uncovers the insight which will allow you to make product decisions which are in line with the goals of the organization.

Continued...