One of the biggest things that we’ve learned on this startup journey is that metrics matter. I know it’s pretty obvious but I think it’s more about when you should start measuring metrics as opposed to doing it for the sake of measuring something because the lean startup methodology told you to. I’ll give you an example.
My eldest son (he’s in Year 3) has to write a journal every day to practice his writing skills. To be honest, he doesn’t really like it as he likes math better so he gets careless sometimes. We always tell him to check his work before letting us check it but it seems to go in one ear and out the other. To try and get it into his head, we preach the standard parent line “when you practice every day you’ll get better…just you wait and see”. However, this whole concept of “getting better” without a means to verify it didn’t really help our cause and he was still making careless mistakes.
So I decided to implement a “mistake counter” for him. What this means is that he has to add up all the grammar, spelling and miscellaneous mistakes after every journal, and try to make less mistakes the next time he writes. This way, he has a concrete number to aim for and can see improvements himself, rather than us telling him to just “get better”. I didn’t really know how he’d receive it but I decided to give it a go.
Turns out, it’s working!
He’s actively making sure he minimizes his careless mistakes before we check it. Of course, he still makes mistakes (we all do) but at least it’s measurable and he’s really happy that he’s improving. So it’s making me a happy parent and he’s a happy kid, a win-win!
After seeing how important metrics are in this simple example, it has only reinforced to me how much more important metrics are in the live-or-die world of startups. So, if you haven’t implemented metrics in your startup yet….DO IT! But make sure you’re using it correctly.
Of course, it’s easier said than done so if you’re having trouble a good book to read would be Lean Analytics by Alistar Croll & Benjamin Yoskovitz (http://leananalyticsbook.com). I’m still in the process of reading it but I’ve found so far that it can apply to both B2C and B2B companies. Good luck and happy measuring!