It’s easy to say that software must meet the users’ needs. Developing lovable software is a lot more challenging. It can take months of planning and development, thousands of lines of code, and many different features. But have you created something worthy of being called successful software?
Here is how you can know and measure the real success of your software:
The success of your software is directly related to how well it helps your users solve their problems.
That’s because it’s not just about you or your company—it’s about them.
The users are the ones who use your software, and they determine whether or not it’s successful by whether or not they feel like it solves their problem. So if you want to know if you’ve got software success, just ask them! If you have a simple survey or a feedback call after a month of using your product or service, you’ll be able to get an idea of how things are going.
Resource: How to Create Truly Lovable Software
We know that we succeed when the product is adopted and used.
Analytics can tell you how many users use your software and how often.
In the case of user adoption/usage analytics, this might mean something like the “percentage of users who have used or even opened the app at least once in a given week.”
If you’re looking for more quantifiable metrics, analytics can also tell you how long people spend in your software (measured as average minutes per session) or software downtime every month. Analytics is a key parameter to determining your software success.
If you’re not, there’s a good chance that your software is struggling to meet your users’ needs. It might be buggy, or it might not be intuitive enough, or it might just be missing key features.
You’re on the right track if you’re getting consistent and positive reviews.
Let’s say that a few weeks after you launch your product, someone writes a review that says, “This app is perfect for me.” You might think, “Yay! We’re doing great!” However, remember that a positive review is only a snapshot of how your software or app is serving a user’s needs at that moment in time. Be sure to update or iterate your product to support changes in the industry, product landscape, or your user base.
Resource: 3 Reasons Users Abandon Apps
If you’re making money, you are successful. Just don’t let early financial success make you
If you aren’t making enough money to support business growth, something isn’t working. It may not be a product issue. Check in with the sales team. Are they losing deals or not getting enough leads to begin with? If they are losing leads, is it because they don’t understand the product well enough to explain it?
It can be beneficial to connect the sales and marketing teams with the person on the product team who owns UX. The UX designer or person in a similar role should be the expert on your users. They are well positioned to help the marketing and sales folks empathize with the user problem and understand how the app or software solves it.
Don’t be afraid to connect these groups for the betterment of the end user…and the bottom line.
A great product is needed for sales to effectively do its job of bringing in customers. Sales are needed to fuel ongoing product updates to keep said customers happy. It’s a happy cycle when both groups are equipped to meet their goals.
Resource: How Can Businesses Monetize An App?
Scalability is a key element of software success. If a software product can’t grow with its users, then it will not be able to sustain itself in the long term.
Scalability is also important because it helps you avoid a situation where you must constantly update your software, which can cost time and money. A scalable solution will allow you to grow without having to make major changes every time a new user joins your network.
To test whether or not your software is scalable, ask yourself these questions: will my program be able to handle more users? And how quickly? And what could be the related cost?
For example, whether an ERP software can handle more users without slowing down or crashing. When more and more users log onto the platform, does it take forever for them to load? Does it take forever for them to get their first page? If your answer is yes, then that’s a problem with scaling.
Scaling is part of ongoing software maintenance. Many apps fail because founders and product teams believe they can take their eyes off major development efforts once the app or software is launched. But the most successful products are continuously being treated like new development projects as efforts are made to constantly wow users and grow with their needs.
The key to software success has a sustainable competitive advantage. This means that your product is more useful than the competition, but it’s not something that can be replicated easily by other companies. For example, make an app that helps people find jobs in their area. You’ve created a proprietary way of ranking job openings that makes your app unique. Other companies won’t be able to copy what you’re doing easily, so your app will have a sustainable competitive advantage.
Software success is a complicated and multifaceted concept. There are many ways to measure it, but one of the most important is seeing if your software planning assumptions panned out.
For example, if you wanted to ensure users could navigate your site easily, you might write into your plan that you would have a drop-down menu for navigation on every page. If you then went to test this assumption and found that most users preferred links instead of drop-downs, this would be a sign that this assumption was false and should be changed in future iterations of your plan.
In short, you should always keep testing your assumptions with actual users to be sure you’re giving them what they want, not what you think they want.
Resource: 3 Reasons Users Abandon Apps
Conclusion: The same things that make for successful software are the same things that help a business succeed.
If you are someone who wears the mantle of founder or product owner on your shoulders, defining success in clear terms is worth the time and effort. The better you understand what makes software successful, the better positioned you will be to deliver that success to your business. If you want to build a successful project, contact us today.