I often hear young leaders need clarification about what comes first: problems/customers or KPIs. And how should they report the progress? This is especially problematic for products that still need to be mature but with a steady flow of customers. Usually, such teams are wholly swamped with customer requests/problems, and quite often, due to the fires/pressure they are under, they need help to define and maintain clear direction to follow.

If this is the problem you also encountered, this is the article for you (also, it is short :) ).

Let's start with the UODP way. It is always in the following order:

  • find a customers
  • find their problems
  • find KPIs that you can use to identify how successful you are in solving these problems

In the case that we are speaking about, if you already have a product that customers are using, you have already more or less successfully solved the customer's problem.

So you know the customers, they are willing to sit with you in the room and give you an apparent list of sub-problems they need to solve with your product to use it more. In this case, there are almost always the following KPIs that I suggest:

  • Usage:
  • If any proxy for usage can be used (revenue/MAU/DAU/rps/etc.) - use this as the primary KPI.
  • If not, the second best is the number of customers onboarded (anecdote), but ideally, I suggest investing in telemetry.
  • Stability - how stable is your product? It would help if you had more than growing your business. It is equally essential to keep existing users happy (UODP and reliability).
  • Support/Oncall - how many resources are you wasting on the support? Scaling a product will always come with the increased resources required to do the support. So you have to keep an eye on the support load to make sure that it is going out of hand you will react to it.

Are many articles written about how to set each of the KPIs specified? Here, I want to give a very generic canvas.

So, to recap, you have to know:

  • List of customers you are onboarding
  • How will you measure the success of the onboarding (usage/revenue/qps/etc.) - at least testimonials (but this is the worst possible case)
  • How you will measure the quality of your service
  • How will you make sure oncall/support resources are within acceptable limits