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    Lessons from The Lean Startup: Part Two


    Post #: 150
    Post type: Blog post
    Date: 2013-01-09 23:27:41.000
    Author: Jeremy Reimer
    Tags: Book review

    Eric Ries is not very fond of what he calls "vanity metrics"-- numbers that show things going up or down (like hits on a website or number of new customers per month) because they don’t actually measure what was done to cause the change.

    This leads to people making the following conclusions:

    [quote]

    In my experience, when the numbers go up, people think the improvement was caused by their actions, by whatever they were working on at the time. That’s why it’s common to have a meeting in which marketing thinks the numbers went up because of a new PR or marketing effort and engineering thinks the better numbers are the result of the new features it added.

    Unfortunately, when the numbers go down, it results in a very different reaction: now it’s somebody else’s fault. Thus, most team members or departments live in a world where their department is constantly making things better, only to have their hard work sabotaged by other departments that just don’t get it.
    [/quote]


    <p class='p2'>He suggests two solutions to this problem, both of which need to be implemented. First, people need to work in cross-functional teams, not traditional departments like marketing or engineering. Second, metrics need to actually give real information about what caused the change. Primarily, he suggests using A/B testing on the product (giving different versions with and without a new change to different groups of customers).

    For the entrepreneur working with a small team of a few (or even one!) the first solution is irrelevant, but the second could prove invaluable.

    In other news, I made a new comic. Go read it!


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