More than once this year I have been involved in discussions about how successful a feature or even a product is. There appear to be a number of criteria that people are happy to use: does it make money; is it widely used; do people like it. Its harder to get agreement on how we should measure these criteria and even harder to agree what success might mean.

At the moment I work on a mobile product and that has advantages and disadvantages. The platform lends itself to being able to measure user activity within the app however it also has disadvantages. Many mobile products are given away “free”, the idea being that a mobile offering will either augment other sales channels or be required to just be in the game. So gauging success based on generating revenue is very difficult to measure.

Like can be very subjective but is often used as the main criteria for success. A better than four star rating on the play store is often seen as a mark of success. However that measure is also problematic. I have often looked through the app reviews for the teams product only to see 10 one star reviews because the login service was down, not in our control and wipes out over a month of good reviews at a stroke.

I guess I am drifting more and more towards usage as a measure. If you develop a feature that is used by 4,000 users every day that might count as success. Recording this is quite straightforward these days I have made use of Firebase in my apps but have also considered Crashlytics.

Last Christmas I started a new project: wrist-spin. I can distinctly remember thinking that I would count it a success if I got 10 hearts and 100 users.


Well after a year as you can see I have more than exceeded my definition of a success.