Jan 28, 2020 Project Management

S.M.A.R.T. Goals in ActiveCollab

S.M.A.R.T. Goals in ActiveCollab

In our previous post, we talked about setting a S.M.A.R.T. goal and said we'd give you an example from our own yard, so here it is!

This is how we do it

We thought it would be nice to suggest you try out ActiveCollab in your native language. So, if you’re from Portugal and you’re visiting our site or want to start a trial period, we’d like to suggest Portuguese as a default language as soon as you get there.

But before we start developing this feature, there’s a whole set of questions we need to ask ourselves.

Imagine having someone come to you with a similar request. This is what you could ask them first: why would we even create this feature? Which goals are you trying to reach?

We asked ourselves these questions and came up with an answer: the goal is to increase the number of trials on a monthly basis. Although it seems very ill-defined and vague, it’s actually not. Because, the next step is to outline the baseline, and then to define more precisely the goal.

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Asking the right questions

This means the questioning process doesn’t end at the first set of questions. It’s rather a start, after which you can define the current state, the one you’d like to change. Here’s a hint: try to stick to statistics from a certain period in the past. For instance, last year.

The set of questions that came after this was: how many visits, on a monthly basis, does our site (i.e. the place where trials are created) have?

Immediately, we realized that wasn’t specific enough, as a great deal of our visitors’ primary language is English.

We quickly corrected ourselves and rephrased the question to:

  • How many visitors from countries where English isn’t an official language do we have? Also, how many of those visitors create trials?
  • Which languages other than English are most commonly used?

Then we thought of our existing users and posed the question:

  • How many of them translate ActiveCollab to their native language?
  • And which languages are those (top 3)?

Let’s say you’ve established those visits make up 1% of the total number. Out of this percentage, 10 users whose primary language isn’t English create a trial monthly. So, if nearly no one is using this option, maybe there’s no need to spend time developing it.

Not only this is a display of a professional approach to the project, but it’s also a way to help reexamine the initial wishes and requests.

A step beyond would be suggesting an alternative of your own, based on the newly collected data. In this particular case, it could be a campaign designed to attract such users to the site. You could even define with precision which markets to target, as you already know which languages are used the most. 

If the campaign succeeds, you’ll have a higher percentage of these particular users. Then you can go back to the initial questions and decide whether translating ActiveCollab for those who are visiting the site or trying out the app is worth your while.

However, if the numbers already show our customers like to have ActiveCollab in a language other than English, why not suggest it and make things easier for them?

Now that you’ve established a baseline and a potential benefit, you can go back to the first question and define a S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely) goal.

Let’s rewind

The first question was: why do we do what we do? What’s our goal?

The answer: we want to increase the number of trials created on a monthly basis.

In light of new information, the goal can become more accurate (S.M.A.R.T.).

For example: following the launch of the new feature, we want to have an increase of a minimum of 10% in the number of trials created from countries where Portuguese, Spanish and French are primary languages, monthly, 3 months in a row.

Goal reached

Finally, we have an achievable and relevant goal. Getting there leaves room for creativity, as there are many ways to reach it. The focus shifts from how to where.

Without all those questions, we wouldn't have come this far. This process is not easy nor simple, but you’ve reached a clearly defined start and endpoint of a project.

Once you know where you’re coming from, you need to set out on a path to where you’re going, and that path needs to be well defined as well. Otherwise, you might go astray.

To be continued…

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