The world's most successful companies perform hundreds of experiments in their products in order to create products that their customers love. In this article, we’re introducing a new Visma initiative to promote in-product experimentation that can help product teams start the journey toward making great products faster and accurately meet their customers' expectations.
Jonna Ervasti
User Insights Lead
Product experiments - what now?

Product experiments - what now?

Did you know that you're an unaware participant in upwards of hundreds of experiments in apps and websites that you use - every day? This is because the teams behind many of the most popular apps and websites we use have long since realised that product experimentation enables them to make the right decisions for their products.

These experiments can be small, even tiny, changes carefully designed by their product teams in order to measure the effectiveness of the change. A moved button, a new notification, a well-timed email; all of which the team hopes will make you make that purchase, use that feature, or discover something new. It can also be larger projects such as feature rollout where both performance and user experience is monitored, or fine-tuning a user journey to for example reduce frustration, improve retention, or increase technical performance for that workflow.

Pictured: an aspiring product experimenter.

Doing small incremental changes like these, and testing them in production, lets the product teams push out great products faster. Less time is spent on developing huge features or improvements before they are released, and each new decision is evaluated against the alternatives. In the end, this results in a better app, service, or website, which achieves the goals the company has set for it in terms of usage, conversion, retention, or other relevant metrics. Experiments can also be big, directed efforts affecting several parts of the product at once, while still going largely unnoticed by the users.

What can product experimentation do for your product?

Product experimentation can help you make better decisions and evaluate the outcome of a multitude of product challenges. Depending on how they are used, you can…

  • Know if a certain feature improvement will be successful
  • Quantify user interest in a new feature idea that you have
  • Customise your product based on user behaviour
  • Introduce new functionality and measure its success
  • Minimise churn/prevent mistakes/increase conversion (and more)
  • Improve new feature adoption

… And much more. The sky's the limit!

Successful product experiments do require quite a bit of set up. First and foremost, you need to have reliable and relevant sources of data. Both quantitative and qualitative data are essential, so setting up behavioural data tracking (Snowplow is the most popular option in Visma) as well as giving your designers and UX researchers enough time and resources to get a comprehensive understanding of your users is key. The qualitative insights from user research forms the foundation for the entire experiment, and the quantitative data from automated tracking is necessary to be able to evaluate the outcome on a large scale.

Product experimentation is the future of product development in Visma

We in Visma have much to gain from adopting a similar approach to developing our products. Customers today expect a tailored experience which caters to their needs, and as product companies we have to be proactive. But how to start? Product experimentation is not something that is done overnight, not even if you already have all the necessary resources and tools set up for it.

During the latter part of 2022, the product analytics hub and the product design & user insights hub have designed and piloted a completely new initiative in Visma: the product experiment workshop with the help of a small number of excellent Visma product teams. Now, we’re ready to share this with you.

The product experiment workshop is part of a larger initiative to promote in-product development experimentation in Visma, and is closely tied to the User Insights Index.

Pictured: Choosing between alternatives.

What are Visma companies doing?

The last couple of months, we’ve helped several Visma companies to plan, set up, and start some simple product experiments on their own. At Yuki, teams are testing the waters for a new feature using a “painted door test”, and separately they are also creating a whole new onboarding experience for their customers by experimenting to find the best outcomes. Meanwhile, teams at Nmbrs are redesigning the navigation in their app with A/B testing to create a better experience for their users. We’re looking forward to sharing their progress, and finally the initial results!

In the coming months, we will share our best tips and tricks as well as comprehensive resources to help product teams on any level to begin experimenting in their products. Until then, you can try it out for yourself by checking out the Experiment Canvas workshop template in Mural:

Product experimentation canvas (Mural template)

What’s next?

Of course, our plans to encourage and facilitate product experimentation in Visma doesn’t end here. During 2023, we will…

  • Develop more educational resources on how to execute experiments and methodologies around that with our expert facilitators in Product Analytics and User Insights teams
  • Implement tooling on top of Product Analytics stack to offer you 360 view of user behaviour data and run multiple experiments easily, as well as track experimentation progress and results
  • Continue to offer our support for running product experiment workshop we piloted this year

We are still early in this journey and key to success is you, our products, and our product teams.

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