Now that you have metrics, how will you use them? Metrics provide clarity of focus, and should serve as the answer for “why” behind each thing you do. They let you set goals on a monthly or yearly basis, and support setting priorities and making trade-offs. When resources are constrained, the direction that’s more likely to impact your metric should take precedence over other work, and will become a useful lens through which to view every stage in your process, including design critiques, user research, and product exploration. And because the metric was derived from your mission statement, you should always be able to tie improvements to the metric to the overarching goal. It will serve you well to begin your design presentations with your goal (stated in people terms), how you measure progress against that goal, and how your work leads to a better outcome against that goal.
Note that we could have selected other metrics to look at — like maybe number of posts and comments in groups, or how many groups someone is a part of. There are different ways to approach translating your mission statement into a metric, and it’s healthy to re-evaluate periodically whether your chosen metric maps well to your actual mission. When your mission and your metrics aren’t aligned, that’s a recipe for tension, as the numbers may compel you to do things that might technically match how you’ve defined “success” but aren’t getting at what actually matters.
At Facebook, we recently used this process when updating our mission statement to focus not just on connecting the world, but also bringing the world closer together. We started with the plain-language statement where, if our efforts are successful, everyone in the world would find and participate in communities that were meaningful to them, both online and in the physical world. We then set the goal to help 1 billion people join “meaningful groups” — groups on Facebook they interact with frequently. By starting with a statement, and then using that to select our success metrics, we have a better picture in mind of the people we’re serving, and a better framework for our teams to think about when it comes to building tools to help people start and grow communities.