How to avoid opinion-based product prioritization

Discover insights to help you drive decision making using data and better manage stakeholders

  • They put data at the heart of the process.
  • They spread this culture of data and sharing of information throughout their organization.

1tap and the North Star method

Originating in Silicon Valley, the concept of a North Star Metric has been around for a while. Within Google, the teams at YouTube and Gmail among others, use the process of orienting around a “north star metric” to prioritize the features to build. From my interviews, I discovered how beneficial it is for our teams and wondered if it might help app developers too. Within Google, we have a growth team that has been the conduit for this process, so I harnessed this team to work with 1tap.

Set a North Star metric

This is a metric that consolidates all the work you’re doing and value you’re delivering across acquisition, engagement, conversion, and retention. So, if you were a hotel booking app this metric is nights booked, while for a messaging app it would be messages sent.

Define your user flows

  • Draw the flows between events.
  • Use your analytics to identify the percentage of users taking each flow.

Build a growth model

The next step is to build the growth model. We use the information about the user flows and are guided by the North Star metric to determine the growth drivers. These are the drivers that will improve areas of weakness and build on strengths.

Create a spreadsheet

The final step is to transfer the model to a spreadsheet and evaluate your opportunities, to see how they impact growth.


Language app Memrise is used by 35 million people to learn their choice of language from over 200 language pairs. Kristina Narusk, head of growth for Memrise, describes the company’s journey to date as unique, in part because “we’ve been rather lucky with having Ed Cooke as our CEO because he is one of the most creative and experimental people out there who, at the same time, is great at running a growing team and a growing business”. Ed’s approach injects a lot of out-of-the-box thinking into the company. The downside, if you can describe it as such, is the challenge of managing the creative ideas to find the ones that will grow the app.

  1. Has an immediate impact. As soon as the feature rolls out to users, it should generate behavioral change that is noticeable in metrics.
  2. Has a lasting effect. It must benefit users over an extended period, not just for the first five minutes or the first day.
  3. Has to be measurable. There must be a way to measure its impact on users and the success of the app.
  4. Has the power of localization. It has to be something that can be delivered to most, if not all, of the app’s markets.
  5. Has to fit coherently into the app. The idea has to fit into the app and make sense.
  • Target learners
  • Target language
  • Length of the experiment
  • What needs tracking
  • What the analytics dashboard should contain


What do you think?

Do you have thoughts on decision making and prioritization? Let us know in the comments below or tweet using #AskPlayDev and we’ll reply from @GooglePlayDev, where we regularly share news and tips on how to be successful on Google Play.



Tips, trends, and industry thoughts for app and game developers building businesses on Google Play.

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