Growth hackers are always experimenting, and it’s common to be running multiple experiments at the same time. With this, there is a clear need to store your experiments in a simple and effective way, making it is easy to track and measure your work over time.
There are many competing systems that can be used to store and record experiments, each with their own advantages and drawbacks. I have tested a number of these services and have collected my thoughts on how they can be used best and in what capacity. In this post, I will go through each one and address what I consider are the most important features when looking for a tool to match your experimentation needs.
The systems/apps I have tested:
– Growth Tribe’s ‘Grows’
– GrowthHackers’ ‘NorthStar’
– Google Drive
What I will address in my review:
– Ease of use
– Analytics and measurability
– Suitability for size of organisation
– Upholding of growth methodology
Grows by Growth Tribe
Growth Tribe is a dedicated Growth Academy and is one of Europe’s first businesses of this kind. Over the last few years, Growth Tribe has been running highly successful growth training courses for organisations and individuals throughout the EU. As a natural evolution, the academy has gone on to vertically integrate into the experiment storing and organising business.
Due to its uncomplicated layout and simple experiment creation feature, the ‘Grows’ app is incredibly easy to use. After entering your idea or concept, Grows asks you to fill in relevant questions relating to the conversion funnel, north star metrics, and key objectives to ensure that you are asking the right questions and tracking the right data. You are able to rank ideas using either the PIES or BRASS scale system, depending on where the idea sits in the funnel. All in all, it took me around 10 minutes to learn how the system worked and, even after a few days of inactive use, I was still able to remember how to find and continue with what I was working on.
The app lends itself to team work as numerous people can contribute to your ideas board and you are able to invite members to create a growth team.
On the down-side, one of the most obvious and notable pitfalls is that the app limits you to a simplified filtering system when searching through your idea cards, making long term use a potential issue. What’s more, you are not able to add iterations to on-going experiments. These become a compounding problems when looking to change to a different tool or storage option, as the app has no export function. The Grows app has some basic integration with other apps, but these are strictly limited to Slack and Zapier.
In terms of tracking and measuring, the app only has a Win and Fail option and, unfortunately, does not provide any other analytics on statistics such as; individual and team performance, idea creation rate, team member management, and other key performance metrics. Drawbacks such as these make the app more useful for smaller growth teams who can afford to track their experiments in a more manual way.
As the tool is currently free, Growth Tribe has stated that Grows will remain as such, which is good news for those of us looking to cut costs on tooling.
Link to App: Grows
Trial Period: No free trial required
Freemium version: Yes
NorthStar by GrowthHackers
The NorthStar app was created by the team at GrowthHackers, founded by Sean Ellis; the famed growth hacker and author of ‘Hacking Growth’. Sean is most notably the driver behind the rapid growth and expansion of Dropbox, Eventbrite, LogMeIn and Lookout. The NorthStar app was designed by growth hackers and had been running in a beta form for around 2 years with the Spotify and Mozilla growth teams before the commercial version was officially launched in March 2018.
NorthStar is an app that can be scaled easily within an organisation, simply by adding products. Further, from a team perspective, the coaching, dashboards, and push notifications are incredibly useful for helping to keep individuals and teams on track. The app acts as a new and motivating voice within your organisation and creates a momentum that is often relied upon by team leads and managers. The service also provides you with growth hacking best practices for idea creation, the use of the conversion funnel and the ICE scoring system, and is strongly encouraged.
In terms of usability, NorthStar took me the longest to learn out of all of the services that I tested, and was not as intuitive as I imagined it would be. Once understood though, the app pushes you to create ideas that work towards key objectives which, in turn, contribute to the NorthStar metric for your organisation or product, helping you keep an eye on the big picture. Overall, many of the issues I faced could be easily solved with some UX adjustments, as a lot of the time I was struggling to find what I was looking for.
In regards to integrations, NorthStar have more than most. The GrowthHacker team has directly integrated the app with a variety of market leading tools for communication, storage, tracking, and analysing. Below is a partial list of some of their integrations.
- Google Optimize, Suite, and Drive
The basic plan after the free trial allows 1 product/department, with up to 50 employee accounts and three integrations for $99 /month. From there, it is a steep jump to $499 /month for mid – large sized company access and increased integration.
Overall, I think the service is good value for money, considering how layered the service is and the high number of direct integrations that are possible. The service also contributes to a company-wide alignment of goals and an overall methodology change.
Link to App: NorthStar
Trial Period: Free Trial 30 Days
Freemium version: No
Pipefy was founded in 2015 and has since taken a strong foothold in the organisational tech sector. The Pipefy product is minimalist in design, simple to understand, and intuitive from the beginning. The app quickly reveals itself as much more than a Kanban project management tool. The building block style customisation is unique, fast to understand and logical. Keeping track of past experiments is easy, with a built-in history tab, an under appreciated feature amongst their competitors. Pipefy has also written extensively about growth hacking and have released their own templates for growth hackers to use as a starting point.
Pipefy is suitable for all organisation sizes and offers a pricing structure to suit. They run a freemium service for small businesses or teams, and scale upwards to professional, business and enterprise levels, all coming with further integration and support levels.
Pipey also has a diverse range of integrations using GraphQL and Zapier links. In addition, there are a variety of common tools that are already directly integrated, including the following:
Analytics and measurability are also strong features, with a range of useful tools for deadlines, sub tasks, and SLA (Service level agreement) tracking. There is also the ability to measure individual contribution and performance of your team or department to keep up momentum.
Link to App: Pipefy
Trial Period: Not needed
Freemium version: Yes
Google Suite by Google
Google Suite is something that many of us now take for granted. The platform strives for quick collaboration, uniformity across products, and accessibility and, with its variety of tools, its uses within an organisation can be endless. Adapting its uses to suit specific goals, however, can sometimes be more cumbersome than investing in bespoke software to complete the task.
Google Suite is relatively cheap if your company already has a Google subscription, and usability is straightforward and simple to upskill in. You can easily test, iterate and formalise a way of working with cross functioning tools (eg: Forms feeding into Sheets), which can save time.
Set up can come with large, hidden time costs as customisation is limitless.. Analytics can be created on demand and reports can be scheduled to fit internal time frames based on your own parameters. It’s dynamic enough to be usable for all sizes of organisation, and this makes it an attractive option for companies looking to maximise their current tools. Its scalability is also unproblematic, with enterprise pricing still affordable at $8 per user, per month.
In regards to integrations, Google Suite mainly sticks with other Google products, but can also be the recipient of webhooks on Zapier. This can be a good option if you’re trying to centralise multiple Saas products, but can become time consuming to alter if you decide to change your set up.
Link to App: Google Suite
Trial Period: No
Freemium version: Yes
Some general advice for individuals looking for solution oriented products to fix their problems – look at all the current tools you are using. Your answer may not be in a shiny new miracle tool, but rather in changing the habits and thought processes you are currently using. The quickest thing you can change is your own or your teams; behaviour.