The HWYF Test

“How would you feel if you could no longer use this product?”


I’ve done a lot of work with NPS – both using it as the “one metric to rule them all”, as well as  using NPS ‘verbatim’ feedback to inform the Confluence product roadmap while at Atlassian.

But one of the questions I asked customers was: “What would you use if you didn’t have Confluence?” The answer was always: “Nothing! There’s nothing else that can do this!”

I love NPS, and it’s a great way to gauge if one company/product is ‘better’ than another if you’re looking to make an angel/VC investment.   But a low NPS score (“I won’t recommend…”) might not be a good indicator of stickiness.

That’s where the HWYF test comes in! Ask the simple question:

How would you feel if you could no longer use <product>?

  1. Very disappointed
  2. Somewhat disappointed
  3. Not disappointed
  4. N/A – I no longer use <product>

Only count the percentage of people who answered 1. Very disappointed. According to Sean Ellis, who first wrote about the HWYF test, you want that number to be more than 40%. If it’s significantly less than 40%, you haven’t achieved product/market fit.

So what do you do? One thing is to start segmenting. Is there a difference between male and female users? Do software engineers love your product, but business people don’t? Either double down on the market where you do have product/market fit, or consider rethinking your product.

Credit: Sean Ellis via Trevor Owens in The Lean Enterprise


I did two separate HWYF tests on Twitter, to determine the HWYF score for iPhone and Android phones, both of which I’d argue have achieved great product/market fit. Unsurprisingly, the HWYF score in both cases is well over 40% (but still under 50%)

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