Data driven Product Manager

Product Manager are known as the most data driven person in the company, ouuuuw reallly?

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Data as we know, known as things that can only be tamed using sophisticated method, complicated tools or smart geek data person. The problem is, as product manager we might have limited understanding about data analytics method and fancy tools. But worry not, for us as product manager, data is tools to achieved business and product target, not objective. That’s why before skill, it’s important to build the correct data mindset first.

As a Product Manager, we need to understand that being a data driven is a must. Data driven mindset separates good PM and great PM. There are several things to build data driven mindset, the 1st mindset is always data first. Data should be a foundation to make decision, before experience, intuition, or assumption. This mindset is important, not just when we are made decide alone, but also when in team. In team, it makes the discussion on the same level for every person, so everyone can give idea and challenge each other. If you use experience, the winner is always people who works longer. If you use intuition, the winner is always the one who have the highest authorities.

The 2nd mindset is learning how to falsify our-self. As an honest data driven product manager, NEVER ever do cherry picking or try to fit in the data to our result. Data biggest enemy is ego, you can’t try to beat data, take the other side with data and you definitely will lose. Data is always the truth, but interpretation may vary. We need to challenge and falsify our-self, most of the time data result will broke our assumption or crumble our long-term road map, but that’s okay, PM need to be agile. Its better to change plan, or even lose some, compare to losing everything

The 3rd mindset is focus on what matters. In the era of big data, its very possible to be overwhelm with a lot of data. PM need to be focus on what matters and ignore noise, which what matters is data that related with our product metrics. Ignore noise, whatever fascinating it is, if its not related with our product metrics, than we can save it for later

The 4th mindset is story telling about data is as important as data itself. As PM, we work as a team, doesn’t matter how good our understanding about data, if we cannot communicate it other stakeholders, than it means 0. Don’t use complicated terms of data in communication, data itself already complicated. Be patient, especially when you talks with someone who don’t have same level understanding as you. Its hard to explain about business metrics to engineer team, its also same level of hard when we try explain tech optimization metrix to UX team. But this is the most important PM role, to be a bridge of knowledge for every stakeholder

Data is tools, not goals. To use data to achieve our objective is by creating “Product Metrics”. Product metrics is very critical, it can determine our product will be successful or not. Wrong product metrics will create massive chaos and catastrophic to achieve our goals. Build product metrics is one of the most important skill that need to be acquired by Product Manager. Product metrics objective is 2; 1st is to build milestone to successful objective we want to achieve. 2nd is to build swing trend indicators performance, so we can read the market and be agile on it. Several things to build great product metrics:

1. Focus on objective and build north star metrics. To make it easier to measure the result and also easy to communicate for everyone, we need to build 1 north star metrics that describe our successful objective. Example: to be the biggest transaction ecommerce platfrom in Indonesia, we need to have the most Monthly Active User compare to other competitor, to achieve that, we need to growth by 100% compare to last year

2. Build smaller metrics to indicates trend and market acceptance. To achieve north star, we might to have multiple initiative along the way. New feature, new enhancement, new campaign mechanism, each initiative will make us closer or further to our north star metrics, that’s why we need to build several metrics to gather trend and insight. Example: to support MAU, we need to measure User Visited, Number of User who search products and Payment Success Rate.

3. Brain storming metrics and get feedback. It’s never about my metrics, it’s us metrics. To achieve north star metrics, we need help and support for all stakeholders, from business, tech and user team. We need to understand that every team member has their own issue, challenge and probably KPI. We need to listen and construct metrics that aligned with everyone. Be transparent and open in discussion, make everyone in the same page

4. Make metrics smaller at first. No need to be shame to put small milestone in the beginning, big achievement are the result of small milestone we achieved along the way. Make it small and gradually increase is important because it give us the sense of “achieveabilty”. Example: to achieved MAU growth by 100% in the end of next year, we will achive 5% in Q1, 10% in Q2, 30% in Q3 and 55% in Q4.

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One thing I get from my experience as Product Manager is, the better our understanding with data, the easier our life as PM will be. Hope this help you to be a better data driven Product Manager :)

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