Data analysis is one of the most important aspects of product management. It is how we get to know our customers and our product. In order to be successful product leaders, we need to dive deep into data and turn it into actionable insights. So, how can data analysis help propel your product forward? This week, Product Talk host and Product Leader, Neha Shah, interviews MongoDB Product Lead Rachelle Palmer who shares insights on a data-driven approach to product management. 

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On building product teams

Many organizations across the globe are building product teams and hiring product managers for the first time. And many PMs find themselves in an extremely new field. A data-driven approach to product management requires the right team and the right tools. And PMs need to know what it takes to build the right team. These are some things to remember when building teams focused on a data-driven approach:

“For product people, the reality is that the job is usually picking between good ideas and great ideas. And you have to decide what not to do.” 

“In your early days, [good leaders] are really important because they can identify and attract top talent,  retain talent., and they can coach people. As your company gets bigger their teams sow the seeds of your culture that are hopefully long-lasting.” 

“As we grew, we were fortunate enough to have the funding and the buy-in to hire people who could do things, and who are experts at them. You have to be able to let those people take the job, let them do what you hired them for. Let them be the expert, and coach them on the things that you need to coach them on. But otherwise, let go.”

On a data-driven approach to customer management

The voice of the customer is extremely important. As product managers, it is crucial that we listen to our customers and dive deep into their pain points. But calling customers takes a lot of time, and it could take years to speak to each and every one of them. This is where data analysis comes in. Data analysis allows us to look at 1000s of customer comments at the same time. This is why you should use a data-driven approach to customer management. 

“We have 1000s of comments in forums. We have 1000s of support cases. And we have a really nice internal search of those things.” 

“You can just search by keyword, and you can read several 1000 customer comments. And that’s how you build your roadmap.”

“Product people should be data monsters about their product, what users say and do, and what your non-users say.”

On a data-driven approach to product management

So, what are some tools you can use to dive deep into data and turn it into actionable insights? Rachelle has 4 favorite tools that help her maximize the success of her data-driven approach. Her team utilizes Intercom, Amplitude, Google Analytics, and Google Search Console to better understand the needs of their users. But what do you do when you have conflicting data or not enough data? Check out what Rachelle had to say about these aspects of a data-driven approach to product management:

“I love Intercom. That’s who we use as our Support Chat tool. It’s easy to search it by keyword and to lurk on customer conversations with our support team. I love Amplitude. We use that to organize a lot of our data and to see what users are doing.”

“And I also love Google Analytics. I love Google Search Console because you can see what keywords people are searching, and then how they’re finding your product documentation and where they’re where you have 1000s of views versus two.”

“A lot of the times you’re going to be in situations where the data is noisy points to conflicting things. And that’s you can do segmentation exercises. You want to be data-informed. I think sometimes though, it’s just a judgment call based on your own experience that you have in the industry or life.”

About the speaker
Rachelle Palmer MongoDB, Product Lead, Developer Experience Member
About the host
Neha Shah Kaboo, Founder

My experience covers the trifecta of B2B Product Management, Sales, and Marketing. I also co-founded a B2C startup focused on family and education technology. I believe technology can be a creative and powerful driving force for change, and am passionate about building products that improve every day experiences.

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