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Data-Driven Product Management

A recent study by Harvard Business Review analyzed the utilization of competitive intelligence and market insights within large corporations. They found that an astonishing 45% of analysts’ input had no impact on decision-making within the company. The primary reason, suggests HBR, is that “many executives decide on a course of action and then use competitive intelligence to ratify their choice.”

However, the study found that analysts who worked specifically to provide insight for product launches generally found their input to be impactful. When it comes to product management, corporations by and large recognize the value of research. That’s because, according to HBR, “lack of insightful anticipation…leads to many more failures than there should be.”

For example, in the pharmaceutical industry, respondents said that, “competitive intelligence had either saved or generated millions through discontinuing ineffective drug development efforts, walking away from bad deals and/or licensing opportunities, or accelerating new drug development based on what competitors were doing.”

Data-Driven Product Management Report


Big data: the management revolution

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2016 Product Management Insights Report

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Similarly, a study done by the MIT Center for Digital Business found that companies in the top third of their industry who reported using “data-driven decision making” were approximately 5% more productive and 6% more profitable than their competitors.

The mechanics of data science

According to our research, only 21% of product managers have access to a data scientist in their organization. Further, product managers feel that, of everyone on a product team, they have the greatest aptitude for data driven decision making. Given that they are the de facto resident expert, it’s critical for product managers to take training and education seriously when it comes to data.

Numerous courses and programs have emerged such as 280 GroupGeneral Assembly, and Product School. Indeed, nearly 65% of product managers we surveyed told us that they’d taken a free or paid product management course.

Product management courses taken

In terms of generating data, product managers from large organizations were generally more likely than product managers at startups to use an assortment of channels. This was true for using business intelligence tools, social listening, and running surveys. However, they were behind when it comes to running in-person interviews and online user tests.


The next evolution

Product teams are increasingly seeking more robust processes for generating and using data in an agile environment. However, traditional market research tactics are slow and expensive, and don’t necessarily fit the cadence of the modern workflow.

Pragmatic Marketer: Metrics

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How to determine when customer feedback is actionable

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Introduction to statistics in product management

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That’s why more than 75% of product teams report running experiments. Tapping into the lean movement’s build-measure-learn approach, product managers are uttilizing prototypes and experiments as a way to test assumptions and customer demand for product and feature concepts.

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