Our team at Objectiv comes to work each day to change the way Product Management uses data. To build a next-generation of analytics and create a true level playing field. For the past 13 years, our team has been involved in weekly roadmap prioritization meetings. They have fueled our conviction that something needs to change.
Roadmaps are built on vision, belief, and an ability to support that with a rationale in order to align other stakeholders. Data is more often than not used for this purpose, which we as data fans can only applaud (see also: Finding the value of each feature to your product goals).
Current data tools are great, for data-wizards
Analytics suites, BI tools, database querying, spreadsheet magic; all tools used by stakeholders in PM to substantiate a personal roadmap vision. But these tools have something else in common: they work for the data-wizard, but not great for others.
We’ve seen many cases where an experienced marketer knows how to craft a convincing chart to support their point of view. But a recent grad has yet to develop the skills necessary to create custom dimensions and pivot charts, or analyze cohorts. But that does not say anything about their idea for the roadmap, nor its potential impact.
Roadmaps are skewing towards data-wizard stakeholders
And this is a problem. As the value of ideas should not be correlated to data skills.
So what can we do to fix this?
Create better tooling.
A tool that doesn’t require hours of slicing, exporting and charting to arrive at a conclusion. But rather a tool that stakeholders open with their morning coffee in hand, and enables them to put a next roadmap action forward before they get to their second cup.
Connect data to business goals.
It sounds obvious, but how often have you been in a meeting where decisions are made based largely on pageviews or click-throughs, while your PM team’s ultimate goal is much more clear? Improve retention, conversion, onboarding rates, etcetera. When analytics data is tied to such business goals, stakeholders are better aligned for the next right move.
Create a feedback loop.
Roadmap prioritization is mostly about looking forward. Sure, A/B tests are discussed, but again: they are great for data-wizards, while revisiting the subject of statistical significance can make others zone out. By creating a clear feedback loop that quantifies how each past roadmap move has contributed to product goals, vetting subsequent ideas becomes much more honest.
So we think it’s time for a level playing field of data in PM. No more data battles, but a proper tool that enables everyone to make solid roadmap decisions over a coffee.