Data-Driven Product Decisions by American Express Product Leader, Bharath Venkataram

"Without data you're just another person with an opinion." Edwards Deming, Statistician

The Why

You need data to prove your theory, your hypothesis. You know your assumptions to make sure you're on the right track. You are also leading the team as a product manager in the right direction. That is why it is becoming increasingly important for product managers to rely on data to make many key decisions. Opinions don't matter that much because the data will tell you what you've been missing all this time.

The What

Looking at data from a different perspective, now that we have clearly understood why data is really important for product managers in our daily work, we will adhere to 4 key principles about what data is. This happens with every single product that was previously developed by product managers.
Once the problem is identified, we begin solving it. There is a problem that a certain person faces. This may be a specific group of users. And there is a product that we are going to create to solve this problem. There is business value that we derive from this, there is income, profits, and also a business model that we can create based on this.

Using data to identify product opportunities:

  • Tickets

  • Feedback

  • Discovery sessions

  • Unsolved/unmet need

  • Competitor analysis

  • Micro and Macro economic factors

  • Trends

Using data to identify the people:

  • Customer Segment

  • Pilot Users

  • Demographics

  • Geography

  • Scale

Using data to monitor your product performance:

  • Acquisition

  • Engagement

  • Retention

  • Growth

  • A/B and multi-variate

Using data to monitor your business model:

  • Revenue

  • Profits

  • ROI


The How

  • Sharpen your analytical skills

  • Bake it into your OKRs

  • Make it a habit!

It is our job as Product Managers to use data in order to see beneath the surface.

Bharath Venkataram, American Express Product Leader