Explained: The Need for Product Analysts in a Product Team

 Analysts help teams better define the goals they should set, so it’s not just a shot in the dark but based on data. They also make it easy to track progress against outcomes.

Gokul Rajaraman
0. CEOs, CPOs and VPEs: The core product team has traditionally been a triad: Engineer, Designer, PM. Consider changing this to a quartet by adding Analyst. Product analysts can transform product development. Some ways in which they do this:
1. Defining outcomes: Analysts help teams better define the goals they should set, so it’s not just a shot in the dark but based on data. They also make it easy to track progress against outcomes.
2. Clarifying input metrics: Many product teams flounder between inputs and outputs. Analysts help teams better understand what levers they should pull to move the outputs.
3. Enabling hypothesis-driven product development: A product feature is an experiment to test a hypothesis around customer behavior. Most product teams implicitly understand this, but few build systems to create, run and measure experiments. Good analysts make this happen.
4. Ultimately, analysts turbocharge product development teams by helping them set higher quality goals (outcome definition), understand what really matters (input metric clarity), and improve execution (hypothesis driven development).
5. If you’re thinking “shouldn’t this be the job of the PM?” that’s traditionally been the case. However, IMO, the complexity and sophistication of data necessitates a dedicated person focused on this. Not surprisingly, some of the best PMs I’ve hired were analysts earlier.(End)
0. CEOs, CPOs and VPEs: The core product team has traditionally been a triad: Engineer, Designer, PM. Consider changing this to a quartet by adding Analyst. Product analysts can transform product development. Some ways in which they do this:
1. Defining outcomes: Analysts help teams better define the goals they should set, so it’s not just a shot in the dark but based on data. They also make it easy to track progress against outcomes.
2. Clarifying input metrics: Many product teams flounder between inputs and outputs. Analysts help teams better understand what levers they should pull to move the outputs.
3. Enabling hypothesis-driven product development: A product feature is an experiment to test a hypothesis around customer behavior. Most product teams implicitly understand this, but few build systems to create, run and measure experiments. Good analysts make this happen.
4. Ultimately, analysts turbocharge product development teams by helping them set higher quality goals (outcome definition), understand what really matters (input metric clarity), and improve execution (hypothesis driven development).
5. If you’re thinking “shouldn’t this be the job of the PM?” that’s traditionally been the case. However, IMO, the complexity and sophistication of data necessitates a dedicated person focused on this. Not surprisingly, some of the best PMs I’ve hired were analysts earlier.(End)

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