How to increase the effectiveness of your product analysts

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In the fall of 2016, I was working on a project called Workplace at Facebook. Our six-month milestone was drawing to a close, and we were sorely lagging behind our project goals. The analytics team, which at the time consisted of three people, started thinking about the different ways to accelerate progress and meet the goals at all costs.

Deliver results like you would deliver a product

The most common way to communicate the results of some important analytical work to a wide range of people is to publish the study and send it to those who are interested. Don’t do this, unless you don’t mind the results of your work being lost among a bunch of other emails.

Stay in the context

Product metrics are highly dependent on the source of the traffic, i.e., where the users came from. So the conversion rate of an analytical research into real projects is highly dependent on how and where the research project started. If the subject of study is divorced from reality, has a low priority to the team, or has little to do with the rest of the company’s goals, then even perfect analytical work will produce no effect at all.

Look for a quick way to get first results

Another way to increase the efficiency of product analysts is to shorten the path between questions and first results.. Quite often, the potential impact of a product research is inversely proportional to the time spent on the analysis. The more time spent on finding and refining the answer to the question, the higher the probability that the team has already moved on.

Share the results with the team during the study process, not after it’s ready

When a product analyst is working on a task, especially a large one, the classic approach is to keep digging into it for several weeks, and then come back with the final results and present it to the team.

Speak simple language

There is usually an inverse relation between the amount of jargon used in a study and the number of useful insights it contains. If you have something to say, then say it in the simplest language possible. Share what you learned about the user or product, not the research methods you used.

Make the team’s life easier, not harder

“It won’t work.” “It is impossible to calculate.” “It will take at least a month.” “You can’t do that.” “We don’t have such data.”

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Oleg Yakubnekov

Oleg Yakubnekov

I am a product and data guy with experience in building and growing things at scale. Forbes 30 under 30