Pendo e-book: How to become a data-driven product manager // Start reading

How to become a data-driven product manager


In the age of big data, it feels like everything has to be data-driven, a prefix attributed to nearly every function in our professional and personal lives, and often without any action to back it up. Buzzword aside, data is central to a product manager’s (PM’s) job.

Gartner predicts that by 2021, 75% of software providers will rely on insights from embedded software analytics to inform product decisions and measure customer health.

But having data that you can make sense of, have confidence in, connect to the rest of your systems, and access easily and quickly is easier said than done. While this is always going to be a challenge, product managers need to recognize the opportunity in front of them: to leverage data to bolster their decisions, inform new ideas, and ultimately, create a better experience for customers.

To help shed light on how product practitioners of all levels are thinking about this, we interviewed ten experts to hear how they view a product manager’s relationship with data (whether you prefer to call it data-driven, data-informed, or none of the above).

Let’s dive in.

What does it mean to be data-driven?

In Pendo’s 2020 State of Product Leadership report, product managers said they see their decision-making process as more reliant on data than instinct. But like many things in product, everyone (or every company) has their own methods and overall philosophy about data.

When we asked product pros what data-driven product management means to them, the answers varied, but had some clear overlaps.

Greg Bayer, SVP of Product, Nielsen

Product management which follows the philosophy of making customer and market- informed decisions about your product direction, as opposed to gut thinking or listening to just one or two internal points of view.

Greg Bayer /// SVP of Product
Nielsen logo

Sam Benson, Product Operations Specialist, Firefly

It’s essential to always learn and get a better understanding of our users and what is important to them when considering different changes or improvements to the product. To me, the best way to monitor that on a day-to- day basis is through analytics.

Sam Benson /// Product Operations Specialist
Firefly logo

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