Where Data Product Teams Struggle

Video produced by Steve Nathans-Kelly

Brian O'Neill, founder and principal of Designing for Analytics, discussed the key design challenges data product teams face during his presentation at Data Summit Connect 2021.        

"They are not spending enough time shadowing customers, watching them do their work. What is it like to be a controller, a salesperson, a marketing person making ad spend, or, you know, decisions? They don't really understand how the users are going to use the solutions they make operates. Operationalization is an afterthought or seen as change management or some other organization's problem to deal with," he said. "We expect users to, change and adopt our solution. So we're kind of imposing our thing on them instead of figuring out how do we insert a solution that follows the natural way of they're working now as much as possible."

Putting the customer first when designing a solution is key, he explained. 

"So we're not thinking about incremental value to the customer, which means we released a small thing that helps them do their job better, or get some kind of value. Instead, we shipped a small proof of concept and those are very different things," he said. "And when you can see beyond a technical increment of work and start seeing it as, 'Hey, we put this thing out, we made this person's life slightly better. It does X, Y, and Z.' This is the difference between POC and MVPs. And there's a lot that we can learn from the software industry about doing that."