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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Monitor Feature Usage

Exploring user usage data to determine what he/ she is liking and valuing is of great importance for a product manager. User data helps in knowing what strategies are working and which needs to be re-worked upon. Importantly, inputs from user usage data may also influence product road-map in a greater way as it is direct input from users to product owner. 

User usage data will help a product manager in knowing;
  • who is using feature, and when (time, circumstance etc) is he using them.
  • most commonly used features and least used features
  • is this feature being used for the purpose it was designed for? 
  • feature combinations used
  • duration for which software is used for
  • how often user visits helps page and what content do they search for in help files
  • abnormal software exit
....and many more similar questions that a product owner or product manager is expected to answer.

Digging into user usage data a product manager may also learn that a feature that was earlier frequently used by users is now rarely used by same user group, may be post last release (or last few releases). It is imperative to figure out reasons behind such a dip in feature usage. It could be a mess-up somewhere in new release or a new feature is cannibalization a well received existing feature. It is critical for a product manager to get hold of such facts as they happen.

Another important reason for looking into software usage data is to optimally utilize engineering resources. In real word where resources are always limited and sales has never ending wishes, user usage data come in as great relief. A wise product manager would look into usage data to appropriately validate sales claim, and deploy resources on features that would yield maximum possible returns.

So plan out your user usage data review on regular basis, get in touch with users via appropriate channel if required. Remember, data don't lie - they are product manager's best friend.


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