Product Hacker is the new Product Manager

prod·uct hack·er

/ˈprädəktˈhakər/

noun

Product Hacker is a data-driven product manager that uses modern techniques to optimize the value their product provides to it’s users.


What does a product hacker do?

Product analytics

Everything starts with understanding how users are using the product.

  • How many users are using a specific feature?
  • Are they using it just once or over and over again?
  • Which user segments are adopting the feature more than others?
  • What are the popular funnels leading to the feature?
“Create Project” — Feature Dashboard

Once he understands how users are using the product he can take actions in order to help them use it better, increasing the value they will be getting from the product.


Feature Validation (before building)

Millions are invested in building new features as we speak, unfortunately there is a good chance some of those features will never be used by real users.

“Product Hackers” use a data-driven process to validate features before they are built.

You might be surprised how effective can mockups/sketches/prototypes be in order to collect feedback from real customer and have better understanding of what can or can’t be built.

During the process it is important to collect both qualitative & quantitative feedback.


Feature Flagging

“Product Hackers” are data driven, they don’t just release new features to all the users, that would make it really difficult to measure the impact of the new feature.

The idea is to “open” the new feature to small group of users and then measure the behavior of those users compared to the users who didn’t get the feature.

During this process it is important to measure the following:

  • Number of users who “got” the feature.
  • Number of users who used it.
  • Was it used just once or did it stick?
  • Number of users who just accessed the feature but didn’t successfully use it (feature funnel).
  • It is also recommended to collect feedback from users who used the feature and perform some adjustments before releasing it to the whole user base.

Product Announcements

“Product Hackers” don't just build products in the dark, they engage with users and involve them in the building process.

Product announcements is a great way to keep users in the loop , expose or promote new features and even gain relevant feedback.

Try to make the process interactive and social, let users ask question or comment on the changes.


Feature Guidance

Companies are investing millions in building features, users are usually using only small friction of the features.

“Product Hackers” understand that making the user use the right feature at the right time will increase the value the product is providing.

There are several implementations to this technique but the general idea is to trigger behavior based tips/suggestions/guides/badges/call-to-actions.


Product Feedback

Getting feedback is really difficult. The action of asking for feedback is usually intrusive , too broad and most of the time not effective.

“Product Hackers” manage to successfully collect feedback and gain insights due to the reason they are asking for feedback in-context.

Sending an email with a long survey regarding features the customer probably never used is the old way, triggering behavior based relevant questions inside the application is the new way, and it is much more effective.

A data driven process

“Product hackers” are data driven, they don’t guess — they measure.

  • Everything starts with analytics, the first step is to understand how users are using the product, “if you can’t measure it you can’t improve it”
  • Each technique should be behavior triggered — appear to the users in the right place and in the right time
  • The effect of the technique should be measured, was the usage of the feature increased?
  • Ideally you would want to a/b tested different implementations and optimize based on the results

How was the term born ?

While building our startup(kilometer.io) which was intended to be an analytics tool for product managers, we talked with some of the best product managers in order to find out how they do “product analytics”.

We quickly realized that great product managers are building great product not because of analytics, but because of the actions they take as a result of analytics.

We digged deeper in order to find out what were those actions.
We were amazed to find same techniques were used in different industries and locations in order to constantly increase the value users are getting from a product.

Inspired by the ultra popular “Growth Hacking” term, we decided to call the product managers who use those modern, data-driven, innovative, super-effective techniques “Product Hackers” and the process of using them “Product Hacking”


Building a platform for “Code-less Product Hacking”

Great products are built using “Product Hacking” techniques, however the amount of effort and development resources required to implement even some of the techniques is huge.

Until today only the reach and famous companies could implement “Product hacking” by developing in-house solutions and sticking different 3rd party services together.

We at Kilometer.io believe that every product manager/product team should be able to do “Product Hacking” right here right now! 
In order to make it possible our goal is to allow “Product Hacking” without involving developers or writing code.

Feeling like a Product Hacker” ?

Join our journey and give Kilometer.io a try.

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