Data-Driven Strategy is Product Management

Satnam Singh is the Chief Product Officer, tax and trade for Thomson Reuters.


To say Satnam Singh is a strong believer in “data-driven strategy” for building products would be quite an understatement. However, the chief product officer of tax and trade for Thomson Reuters would like to call it something different: “I want to take the word ‘product management' and replace it with ‘workflow management,’ because we’re in a business of continuously driving greater efficiency into, and value from, and delight into the workflows that our customers have to do — and how can we make it easier for them to achieve those workflows.”

He finds “data-driven” very limiting, mostly due to people’s misperceptions. “Often, there’s an assumption that data-driven is about being purely guided by the numbers, and that leaves no space for imagination or creativity — and that’s not how I see it,” he says. “To me, data-driven in the context of building products is about the fundamental concept of learning about the jobs to be done by our customers: their workflows, their challenges that they’re facing in doing those jobs, understanding where our products are helping them meet those needs, and where the opportunities are to fill the gaps or create new, innovative, transformational experiences that create the light.”

Satnam does have advice for employing a successful data-driven strategy, though, and it’s to always start with the end in mind, then work backward: “What is that one single metric that product managers should have top of their mind’ To me, it’s about the adoption or usage of the product. So you work backward from that, and you create a line of sight all the way back to where you need to plan and the data points you need there.”

Keeping the end in mind is a thread that runs through most of Satnam’s success. Glean more of his advice — including the actual processes he uses to ensure successful products and happy customers — on this episode of This Is Product Management.

Download the transcript

Here are some highlights: 

  • Why UNC is better than Duke
  • Replacing the term “data-driven”
  • Two parts of a PM’s role
  • Three aspects of experience a PM should consider
  • The wonder of Encanto



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