A data product is a product that uses data to deliver value to the users. It can be an e-commerce product that makes data available to consumers to compare and buy products, or it can be an analytical engine that interprets data to derive insights for users, and can be embedded within other products or services.

It may seem that data science and data engineering skills are necessary to build data products, but that is just a small part of the story. Building a data product also requires skills that are common to building any other product. Data scientists and engineers are often good at the technical skills but miss out on essential skills like product strategy, design etc that are essential to build a data product.

Here are some of the skills that are absolutely necessary to build a data product.

Product strategy:

What is the exact problem that the product is trying to solve? Are there other products in the market that can solve the problem? what is missing? How can your product fill the gap? What is the solution that you are offering to users? Do you understand your users well? Do you know what segment of the users are you targeting? Do you know how are you planning to take your product to your customers? How are you planning to get their responses early in the product development cycle? What is your budget and your execution strategy for building this product? How are you planning to raise the money for building the product? How are you planning to monetize the product and scale it further?

If you have answers to these questions, you have a product strategy in place, more or less!!

Product Prototyping and User Validation

Is your quick and dirty product catching some attention? Is it generating interest among potential users? Are they coming back to use it more often? Are they suggesting improvements? Are they asking questions?

Product Design:

Do you think you have the right features included into your product? Can these features be easily understood by the users of this product? Is the product easy to use? Are there features that will attract the users to use this product more often? Is your product visually appealing to the users? Is the product solving the purpose that it intends to solve? Is the design such that users turn into paying customers? How do you avoid misuse of the product? Does the design encourage customers to recommend the product to others? or to provide feedback about the product?

If you have answers to these and other similar questions, you got the design right, more or less!!

Product Engineering:

What does it take to build a good product? Is the product fast and efficient? Can it cater to a large number of users simultaneously? without breaking down? Is your product collecting the data points necessary to incrementally improve the product or the service? Is the product available to the customers on their own devices? Does the product work evenly across devices? Is the product producing accurate results? Are the results customised to individual users? What skills are required to build this product? Do you have the right team or skills necessary to build it?

User Engagement

How do you plan to take your product beyond the initial set of users. Are users recommending your product to others, thereby generating a network effect? Are you able to monitor the user engagement and continuously improve your product? Are you positioning your product correctly to various segments of your customers? Are you pushing your product to the customers who need it the most and when they need it the most? Are you effectively collaborating with other products in the market such that the utility of your product increases significantly through the collaboration?

If you have answers to these questions, you are all set to build a good product!! more or less!