What Amplitude’s Product Team has been up to these last 6 months
At Amplitude, we believe that we are entering the dawn of a new era; an era where rapid product innovation is the single most important driver of success for every company. We call this the product-led era, and to win in this era you must be obsessed about your customer’s pain and decentralize decision making to ship great products fast. For Amplitude’s product team, it also means helping our customers innovate faster.
Building Product is a Journey
Since the release of Amplitude 2.0 in Jan 2017, we’ve seen tremendous growth in enterprise customers adopting us to set their product strategy and execute on their vision. Through this growth we’ve had the opportunity to start working with multiple product teams from Fortune 1000 businesses. In talking with them, we’ve noticed that they all share a common problem: an inability to move fast.
One of our customers said that over 900 people in the company send and analyze product data in Amplitude. Imagine what a meal would look like with 900 cooks in the kitchen! They told us that they were often blocked because – although it might have been accurate – they didn’t understand the data points they saw in the platform and didn’t know who to ask about it.
The challenges are similar for Fortune 1000 companies across the board. Once the scale and complexity of product data increases, needs from product analytics change. There were three other problems that particularly stood out to us:
- Large consumer tech companies with millions of daily active users need to send billions of user actions to an analytics tool. They said it’s a struggle to get fast, cost efficient access to product analytics.
- B2B companies building SaaS products need tools to understand how account level behaviors drive business forward – not just user behavior.
- For all companies, the risk of missing a critical change in the product is very high – a broken sign up flow that goes unnoticed could mean millions of dollars of value lost.
Through conversations we had with many product teams, we learned that no analytics solution out there solved the hard issues. Plenty of generic solutions exist to help them track vanity metrics on dashboards, but none were sufficient to help with the scale and complexity these teams needed
Once we had identified these as some of the hardest challenges in product analytics, we set about defining the product strategy and execution plan needed to solve them.
Taxonomy | Build trust with 100% data integrity
We built Taxonomy to ensure you have perfect data clarity and quality, regardless of how many team members and disparate data sources are involved.
This is life changing for the administrators and managers of analytics, who often have to spend a lot of time explaining the small idiosyncrasies of their product data to an entire company. We are launching Taxonomy today with 3 powerful benefits:
- No guesswork – your team can view definitions and metadata exactly where they need it
- Full control – plan, stage and approve data before everyone uses it
- Codeless management – fix and transform your data on the fly
Insight | Learn and ship faster with automatic alerts
As teams grow and your product gets complex it’s impossible to check on every event. Sometimes, new releases break critical flows in your product. For instance, a new landing page with a broken sign up flow could go undiscovered for days. Insight uses machine learning to monitor for unexpected patterns in user behavior and KPIs to allow product teams to learn and react faster.
We have already seen this create incredible value for our customers who discovered errors in instrumentations, broken flows in their product and new features unexpectedly gaining traction.
Accounts | Accelerate your SaaS Product Growth
B2B product teams have specialized analytics needs but often get shortchanged by out of the box tools. Accounts accelerates growth by enabling SaaS companies to quickly and easily understand how an entire customer organization is using their products. We are launching Accounts today with two incredible benefits
- Drive Adoption – analyze all product behavior at the account level
- Get a 360º view – Sync critical third party data from Salesforce and Zendesk
Scale | Access Product Analytics for billions of user actions
When you have tens of millions of daily active users triggering billions of actions everyday, only the most scalable product analytics software works for you. While many tools like Google Analytics employ sampling for high volume analytics – the trade off on accuracy is huge and customers have no control over how much their data is sampled.
Scale leverages a proprietary dynamic sampling methodology, behavioral algorithms and user-level whitelisting to give customers like Twitter, a fast, cost efficient and extremely accurate view of user behavior over billions of actions.
Executing in Decentralized Pods
To ship these four innovative product offerings in such a short time, we decided to “practice what we preach” and adopt a decentralized squad model. So we set up 4 new “pods” – cross functional teams with a goal to identify, build and successfully launch the right solutions to these hard problems.
As we’ve scaled at Amplitude, we’ve found the best way to continue to innovate for our customers is to empower those closest to their problems – those that typically have the best understanding of the data – to act and react on their customer understanding. We’ve done that by implementing a “pod” structure, inspired by a combination of Spotify’s product development process and Amazon’s 2 pizza rule.
These pods are small groups of 3-5 full time team members and 2-3 cross functional consultants working together towards a common vision, but with the autonomy to figure out how they will achieve that goal. Through this process we have optimized each team for agility: they can iterate on backlog quickly to validate what is and isn’t working. A few examples of how we drive speed of learning into our pod process:
- Each pod establishes 2-3 Customer Development Partners (CDPs) that we meet with on a regular cadence to review in-progress work, design mocks and get feedback on the latest release. And we make sure that all team members attend (engineers, design and PMs)
- Microsprints to drive speed, iterative releases, continuous re-prioritization and flexibility
- And of course the use of product analytics data to understand engagement of our product and double down on areas to improve
The Product-Led Era is Just Beginning
There’s never been a better time to be building products than today – companies that are embracing the era of being product-led are creating some of the greatest innovations the world has ever seen. We believe that we can accelerate this change and help the world build better products by bringing science to the art of product development. Today’s launch is just an early step in that journey, and we couldn’t be more excited to help usher in this era here at Amplitude.