A couple weeks ago, Procore Product Manager Chris Karcher and UX Researcher Zaira Tomayeva shared how their product and engineering squads work with their data teams to discover useful insights that inform how they build their web-based application.
This week, we’ll take a look at how project management software company Procore strives to maintain a data-informed culture by using both data and intuition to guide their work.
Data-driven companies let data alone motivate decisions, while data-informed companies use data and intuition together. Data checks intuition, while intuition drives people to seek the context behind data.
Procore combines both quantitative data and qualitative feedback for a data-informed approach to their decision-making process. Instead of relying only on the numbers, the company considers their users’ goals and perspectives in order to better understand the trends they uncover in the data. Let’s look at how Chris and Zaira use both data and intuition in their work.
Finding the right balance between quantitative and qualitative data
The right tools can reveal important patterns and trends in your user data, but to get the full context around why a cohort of users behave a certain way, it’s valuable to have a way to dig deeper down to the individual user. With their research-driven backgrounds, Chris and Zaira understand the importance of complementing the trends and patterns they see in their data with the feedback they get directly from a person who uses their product.
INTERANA: When it comes to making critical product decisions, do you find that you tend to use quantitative data, qualitative user feedback, or a combination of both? How do you go about your decision-making process?
CHRIS: I guess it would depend on the question. If you're able to look at event data and see that, for example, one action is the most popular or the most frequently taken, and then you reach out to three or four people and they tell you why that is the most popular thing. I need to do that every single day of my job. You can use both qualitative and quantitative findings to build a story around why something is happening.
ZAIRA: We also use FullStory whenever we can, and a lot of times we use FullStory with Interana. It's great because you can track down exactly when things happened, and then see why they happened. For example, if there are errors or anything like that. You can see everything they do on a page.
When they spot odd patterns in data, they use FullStory, a session playback tool that lets Procore see exactly what users are doing on Procore’s pages. Combined with Interana, FullStory helps the research team get a more complete picture of user behavior.
CHRIS: If they're encountering issues or repeating patterns of unexpected behavior, I'll just get on the phone with them. It's really just about better understanding what are they trying to do.
Digging deeper through exploratory behavioral analytics
With Interana’s exploratory behavioral analytics, Procore can dive into cohorts of users that exhibit a certain behavior and analyze individuals who seem like outliers. Take Kyle, for example.
INTERANA: What sort of anomalies or outliers have you found with Interana?
CHRIS: We found out there were some guys that are creating 200 logs a day, which is insane. So we went onsite to Arizona and I met one of those guys. His name is Kyle and he has this stack of individual subcontract daily reports that he, as the general contractor, has to put into our daily log tool, because there’s no way for the subcontractors to enter in those logs into the tool directly themselves. We then start seeing a trend with all the people that do the same thing, they all have that problem. It becomes an opportunity for improvement basically. When we showed Kyle the new stuff we were working on, he was like, "Oh my god, this is going to change my life."
INTERANA: Did you create a new feature to address his issue?
CHRIS: Yeah. In that case, I had a hypothesis that was the case. I figured these people will have an opinion on this new feature that I want to build, because they're the anomalies. They'll have feedback.
Unlike other data tools, Interana can drill down to individual users. Many tools rely on delivering reports with summaries and aggregate metrics, but outliers like Kyle can skew results and obscure opportunities for product improvement.
The ability to deeply explore behavioral trends and dig into specific cohorts, on the other hand, can reveal outliers, errors, and anomalies. With Interana, Procore was able to pinpoint Kyle and learn about his unique circumstances.
Building customer intuition through user feedback
Data alone won’t tell companies what they need to grow. Rather, Procore seeks direct feedback from top users.
INTERANA: Have you used Interana to identify power users of Procore?
ZAIRA: We definitely look for power users because those are generally the ones we want to talk to. Most of my dashboards have a top 10 users or top 10 companies or top 10 projects for that specific tool. One, we can look into our database and see how they're using it just from the tool itself, which has been really helpful. Also, we can contact them. If they're top users, they clearly know what's going on in the app, and we can ask them how a small change might change their everyday workflow.
Being data-informed means understanding customers beyond a few numbers. People have complex needs, goals, and backgrounds. Talking to users is key to understanding what they really want. For this reason, Procore prioritizes a user-centric culture; they work directly with users to build and improve the product. Through this process, they develop deep customer intuition -- combined with data, this builds a robust framework for making data-informed decisions.
Data and human perspectives support each other
When data and user perspectives point in the same direction, you know your company is following the right path.
INTERANA: If you had to pick your top couple reasons why Interana is important to your job, what would they be?
CHRIS: It makes telling a story a lot easier. You can come at it from a few different angles. You can say, for example, the reason we’re tackling this issue now is because of these three user stories. You're able to say, we've done the research, we've talked to people, the data points in the same direction. It's hard to dispute that, I think.
In a data-informed culture, data and human perspectives thrive off each other. Data supports intuition, while user feedback guides how to approach data. Chris and Zaira integrate the human element into Procore’s data by listening to their users, whether it’s to understand the context behind a certain behavioral trend or to get feedback on the product.