on survey research

We at Pragmatic Institute like to balance qualitative research from interviews with quantitative research from surveys. Every week we meet hundreds of product managers and technology executives; we hear their stories; we observe the magazines they read (such as our own Pragmatic Marketer) and what web sites they visit (such as my blog at productmarketing.com). We supplement this info with quantitative research from our annual product management survey.

Are all surveys created equal? Not according to Wharton. Read more in Polling the Polling Experts: How Accurate and Useful Are Polls These Days?

Product managers tell me that their execs don't value research. Actually I find that executives do indeed value research--it's just that they tend to value the qualitative over the quantitative. They want product managers to call face-to-face on customers while many product managers prefer to hire the work out to a third-party.

Of course, you need both. You need both stories and data. So go visit three customers and then survey a hundred. Deliver market facts to your executives in their preferred format.

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson was a founding instructor at Pragmatic Institute, a role he held for more than 15 years before he left to start Under10 Playbook. In his return to Pragmatic Institute, Steve supports the complete learning path for product teams, ensuring they are fully armed for success. 

Over the course of his career, Steve has helped thousands of companies and tens of thousands of product professionals implement product management processes. He has worked in the high-tech arena since 1981, rising through the ranks from product manager to chief marketing officer. Steve has experience in technical, sales and marketing management positions at companies that specialize in both hardware and software. In addition, he is an author, speaker and advisor on product strategy and product management.

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