I enjoyed reading Kate Gallo’s overview of the role of Product Analysts. It caused me to reflect on work I did regarding very similar roles when I was the Head of Performance and Data Analysis at the UK Government Digital Service.
Back in 2014 I reviewed the roles we had that worked with agile teams to provide data and insight and decided on a rebrand from Product Analyst to Performance Analyst. As a community, we felt that product analyst didn’t adequately describe our role. In other departments colleagues had job titles such as Digital Analyst and Data Analyst. We also needed a title that would appeal to job applicants.
There was, and still is, no perfect job title for the role, but I wanted keywords that would help with recruitment, but especially to emphasise to product managers and delivery managers what the role was about. It’s not just metrics and dashboards, but a fundamental role in helping teams work out ‘what good looks like’ and how to measure it; ie how is your product performing?
“A performance analyst works with digital and other data sources to derive actionable information and insight for product owners.”
In 2017 the UK Government published the Digital, Data and Technology Profession Capability Framework and I was lead author for the Performance Analyst role. As part of this process, we workshopped role requirements and skills at different levels of seniority. The job title stuck, however, and is now used more widely across central government and in other organisations.
What about today?
Four years on, I thought I’d look at the relative popularity of the job titles again, starting with Google Trends:
And looking at jobs available on Linkedin:
|Job title||Number of roles|
So what do I think today?
|Data analyst||Too generic|
|Digital analyst||In the ball park, but very often in-real-life or non-digital product data needs to be brought in and analysed – even for digital products.|
|Performance analyst||Has a focus on performance and KPIs, but in a wider domain, the job title can be associated with sport science. Also analysts working in the NHS or local government.|
|Product analyst||Definitely in the ball park, and Kate Gallo covers this well in her post under business acumen and asking the right questions.|
|Web analyst||It’s not 2001!|
On balance, Performance Analyst and Product Analyst work, but from experience, teams often struggle to work out how to measure performance – so it’s good to have it baked into the title.