Last Tuesday, 08-May-07, at the Emetrics Summit, Jeff Veen finally got to talk about his work for the past year. Ever since Google purchased Measure Map from Adaptive Path, Jeff and his team have been designing the new release of Google Analytics. Lou Rosenfeld was in the audience and dashed off an email to me saying, “Jeff put up the Google Analytics mental model.” Really?!? I had no idea that he had made a mental model, so I wrote to him to find out what he thought of the process.
Jeff said the diagram helped him in two ways. First, the time it took to listen to people about the things they were trying to figure out gave him room to absorb the difficulty of the problem and understand all the perspectives, which in turn allowed him to design the right tool. Second, Jeff said that the diagram was a good political tool, “But not in the sense of ‘users said these things, so we should design this way.’ It was much more, ‘Wow, these measure map guys have a rigorous process for something we don’t understand at all. Let’s give them whatever they need.’”
The first benefit he mentions could stand alone as the whole reason to make a mental model. Yet, the political benefit, the fact that managers saw the process as something that would shine light on a poorly understood problem set, could be more the important benefit.
Either way, congratulations Jeff and the Google Analytics Team!