How Can a Data-Driven Approach Improve Product ROI?

Lessons from Denise Hemke

Now, more than ever, it is important to measure a Product’s Return on Investment (ROI). Denise Hemke, Chief Product Officer (CPO) at NEOGOV, recently shared her approach to doing just that, in Part 2 of Dragonboat’s “Measuring Product ROI” Mini-Series.

With the end of the ‘ZIRP era’ in 2022, product organizations are now tasked with a critical mandate: they need to carefully evaluate both potential and existing investments to deliver better outcomes. Denise believes that product leaders must empower their teams to consistently use business case analysis and prioritization frameworks to uplevel their Product ROI.

Business Case as a Strategic Tool

Business case analysis is a valuable tool for identifying opportunities to enhance product margins and overall profitability. It acts as a beacon, clarifying the “why”, “what”, and “why now” of an investment.

Here are the steps Denise uses when applying business case as a strategic tool:

  1. Clarify the basics – Strategic investments should always begin with a business case by answering the “why”, “what”, and “why now” of the proposed investments.

“At Checkr, we started by creating business cases before making any strategic investments.”

– Denise Hemke, CPO of NEOGOV

  1. Analyze the market – Identify the target audience and the problem the product solves to ensure the initiative aligns with actual needs.
  2. Define the MVP and planning – Determine essential features without overbuilding. Plan the order of the features that will be built to be efficient and cost-effective.
  3. GTM Strategy – Decide on product introduction and the associated business model: project revenues, costs, and other financial metrics to assess potential success.

“Ideally, you want a one-to-one return on every dollar invested in the first year.”

– Denise Hemke, CPO of NEOGOV

  1. Set indicators and metrics – Define unique indicators for product health and success. Supplement with non-financial metrics to validate investment value. Denise recommends that teams aim for at least a one-to-one return on investment within the first year.
Strategic ROI - Denise demonstrates how investment decisions can be made using Dragonboat’s Outcome module.
Denise demonstrates how investment decisions can be made using Dragonboat’s Outcome Module.
  1. Regular retrospectives – Denise recommends integrating retrospective analysis into your quarterly reviews. This helps to understand if products are meeting their goals.

“The business case is not only a forward-looking tool but should also be used retrospectively to measure the accuracy of our forecasts and the efficacy of our investments.”

– Denise Hemke, CPO of NEOGOV

Prioritization Through Proven Frameworks

Beyond the large investment decisions encapsulated by business cases, there is a continuous need for prioritization across various projects and initiatives. At NEOGOV and Checkr, Denise’s teams have adopted the RICE (Reach, Impact, Confidence, and Effort) framework to guide their prioritization efforts.

“Consistency in your approach to analyzing investment opportunities is crucial.”

– Denise Hemke, CPO of NEOGOV

Here are Denise’s requirements for using ROI frameworks:

  1. Establish rules and standards – Teams must define what constitutes small, medium, or large impacts and set benchmarks for revenue and costs to ensure consistent, data-driven decisions.
  2. Quantify to reduce subjectivity – Assign numeric values to each project’s attributes to make quantifiable and less subjective decisions.
  3. Use concrete examples – Implement guidelines that include specific examples for each value to drive consistency, especially in subjective areas.
Dragonboat’s built-in prioritization frameworks enable product team decisions.

Leverage Effective Tools Like Dragonboat

Using business case analysis and prioritization frameworks helps Denise drive strategic planning, and brings consistency to each level of her product organization.

Dragonboat platform is tailor-made to help product leaders like Denise chart the path for their products. For those interested in seeing how Dragonboat can directly support the implementation of these practices, we invite you to request a demo.

Join the Movement

As we continue to explore the depths of Product ROI in our Mini-Series, we invite the product community to engage, learn, and grow with us. If you’ve missed this session, watch it on demand now.

Join us for Part 3 of our Mini-Series with Shelley Perry, Managing Director at Scalelogix Ventures. Discover techniques for optimizing Product ROI through strategic partnerships and agile leadership.

Ready to accelerate product outcomes?

Alisa Vaz

With over a decade in global product teams across Canada, China, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, and the USA, Alisa is a seasoned Product Manager with a passion for crafting tools to elevate product organizations. As a Senior Product Manager at Dragonboat, she is committed to empowering product leaders to drive business results.
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