How We Learned to Be a Data Driven with GoPractice Simulator

    Last year, the Plesk Program Manager team got the opportunity to take the GoPractice online course ! Simulator by Oleg Yakubenkov, and now we want to share our impressions.

    Who are we?

    Plesk's Program Manager can be most accurately described as a “technical” product manager. This means that in addition to the actual product competencies, each PM has a technical background and is immersed in the subject area so that in general terms it understands the specifics of working with hosting, cloud services and web development. Some of us are more focused on working directly with product features, while the other is more concerned with analytics and statistics. I myself combine both of these roles.
    This review will include my personal impressions of the GoPractice !, Simulator and the feedback that my colleagues shared with me.

    What is a GoPractice Simulator! ?

    The simulator is an online course in a game format. The player has to transform into a novice product analyst, getting a job in an ambitious start-up, which has set the goal of creating a new generation messenger and a complete redistribution of the market.
    The course is aimed at a wide range of users: IT specialists, business executives and those who are already engaged in product analytics, but would like to streamline their knowledge and pump out decision-making skills based on data. In Plesk, in addition to several product managers, a community manager and PM team leader were trained.

    How is the course arranged?

    Structurally, the course is divided into chapters, which can only be completed sequentially: moving from simple to complex, from calculating Retention and forecasting the growth of the daily audience of the application to solving more specific issues: finding a channel for attracting customers, the advisability of buying traffic on social networks and choosing a hypothesis in which more likely to invest effort and money. Parallel to the development of the plot, step by step formulas are introduced to calculate the corresponding metrics. The capacious blocks of the theory are interspersed with the stories of real market players and very vital messages from the virtual bosses.


    What did you like

    • A distinctive feature of the course is the simulator format, which allows you to solve practical cases in a playful way. The starting point of the process is a letter of invitation to the final interview for the position of analyst at Instachat - "a company that will soon change the way we communicate." Spoiler - they will accept you. Then everything is as in life - communication with colleagues, releases and concept changes, decision-making in conditions of uncertainty and attempts to find this certainty :) The plot is worked out well - it won’t be boring.

    • Qualitative theory - written in simple language, well structured. New concepts and metrics are introduced and explained as they appear in the game plot, and then run into practice.

    • Another big plus of the course is the opportunity to work in the Amplitude analytics system. During the training, many metrics needed to be analyzed there, and it turned out that cohort analysis, event segmentation and the conversion funnel are very simple!

    • The simulator as a platform works well on various devices. One of our colleagues took part of the course on the bus from a mobile phone :)

    • A special mention deserves the Online community on Facebook, where the author of the course personally answers questions and suggestions. There you can not only discuss tasks with other participants in the course, but also communicate on professional topics and share insights with colleagues in the workshop.


    What you need to be prepared in order not to be disappointed

    • Plan your time - most of us took more than a month to complete the course. 90+ hours, can be compared with a good RPG.

    • The course is focused on mobile analytics. Many metrics are rigidly tied to the specifics of mobile applications and it turned out to be not so simple to apply them in our work with a boxed product. The general principles of product analytics, of course, are the same for everyone, but mobile analysts will benefit more, since they are given specific tools ( SensorTower , App Annie ) and examples of working with them.

    • Some questions, as it seemed to us, are focused on “guess.” Or they require a significant investment of time to study the issue, googling, etc., which you definitely do not want to do. However, judging by the posts published on Facebook, this problem has already been dealt with and some of the questions have been changed.


    General impression

    Perhaps the main thing that gave the course to me personally was the understanding that the choice of methodology and tools for assessing the success of the product (and each individual feature) is not a stone at the crossroads, before which the analyst makes a choice without the right to make a mistake. DAU / MAU, ARPU, LTV, Retention is just an opportunity to get a formalized numerical answer to the questions that you ask your product. There is no question so far - it makes no sense to choose a metric.
    The course itself is a great example of testing hypotheses and research based on feedback, anti-delusion, and error handling. Based on the course, you can create a logical algorithm for yourself that will help to correctly measure the product from the very beginning.


    My colleagues also noted that in the process of training they came to understand new tools for them - for some it is a cohort analysis, for others it’s working with Amplitude, others just got a more coherent logical picture of the process of working with data. The course clearly divides metrics into growth metrics and product metrics - this understanding was very useful to us. Theory creates in the head a system for working with metrics; disparate facts add up to the big picture, and practice helps to consolidate the knowledge gained.

    To summarize, we can confidently say that the format and benefits of 'GoPractice!' has no competitors in the Russian product analytics market yet. The course will undoubtedly be useful to everyone who is already engaged in product analytics, and to those who have just begun their careers in this field.


    After completing the course, each of us received an appropriate certificate. As already mentioned, at the time of training, the final score was influenced by errors in questions on guessing, which was somewhat offensive. At the same time, open questions “to think” did not count. But the main thing, as we all know from the university bench, is not grading, but the knowledge that, after graduation, will always remain in your luggage, and the pleasure of the process :)

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