Itamar Rogel

How does player feedback impact product decisions?

How does player feedback impact product decisions and how yo choose what feedback to implement?

Hello and welcome to Affogata’s podcast: Let’s talk customer feedback. We had the pleasure of hosting Rizwana Rahman, Technical lead product manager at Intel.

Her career started as an engineer. Her interest to leverage her engineering, analytical and creative skills led her to opportunities where she saw the products at the cusp of engineering, design, product, and marketing end. She has had the privilege of experiencing different industries including automotive, finance, appliances, healthcare, and gaming as she was given opportunities at Siemens, Barclays Wealth Americas, GE, Sony, and now Intel. Each of these experiences is super valuable to her as she learned at each of these organizations about product development, processes, and how customer needs are met.

How does player feedback impact product decisions?

Talking more about her current gig, she is currently a Technical Lead Product Manager in the Gaming Graphics and Product section of Advanced Graphics Group at Intel.

Gaming is evolving really quickly, and Intel is at the forefront of that change.

She is also on the Advisory Council for the Executives programs at California State University. The council is composed of a diverse, innovative and extremely well-connected network of top executives. This council helps CSU’s value to build the business community by preserving and enhancing the reputation of executive education through strategic reviews, offering expert guidance to faculty and students, and promoting the program goals of linking industry to academia.

For large enterprises, product development, revision, and improvement is a never-ending process. New features are constantly being rolled out, bugs are being identified and eliminated, and tweaks are applied to make each product as easy to use and valuable as possible.

But it can be challenging to bridge the gaps between the product team, who are ideating and innovating, and the end-users themselves, who encounter friction as they use the products and can spot room for improvement. How can the analysis of customer feedback aid with this?


What will you listen to in this podcast?


1. Get to know Rizwana Rahman, what she does now at Intel, what she did in the past as a product manager and how customer and player feedback influences her day-to-day job.


2. Rizwana shares the various methodologies she utilizes to gather and analyze customer feedback to implement on new products or features.


3. The importance of utilizing also qualitative feedback and not only quantitative data when analyzing what customers want.


4. What is the agile methodology, how it is crucial for product teams nowadays, and how does customer feedback help with being agile.


5. A conversation about Rizwana’s past role at PlayStation, improvements made in the performance of PS5 apps with the use of player feedback, and players’ perspectives.





Host from Affogata:


How does customer feedback influence the day-to-day of a technical product manager?

Rizwana Rahman, Technical lead product manager at Intel.


In a nutshell, customer feedback provides a compass for making and producing a product that will help the actual needs of the customers.

Customer feedback does help the technical product managers in every stage of the product lifecycle. If the product is in the market and is newly released, then it helps them assess the priorities for bug fixes or feature development. The feedback adds extra data points to determine the severity of the bugs and how quickly the fix needs to be released. It gives you a good balance to prepare an over-the-air update and the ongoing feature development work for the next release.

If the technical product managers have their KPIs tied to the responses from the feedback then it also helps them course correct their plan accordingly for the upcoming features. If the product is in ideating/innovation stage, then it is the perfect time to inculcate the solutions to solve the pain points of the customers. This helps in holistically thinking about the roadmap and how we are planning the feature releases over a period of time.


Host from Affogata:


Product managers tend to combine various methods of gathering customer feedback when working on product development. Can you share with us some examples that you find crucial to utilize when developing new products or features?

Rizwana Rahman, Technical lead product manager at Intel.


For new feature development or new product introductions, the best example of gathering customer feedback is to observe and interact with your customer which is the user of the product/service. The customers are not always the consumers or the users. For example, parents buy laptops for their kids and they are the customers but the consumers or users are the kids.


In situations where observations are possible, it helps more than survey results. You get a first-hand experience. During my work at General Electric, I would observe how the technicians used the software application to diagnose appliances in the consumer’s home and that helped me think about features that can make their work easy.

To emphasize the importance of it I will give you an example of Indra Nooyi, one of the most celebrated CEOs of PepsiCo. This was from one of her interviews. In order to study the businesses in the key markets and the need to tailor the products, the business models, and people practices in the local market, she traveled and spent two weeks in China. She went to consumers’ homes and visited with both younger and older people there, trying to understand how they live, what they think about products, and what PepsiCo should be doing differently as a company to address how to develop a product in a country that would be right for that country.


Host from Affogata:


Quantitative data is extremely important, but sometimes people may forget about the qualitative side. What do you think about this? In which ways do you listen to your customers’ needs?


Rizwana Rahman, Technical lead product manager at Intel.


Quantitative data is good since it makes the results measurable. However, the qualitative data add a description and adds more context to the feedback. This can also help understand how customers feel about the product/experience and why they felt a certain way about the satisfaction or what really happened when they considered their experience a disaster.

So, by making the feedback not just quantitative but also qualitative it helps get a complete picture of the valuable data. This makes the collected data have more relevancy and veracity.


Coming to the last part of your question about how to listen to customer needs:

As I conducted surveys, I would include questions around reasoning instead of stopping at closed-ended questions like yes or no or multiple choice answers. I realize the surveys should be simple so that it is easier for customers to fill in. Although I always considered a survey list complete if it is both quantitative and qualitative so that you are collecting both the what’s and the why’s of the feedback. I have incorporated the same principles as I interviewed the users or focus groups. And yes, it is always good to incentivize the people who have given the feedback. If they have given feedback, it means they are showing faith that there can be an improvement.

I have always found it easy to connect with the user when I respond back to their feedback or issue by acknowledging the reach out, thanking them, and by assuring them in what ways their feedback or issue will be addressed and by what time.


Host from Affogata:


We understand there are millions of customer feedback data points and although many of those are extremely relevant for your product, how do you know what type of feedback to listen to and which one is not relevant at the moment or at all?


Rizwana Rahman, Technical lead product manager at Intel.


All feedback is good feedback to collect. Step one is to do your best to collect it right, as in collecting the whole picture – both quantitative and qualitative and separate the noise out of the data set. Step two, map feedback to categories (for example – personas, bugs, and future features). Step three, go back to your vision statement, and prioritize the feedback which aligns with it and needs attention. My personal thoughts, do not discard the feedback which didn’t fall in that bucket. This will help restore some valuable ideas that might be useful later. Step four, bring out your KPIs and start mapping the selected feedback to determine your priorities of what needs to be implemented or fixed now.


Talking about fixing bugs, I always used the philosophy of priority and severity to determine a prioritized list of bugs to be fixed.


Host from Affogata:


We know that nowadays the agile methodology is crucial for product teams. How does customer feedback help with being agile? Does it optimize product teams’ development and optimization of products?


Rizwana Rahman, Technical lead product manager at Intel.


Hmm! Does customer feedback help being agile? It works hand in hand.

If you are agile, then it’s easier to incorporate the customer feedback and as the product development gets influenced by customer feedback, the team has to follow agile methodology to show iterative improvements.

Customer feedback advocates the need to be agile if the product has just been released and the bugs need to be fixed or a customer satisfaction area needs to be addressed.


During the PS5 launch, I observed how teams were knocking off fixes day in and out to provide the best experience to the users. This wouldn’t have been possible if the development teams were not agile.


In the case of a new product launch, as the product phases from MVP to following iterations, the continued customer feedback gives you a lot more to add to the innovation. And to remove the bounds from the innovation, the product development cycles need to have agility.

Yes, customer feedback does optimize product teams’ development and optimization of products because it helps address the customer pain points as of NOW and as it’s relevant to the KPIs so that the product follows its vision.


Host from Affogata:


We know that before working at Intel, you worked at PlayStation and led crucial programs for the PS5 Launch. Can you tell us about your position at PlayStation?


Rizwana Rahman, Technical lead product manager at Intel.


Yes, it was great to be a part of the PS5 launch where the product release was awaited by millions of people in the world. As a Staff Technical Program Manager, I was leading and owned the development and delivery of a software service on the PS5 console which enhances performance and time to interact of the major PS5 apps. This was a beautiful experience where numerous teams from different cultures, geo locations, and leadership styles were all aiming to produce one product that everyone in the world was eagerly awaiting. I still remember the first time I experienced haptic feedback as I played Astro and the response rate on the games and on the apps was amazing.

Post the launch, I was provided an opportunity to own the post-purchase experience on the game hub.


Host from Affogata:


Also, we saw that you led improvements in the performance of PS5 apps. Could you tell us a bit more about this and what it meant from the player’s perspective?


Rizwana Rahman, Technical lead product manager at Intel.


From a player’s perspective, the idea was to provide a seamless experience as they traverse through their journey on the apps. This meant improving the rate of data availability which in turn helped the response rate for each user click.


As I was leading my first program there, I worked with numerous global teams in various timezones who worked super hard to impact and improve the experiences like game title-based information, game news, UGC based information being provided to users in shorter periods of time as they interact with different sections of the apps. We had KPIs around how quickly we wanted to present that data and several teams were coming together to make that happen on their respective apps. That was possible because we had a very focused leadership group.

Host from Affogata:


And finally, what do you think about the fact that companies are giving so much power to consumers nowadays? Do you agree with companies becoming more customer-obsessed?

Rizwana Rahman, Technical lead product manager at Intel.


Yes, I do agree with the thought of being customer-obsessed. Time and data have shown that such companies displayed higher revenue growth, customer retention, and employee engagement.


It all starts with anticipating what the customer needs, even in the absence of a clear articulation of how that need can be served.

And anticipating that at times needs mere observation followed by research insights, surveys, and interaction with the customers.


At General Electric, they had a design center where they brought in users for focus studies and observed them use the appliances. It is a proactive way of learning about the interaction and devising around providing a better experience.

As a customer, I admire how Amazon as a company is so customer obsessed. In my experience with, it was easy to know what product/products can serve my need, it provides you recommendations of similar items, you receive price comparisons for various options, and not only that the service is great in case there is a lack of satisfaction on my end. The service calls are less than a minute away with no hold times, my issues are resolved and most of the time I am incentivized for being a loyal customer and returns are as simple as a drop-off at a local Whole Foods store while I am there for my groceries. That provides a glimpse of an excellent E2E user journey with the various scenarios covered.

Talking about anticipating customer needs, it is usually a journey for a company by improving its products and expanding on its product offerings. I recently read the book Shoe Dog By Phil Knight the founder of Nike where he talks about his journey.


Nike formerly called Blue Ribbon, in its initial journey, represented Onitsuka, a Japanese shoe company. You could find the importance of how customer feedback is used to reinvent the shoe line and how it helped Onitsuka to make better shoes with foundational design that set sales records changing the face of the industry.


This was possible because of Phil Knight’s co-founder, Bill Bowerman, who was also his field coach. Bill improved the shoe designs by sharing his coaching observations with Onitsuka. Another impactful person in that story is Jeff Johnson who with his extraordinary salesmanship and passion for the product contributes to the shoe designs by incorporating customer feedback he would receive, as he made his sales. So customer obsession and valuing customer feedback are needed ingredients for a successful product.


Host from Affogata:


Rizwana, I want to thank you so much for taking the time to participate in today’s podcast. It was super interesting to learn about your take on the importance of customer feedback and how to utilize it in product development and optimization.


Rizwana Rahman, Technical lead product manager at Intel.


Thank you Natalie. This was really fun to connect with the audience through you.

Host from Affogata:


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