Without product strategy, your execution is aimless

The music made me do it: The ultimate product strategy playlist

Sharpwitted Present: The Ultimate Product Strategy Playlist. A list of songs that embody the essence of a great Product Strategy.

So, you set the tone (#punintended) and know what the future of your product should look like (if not go check this article), and you got everybody excited about it? Now take a minute and think about how you are going to achieve the future product, who are you competing against, which are the steps you need to take, what do you aim to accomplish and which initiatives will get you there?

You managed? If so, then whoop whoop, as you have just created your product strategy!

A product strategy is a high-level plan describing what you hope to accomplish with your product and how you plan to do that. Your Product Strategy answers the questions who the product is for, how it benefits them, and what the product goals are throughout its life cycle.

If you ever find yourself or anyone involved in your product wondering why a product strategy is essential, how to create one and what a great one consists of, use the following mnemonic device in the form of a list of songs, to bring them along the journey.

Nothing beats (pun intended) a good story, supported by great music!

TL;DR

I created The Ultimate Product Strategy playlist for you, to remember yourself and those who are with you, what it takes to ensure your execution isn’t aimless. 

Or well I tried to make the ultimate playlist for it, so hey… if you got any good recommendations make sure to comment!

Creating clarity

Delivering a product is about understanding what will be done to achieve the ultimate goal, the steps to take to get there. Without them, you will probably find yourself, and those involved, stuck in the middle.

Besides having a great vision, a product strategy is all you need. It is where understanding of the competition, your goals and the initiatives to pursue come together.

The Product Strategy is at the heart of Competition, Goals and Initiatives

The product strategy, describe where we are now and where we are about to take it.

The Product Strategy. The road to get from now to later

Note that, before diving into creating your product strategy, you might want to remember to yourself who you are doing this for, who is it gonna b?

Who do we need to defeat?

To understand what it is, you need to do, to make your product more successful than it is now, it is essential to understand who your rivals are. Who are your (in-)direct competitors, what are their strengths, what are their weaknesses, how can you win, and should you even compete with them?

Product Competitors. Knowing who they are, what their strengths and weaknesses are, what to avoid when competing with them and how to win from them

To answer all these questions, Battle cards will help you. They are a quick way to provide an overview of your competitors and to see how you stack up against them in crucial areas of performance and value. When used right, they can help you become the beast and boost competitive win rates by >50%

(Commercial Break Alert: Get your free Sharpwitted battle cards templates HERE). 

What are our goals?

You know who you are competing with, now what about your squad goals? What are the Objectives to achieve, which problems do they aim to resolve, and what is the expected value it will bring over the next few years?

If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.

Develop your goals, Purpose-Driven. If you are able to link your purpose and values to the strategic direction in a way it rallies people behind them, you will have a better possibility to outperform your competitors.

Make goals forward-looking to ensure they are challenging with a lasting impact on the product.

Make them actionable and measurable, define them, so action can be taken, progress can be made and success can be measured.

Some examples of good goals for your product strategy are

  • Increase revenue by X% in a certain timeframe
  • Reduce trial Time to Value (TTV) to x Days in a certain timeframe

What is our plan to reach our goals?

Knowing who you want to defeat?
Knowing what you want to achieve?

Now it is time to create the plan. To create your plan, use product initiatives. A Product initiative is a conceptual view of a goal, describing the effort needed to carry out and achieve it. 

In other words, if for example you aim to reduce trial TTV, what is it you need to do to make that happen? 

It is time for road trippin’, it is time for connecting your objectives to your roadmap.

Sticking with the goal to reduce trial TTV, things like onboarding experience and intuitive UI can be initiatives to pursue.

In short

If there is anything to remember it is that a great product strategy, enables you and your teams to say “this is what we want and to be successful, this is how we do it!”

So what did you think about the playlist and which songs do you feel embody or capture the essence of Product strategy?

Signing-off

Klaas Hermans for Sharpwitted.Ninja

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