All great products start with a clear strategy that is customer and market-driven. Strategy not only ensures that you work on what matters. It is also essential so that you can communicate what matters to your team and organization.
How many times have you heard whispers from folks who question your work because they don't understand the "why"? Consider your strategy and plan the "why."
The main purpose of a strategy is to provide the product manager with direction so they can guide their product team and manage the business over the planning period. Strategies also help product managers communicate the products' value to cross-functional teams and key stakeholders, who want to know how products will achieve high-level business objectives.
A product strategy is the foundation of a product lifecycle, and its execution plan for further development. As they develop their product strategy, product leaders zero in on target audiences and define key product and customer attributes.
Strategy is comprised of three parts: Vision, Goals, and Initiatives.
A good vision describes who the customers are, what customers need, and how you plan to deliver a unique offering. The vision includes details on the market opportunity, target customers, positioning, a competitive analysis, and the go-to-market plan.
Goals define what you want to achieve in the next quarter, year, or 18 months. Here are a few examples:
Initiatives are the high-level efforts that will help you achieve your goals. Here are some examples:
You can confirm your strategy as you plan your roadmap, define your features, and prioritize your work. To visualize strategy using your roadmap, it helps if you link releases and features to initiatives and goals. At Aha! we call this the "red thread of strategy" — and believe that it's essential to the roadmapping process.
Is your strategy already laid out on your roadmap? If so, analyze your roadmap at a high level to discover gaps. You should see relationships between product lines, products, goals, initiatives, and releases all on one screen. This process helps you find "orphan" goals or initiatives.
A great strategy starts with a clear product plan, a vision and a canvas that explains how customer and market forces shape the product's direction. That's why you must visualize your strategy and relationships — but the first step is to have a north star that tells where your product is headed.