This blog post is based on the recent virtual session conducted by The Product Folks with Vikrama Dhiman, Head of Product at Gojek (LinkedIn, Twitter).
Here’s is a glimpse of what we’ll be learning:
Is it about building your roadmap? Is it about the prioritization of your backlog that you already have? Or is it about the features you are building and want to build in the future? If your answer to all of these questions is YES, then you are partially true because Product Strategy is significantly more than this. Product Strategy is your vision for your product, stating the where, what, how, and why.
Before we dive in, we should clarify one common mistake PMs make - To get into heated discussions around what features to build before everything else. Why is this a mistake? Because features discussion should not be your focus at an early stage. It comes much later. First, you need to establish a solid foundation that will help you see the problems clearly. Phew! Now that this misconception is clear (hopefully!). Let's take a look at how to build Product Strategy.
Product Strategy can be broadly divided into “Strategy Definition” & "Product Definition." Strategy definition comes from answering basic questions, and Product definition comes from Customers or Users. The power of Product Strategy comes from what you define as well as what you exclude. Strategy definition is all about answering some basic questions like:
Let's imagine a scenario. Your boss comes and tells you that you are traveling from Bangalore to Delhi tomorrow. What is the first thought that comes to your mind? I, for sure, would ask the following:
Once you agree on the above, I will get into further details like 'What clothes to pack', 'Who will book my tickets', etc. You know the nitty-gritty details.
This process of asking some basic questions is the definition of Strategy. One of the simplest ways to achieve this is the usage of Strategy Definition templates (Vision, Goals & Initiatives).
Essential questions to start with:
If you think Product Strategy is this, then you are wrong. The missing link here is Customers/Users. If we include our Customers/Users into our Product Strategy, then it would look somewhat like this.
You can only launch a successful product when you have a product team that owns your product strategy. Communication between your team members is more important than your team skills. You have to create an environment for them so that they all automatically become allies with others. Moreover, you should not treat Product Strategy as an event. You have to interact with different types of stakeholders and use their inputs. You have to be more aware, mindful, conscious, and deliberate in every conversation.
Here’s how a typical six-month product strategy would look like:
Always remember that “Ears either bleed or are shut”. That means you have to repeat your message often before people agree to what you are saying. You should not take it for granted that everybody understands your strategy and obeys it as soon as you communicate it with an excellent presentation or an interesting story. You must use all possible channels of communication to make them understand. You can do this in 3 simple ways, as mentioned below.
Let us know how you are strategizing your product and what frameworks you are using in the comments below or let me know personally on LinkedIn, Twitter. Also, do visit our YouTube channel for more content around Product management.
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