Product Strategy: Why companies that do this make great products

Why is this important?

Having a solid and clear product strategy sets the foundations for the company. Not just for the product team, but for the entire company.

Just like baking a cake, once you decided on what cake you want, lets say a cheesecake, you then know you need flour, cheese, sugar (okay I’ve never really baked a cheesecake so that’s all the ingredients I know) and how you will be using each of these ingredients.

You need a Strategy before coming up with a Plan.

This would then form the basis for planning a product roadmap and subsequent releases for product managers.
On top of that, it would also set the direction for the rest of the company to understand:

1) Marketing and sales will understand product’s benefits, and unique selling proposition
2) Customer success will better understand the product’s use cases and how it will help the customer’s frustrations
3) Developers will understand the vision of product they are building
5) Marketing will know who are the right customers to sell the product to and how to price it
6) Product Owners will know what to prioritize on the product roadmap

When I first started off as a Product Manager, I often confused Product Strategy and Product Planning.

Product Strategy is a system of achievable goals and visions that work together to align the team around desirable outcomes for both the business and your customers.

Melissa Perri

Starting your Product Strategy

Understand the company’s vision / mission

A successful product that will be accepted by stakeholders always reflects a company’s vision and mission. Lets have a look at the statements of some of South East Asia’s biggest tech companies.

Vision: Serve 300 million customers, create millions of jobs in the eCommerce ecosystems, Power real, profitable SMEs across SEA by 2030.
Mission: Accelerating Progress in Southeast Asia through commerce & technology

Vision: Online shopping that is accessible, easy and enjoyable
Mission: Create a simple and secure mobile marketplace for everyone to buy and sell, anytime and anywhere

Vision: To drive Southeast Asia forward by creating economic empowerment for everyone
1) To design products and services that are affordable for people of all income levels
2) To create income and business opportunities for all our partners
3) To create a trusted platform of services with high standards on safety and information security

Understanding the WHY sets the high-level view of where the company is going towards. Does your product’s overall vision fit within your company’s vision and mission statement?

What are the current business goals?

Now that we know where we’re headed, what are the immediate business goals that need to be achieved? What OKRs or KPIs have been set by your company as a whole for this year?

1) Increasing 15% revenue for merchants by December
2) Doubling use of our search tool by June 2021
3) Improving screentime by 15%

This sets the objective that your product would need to achieve by a clear date. Remember to use SMART goals.

Sometimes these objectives can be rather big and take a long time to get there. Break it down into smaller mini-goals that can be measured more frequently on a monthly or even weekly basis.

This is one of my favourite Product Strategy Canvas by Produx Labs

Now you may be wondering, this looks more like a business strategy rather than a product strategy. And you’re right, product management is all about solving our customer’s problems to reach our business objectives. Building a bunch of features with no clear strategy is a route for disaster.

Once you’ve set your Product Strategy, you can then begin your Ideation stage to build your Product Roadmap.

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