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5 pillars of an effective Product Strategy

The word “Strategy” is often used or misused differently in different meeting rooms. Same goes with Product Management, maybe referred to as the process of chasing a list of feature requests, or as an Agile Product Owner, etc.

Here I am trying to write on “Product Strategy”, which on combination can mean lot different across various discussion tables. For simplicity I will first define what I am referring to as a “Product Strategy”.

I would define Product Strategy as an overall execution plan that acts as a foundation to a Product Roadmap. A product strategy can be interim between an overall vision and a list of prioritized features or a release plan.

So what constitutes an effective Product Strategy? Here we go! 5 pillars of an effective Product Strategy.

Vision

The overall vision forms the base of your Product Strategy. This is a major reason why simply chasing a list of feature requests isn’t enough for success. Vision is not just a fancy statement, but realization of the leadership vision is what your product needs to be measured against. Yes! You might be too much into your conversion metrics, making those fine design changes and pushing the conversions inch by inch. But is that going to grow your business more than a sound vision?

User Needs

Yes, I have been sarcastic on the feature requests, and I still am. You need to be your target user yourself or you need to be really close to your target users. Understand their problems, their actual pain points. At a Product Strategy level, think of those broad areas that can make your user’s life much better. A big pain point is an equally big product opportunity.

Competition

Competitors are the biggest source for learning. Learn from their success and learn from their mistakes. What is the strategy your competitors are adopting? What is the market they are targeting. Go beyond direct competitors, think about those substitute products, that quenches your customer’s need. How do you plan to differentiate? How do you safe guard yourself from new entrants? Can you create barriers to entry or switching costs for your customers?

Internal Competence

Yes, you want to implement that cool Natural language processing or you want to provide the best quality at the lowest cost. But you need to deal with the fact that this is not going to work out. Think about your tech competence, what kind of products can you be good at. Think about your operational competence, with what promises can you delight your customer. This is going to be the base for your differentiation strategy.

Trends

You need to stay ahead in the technology adoption curve, you can’t be a laggard. Look at the latest trends in your industry or in technology at large, hunt for what can be best for you. You need to understand the costs and the value add, what would really make sense for you. You might as well want proven concepts or trends, rather than something which can be a big gamble. But don’t be a laggard! make the move.

Thanks for reading, let me know your candid views, feedbacks, suggestions or corrections.

Cheers!

Image courtesy – http://www.pinnaclepr.net/services/communications-strategy/

Originally posted on my LinkedIn Profile – https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/5-pillars-effective-product-strategy-mohammed-jamil-nasir?trk=mp-reader-card

Mohammed Jamil Nasir
Nasir manages Products, by providing business oriented technology solutions. He is at the center of discussions ranging from a long-term vision or competitive strategy, or improving business processes, or a client demo, or the right marketing strategy, to, project delivery commitments, or improving UX, or technical architecture, or recruiting developers. He has a Global MBA from S P Jain, Engineering in Computer Science, 6 years of work experience and a flair for writing & poetry.
http://rockstarpm.com/
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