April 30

Building a Product Strategy from the Ground Up

The following insights were gleaned from a presentation at INDUSTRY given by Aurélie de Sainte Preuve of Seenit. Download Product Management TACTICS eBook for more.

What happens when a company grows and the products expand? As a product leader, what are you to do when you’re faced with creating a product strategy from scratch?

Product strategy is a cycle that starts with creating before moving onto advocacy, iteration, data collection, and curation. The creation and advocacy make up the roadmap. The other three steps come from the implementation of the product in the marketplace.

When you do set an initial strategy for your product for your team, remember to ensure you are constantly communicating and mapping KPIs to success metrics and regularly holding strategy check-ins with all stakeholders. Everyone needs the focus of well-mapped KPIs and it’s critical that all team members are on the same page.

Even the best plan needs to evolve as markets change, though. Talk to customers regularly and understand their struggles. That helps you ensure the product you’re creating is worthwhile right now.  Your strategy should have room to change and iterate as you learn more about your customer and the competitive marketplace.

To that end, don’t build a 12-month roadmap based off of that product strategy. The hardened nature of a defined calendar roadmap can actually stifle creativity. Plus, since the market will constantly evolve, there’s little use. Instead, use information you gather from stakeholders, clients, and your team to define the “North Star” for the year — and regularly check in and create a path for getting to that North Star.

As you advocate for your creation, realize you have internal and external audiences. The internal audience begins with your team and extends to the company’s leadership and the other teams within the organization. The external audience is made up by clients, your corporate board, and investors.  Every one of these audiences has different goals in mind and their input will be based on those goals.  Keep these different motivations in mind, though, and remember that you’re ultimately building for customers who are willing to pay for your products.  Even still, your strategy is likely to be impacted and influenced by every one of these groups and their motivations, so go into it understanding and accepting that.

To view Aurélie’s full presentation, visit https://productcollective.com/building-product-strategy-ground/.

Mike Belsito

About the author

Mike Belsito is a startup product and business developer who loves creating something from nothing. Mike is the Co-Founder of Product Collective which organizes INDUSTRY, one of the largest product management summits anywhere in the world. For his leadership at Product Collective, Mike was named one of the Top 40 influencers in the field of Product Management. Mike also serves as a Faculty member of Case Western Reserve University in the department of Design and Innovation, and is Co-Host of one of the top startup podcasts online, Rocketship.FM. Prior to Product Collective, Mike spent the past 12 years in startup companies as an early employee, Co-Founder, and Executive. Mike's businesses and products have been featured in national media outlets such as the New York Times, The Atlantic, CNN, NPR, and elsewhere. Mike is also the Author of Startup Seed Funding for the Rest of us, one of the top startup books on Amazon.


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