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Product Strategy

by StarAgile

March 27, 2020
Category Agile and Scrum


A well-planned line of attack will lead to success. What do we mean by a line of attack here? 

The tactics that an individual or a group follows to succeed in accomplishing something is called “line of attack” here. Why do we need a plan? It is because attacking will surely misfire when you go unplanned. You need to know about what you are attacking, how to attack, what is required to attack and what result you can expect. 

Does the above discussion seem vague? Let us explain to you in simple words. So far we have been talking about strategy. Yes, a structured way of getting things done. Whether offering a particular service or developing a product we need to devise a plan to bring everyone on the same page. 

That being the case, in a development atmosphere, the key success of a product owner (PO) or a product manager (PM) to deliver a thriving product to the client must have a perfect product strategy in place. Let us see what it is, why it is important and how to go about making one. 

What is it? 

The direction of the product and the expected results is called a product strategy. It is the beginning of the complete lifecycle of the product. It is nothing but the goal that the business has for the product and the steps required to accomplish the same. The goal of the organization is to develop and deliver products meeting customer expectations. Therefore it needs to plan accordingly to achieve. This high-level plan must describe the best way to make the goal put in action. 

Effective product strategy must answer the following questions 

  1. The product is designed for what purpose? 
  2. Who is the end-user? 
  3. What are their expectations? 
  4. How will this strategy help in achieving the goal? 
  5. Who are the stakeholders? 
  6. How will the company take this to successful completion? 

By identifying the answers to this question, the company can bring its goal to ground and make an executable plan. 

Why it is required? 

Is it required to make a product strategy? Can the team not start working instead of investing time in devising a plan? Is it always possible to take things forward based on the planning? 

Yes, it is required to plan irrespective of the time or cost involved in it as a well-planned work will offer the following benefits to the team, company and the customer. 

Business Goal 

It is not easy to run the business until the company understands the need of the customer. Only by understanding they can plan for all the resources like people, time, software, etc. The practice of making a product strategy is the key role of the PO who must understand the customer requirement and explain the same to the business with a plan drafted. 

Then the business can further analyze and make a detailed plan based on their resource availability. This will allow for prioritizing the work. 

Team confidence 

The team will feel confident when they have clarity of what they need to do, why, when and how. They will work in synchronization with others as they are not in the dark but aware of the action points and timelines. Further, they can also provide a suggestion for improvement of the total process and delivery of the end product at par in the market. 

Customer Satisfaction 

The customer does not worry about how the company works towards development. All it needs is the end result. The best product strategy designed before starting the development will certainly help the company achieve this. A satisfied customer will provide you more opportunity and thus you can stand ahead of the competition. 

Thus making a strategy specific to the product is the first step towards a successful journey in development. 

Roadmap

Why do you need to build a product, is discussed in the roadmap. It is the blueprint of the entire action plan from inception until the end of the product development. It is a visual representation done before making the strategy to develop the product. 

Good product strategy roadmap should be 

 It is like a map that will allow individuals for navigation between points. Unlike map which traces physical locations, this will help to plot out the progress of a product at any given time. 

Key elements 

Every effective product strategy must contain the following three key components. 

However, these three components will include the following detailed elements as mentioned in the table below which will help to make a proper strategy.

Components
Definition
Epic 
Collection of user stories which needs to be delivered in different releases 
Feature /User story 
Enhanced functionality to add value to the end-user
Goal
The objective of the product development 
Initiative 
Steps taken to reach the goal 
Product
The final item to be delivered to the customer 
Release
Launch of every new functionality of a product to add value to the customer 
Status
The updates received regarding the progression in every stage of product development
Time
Timelines for each activity 
Vision
Long term mission of the product 

What are the things involved in the Product Strategy?

Primary things involved in making the right strategy are the vision, goal, and initiatives. As the name implies you can understand that the vision is a long term mission of the product, the goal is the purpose of the product roadmap and initiative is the efforts taken to reach the goal. 

Steps involved in developing the product strategy 

  1. First, consider the marketing mix to decide the right strategy. The typical marketing mix consists of 4Ps namely Price, Place, Product, and Promotion.  
  2. Understand the different levels of the product for implementing the strategy appropriately at each level.
  3. Next, know the type of product to know the right way to penetrate the market. The customer looks for products that have good reach in the market. 
  4. This the most important step and you need to differentiate the product based on different possibilities namely 
    1. The product form and features 
    2. The performance level of the products
    3. Durability 
    4. Design and style 
  5. Now communicate with all the prospects including the customer, business and the team.
    1. The customer will let you know their need 
    2. The business will explain the vision
    3. Sit with the team to set goals as they need to work towards implementation 
  6. Design roadmap and refer to the vision to confirm that everything is on the right track. 

Tips to make your strategy more effective 

  1. Begin with what you know and focus on what is the important aspect in strategy making 
  2. Make decision collaboratively and keep the vision as a guiding factor 
  3. Place the user as the top priority 
  4. Understand the limitations and work towards it 
  5. Know what makes the product special and also assess the benefits of developing the product 
  6. Start implementing and test at each stage to ensure that the team is on the right track. 

If you want to know how to build the product strategy with scrum then apply for a Scrum Master Certification. Alternatively, check out Scrum Product Owner Certification become a professional product owner.  



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