How do you stay aware of the events that can impact your product strategy? How many of us use the generic strategies?
How do the functional plans of Customer Service, Engineering, Finance and Marketing influence Product Strategy?
How many of us do quarterly updates? Any more frequent? A frequent cause of failure is the use of ‘plug’ numbers or ‘SWAGs”
How many of us are familiar with this model? How many of us use this model?
Do you use a shared central repository? How many cross-functional constituents contribute data? Is there a team ‘Strategy Room’? Do you use gap analysis? Refer to template on page 248
How many of you use the SWOT model to synthesize data into useful information? Opportunities arise from finding creative ways to respond to threats: Do last. Do you believe that it is an effective tool? What are other best practices that you use to help you develop the insights needed to formulate your product vision?
• Is your process for leading product strategy a
competitive advantage or a hindrance? In this highly
interactive discussion, we will explore current best
practices of successful companies and pose key
questions to all attendees to gain a greater
understanding of what we, as practitioners, see as
the most successful methods for leading product
strategy, and together find answers to this perplexing
• As a resource, attendees may want to review Ch. 10 of ‘The Product Manager’s Desk Reference’ by Steven Haines, published
2009 by McGraw-Hill
• Expectations of participants
• Discuss ‘What is Product Strategy?’
• Use the Haines model as a discussion framework
• The floor is always open for sharing of best practices!
• Discuss SWOT model
• Review of expectations and summarize
What is Product Strategy?
• “A strategy defines what is going to be done
and how it’s going to be done.”
• “Strategies formulated by the product
manager propose the execution parameters
for a product or for the portfolio of products.”
• “Well-formulated strategies set the stage for
robust, ongoing planning and decision making
throughout the product life cycle.”
The Dynamic Continuum
• “Strategy addresses an entire chain of events or actions that may be
separated in space and time along the value chain.”
– Michael Porter suggests:
• Product team structure should follow product strategy (with the PM at the
• Generic strategies can play a key role in any product strategy:
– Product differentiation
– Cost minimization
– Market focus
• “Every product or business opportunity has a starting point and an
– To be successful, you must know:
• Where you’ve been
• Where you are now
• Where you want to go
• “Dynamic strategic thinking helps product managers to process and
accommodate higher levels of risk and uncertainty.”
Mastering the Waterfall
• “Corporate strategy must interlock with
division or business unit strategy which
must, in turn, cascade into portfolio,
product line, and product strategies”
• “Sorting out (or even adjusting) this
cascade is one of the larger
responsibilities of the product manager.”
• “Functional strategies tend to introduce
elements that result in sub-optimization,
which is the bane of good (product)
strategy because it inhibits overall
Strategy in Your World
• “All too often, strategic plans are created to satisfy
some corporate edict.”
– Do you agree?
• “Strategic planning for products should not be a
once-a-year event if your goal is success.”
– Who drives and how often?
• “Another challenge for product managers…is
reconciling strategic product planning with the
annual budgeting process.”
– Does strategy drive the budget, or vice versa?
The ‘Product as a Business’ Strategic Planning Model
Past and Current Period
Product and Product
Synthesis of Product
Create or Refine the
Concept Feasibility Definition
New Product Planning
The ‘Product as a Business’ Strategic Planning Model
• A. Establish a Baseline: compare where you’ve been to where you are now
– How do you gather, organize and analyze the data?
– How do you synthesize the data into useful information?
– How do you organize and conduct product strategy reviews?
• B. Formulate or reformulate your vision for the product based on A. and cast it as
the driving force for your product.
– How do you formulate where you want to go?
• C. Identify your strategic options by specifying how you will employ all elements
of the marketing mix and other supporting business functions to achieve your
– How do you leverage your cross functional team to assist you in this task?
• D. Link your strategic options to the Product Management Life Cycle Model
– How effectively does your team feed the strategy into the PMLCM?
Using The SWOT Model
Using the SWOT Model
• Strengths: How is your product positively
differentiated from its rivals?
• Weaknesses: Identify the causals that explain why a
product is performing poorly against its rivals.
• Threats: What factors/events in the marketplace can
cost you customers and/or market share?
• Opportunities: How will you leverage strengths,
overcome weaknesses and respond to threats to
• “Product Managers have the responsibility of
creating a vision and strategy for their products,
consistent with division and company strategy.”
• “What is involved is a lot of hard work in collecting
and using data to reveal secrets about the markets
within which you operate, the customers you serve,
the internal stakeholders who are supposed to
deliver the systems and infrastructure elements that
support the business, and excellent service in
support of customers”.
• Have we met your session expectations?