Product Strategy Deployment — February 2022
A short write-up of my current view on Product Strategy Deployment. Very happy to receive feedback on how it can be improved! Much of the thinking is attributable to Melissa Perri’s Book — Escaping the Build Trap.
The goal is to make sure that everything is built for a reason. To take an abstract and difficult goal and break it down into achievable problems to solve.
The change that the company wants to see in the world. E.g. for Tesla, “To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy”.
How the company wants to achieve the mission, in a more concrete sense. E.g. for Tesla, “To create the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world’s transition to electric vehicles.”
This should be achievable on a timespan of 10–20 years.
How the specific product will help the company achieve its vision. This should have a clear North Star metric to measure performance towards the Company Vision.
- Vision Statement: “The Roadster will be the high performance car of choice for high income city dwellers in America within 5 years, funding our development of cheaper electric vehicles.”
- North Star Metric: “$10,000,000 profit from Roadsters sold in 2012”
The Product Vision should be supported by a North Star document which can be used when making product decisions and outlines the vision to the wider company:
- The problem the product is solving
- The proposed solution
- The solution factors that matter for success
- The outcomes that the product will result in
The Product Vision should be achievable on a timespan of 2–10 years.
Company Strategic Intents
Strategic Intents answer the question “What’s the most important thing the company can do to reach our vision, based on where we are right now?”. They should be measurable and have a time frame. The entire company’s activities (across Sales, Marketing, CS, Product & Engineering) should be aligned on achieving 1–3 Strategic Intents.
- Strategic Intent 1: Expand car production capacity to 800 cars per annum by 2011
- Strategic Intent 2: Make Roadster +10% EBITDA margin profitable at $100,000 price point by 2012
- Strategic Intent 3: Conceptualise a $50,000 production cost high performance electric car by 2011.
Strategic intents should be achievable on a timespan of 2–5 years.
Product Initiatives are the ways in which the Product can help the company to achieve its Strategic Intents. They solve a problem for users to generate business impact.
Product initiatives also have to be aligned with a product’s vision.
- Reduce battery costs from $20,000 to $15,000 by developing cheaper extraction methods by 2010
- Design & produce an incredible concept Roadster to generate a 500 car order backlog by 2009
Product initiatives should be achievable on a timespan of 0.5–2 years
Options are the experiments that you will try in order to reach the product initiatives. They are the Epics that you will solve (and if necessary discard/ discontinue).
- Implement Copper-alloy based extraction on 2 sites in Peru, reducing electrolysis costs from $3000 to $1500 and maintaining 99% purity.
- Implement Aluminium-alloy based extraction on 1 site in Bolivia, reducing electrolysis costs from $3000 to $1000 and maintaining 99% purity.
Options should be achievable on a timespan of 0–0.5 years.
Strategy -> Roadmap -> Release Plan
Taking the Strategy and turning it into an actionable Roadmap and Release Plan is then simple enough.
Yearly & Quarterly Roadmap
Once you have a Company & Product Vision, you can prioritise which initiatives to focus on for the year ahead, forming your Yearly Roadmap.
The first quarter of your yearly roadmap can be more granular and list the options you will tackle within the quarter.
This roadmap does not have to last exactly 1 year, and should rather be displayed according to the “Now, Next, Later” framework.
Quarterly Release Plan
To communicate with the business and give timeframes, it’s then useful to make a Quarterly Release Plan, which takes the quarterly roadmap and adds dates of when features will be released. This can even be in Gantt chart format (😱 ! )
If you use OKRs, the Quarterly Release Plan can double up as a list of your Quarterly OKRs with estimated work period & release dates.
Now the business knows when you will deliver value to them, in a framework that puts every feature into the wider context of how you will achieve the long term business goals!