Your Product is Disoriented

Are you 100% sure where your product will be in the next 5 years and how it is going to make this path?


Hum… Are you walking disoriented?


We have been working deeply in our Product Vision and Product Strategy at ContaAzul and have found out really interesting connections. Isn’t life all about connecting discoveries?

Product Vision

is a more well known and explored concept and good Product Managers already understand the importance of having a proper one. That’s why I will be shortly about Vision and little deeper about Product Strategy, which is connecting your Vision to your daily roadmap in no more than an 8min reading-time.

Product Vision is different from Product Strategy!

And there is a Bonus here, I explain what is the SMaC Recipe (a Jim Collins concept) and why it is important for your hole company. 
 
Having a Product Vision makes every decision point in your roadmap easier and aligned with all your stakeholders and other product teams inside your company. The Product Vision is inspiring and ambitious, defines the market you are aiming, reinforces product direction for investors, gives a long-term vision for all areas, motivates teams, gives purpose to every code line, metric, research or mockup and even helps recruiting people. It is the base and Jeff Bezos would say:

“Be stubborn on the vision, and flexible on the details”.

Most Product Visions are built around a simple and straight-forward framework which describes simply: Who, What and How. Good examples are SpaceX and Amazon’s Product Vision:
 
 SpaceX

"SpaceX was founded under the belief that a future where humanity is out exploring the stars is fundamentally more exciting than one where we are not. Today SpaceX is actively developing the technologies to make this possible, with the ultimate goal of enabling human life on Mars."

Amazon

"Our vision is to be earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online."

Many contents and examples of Product Vision can be found on the web. This Quora’s Page may give some interesting info: https://www.quora.com/What-are-some-good-examples-of-a-product-vision


In the other hand we have the Product Strategy,

which are all the guidelines to make your roadmap walk through challenges, pivots, deliveries, days and then achieve your Product Vision!
We could define Product Strategy as a macro roadmap that chains the main deliveries of a product to reach its Vision. I am being purposely generalist with the term “deliveries” which is well described by Marty Cagan as:

“It might be different versions of the same product, it might be a series of different or related products, or it could be some other set of meaningful milestones. Normally I encourage teams to construct a product strategy around a series of product-market fits.
 There are many variations on this (the strategy for the product strategy, if you will):
For many B2B SaaS companies, each product-market fit focuses on a different vertical market (e.g. financial services, manufacturing, telco, etc.). 
 For consumer companies, we often structure each product-market fit around a different customer or user persona
Sometimes the product strategy is based on geography, where we tackle different regions of the world in sequence.”

Constructing the Product Strategy is a hard, profound work and very meaningful for the whole company. It demands a hyper level of alignment in between Marketing, Sales, Customer Success, Product and Financial areas, which all have different mindsets that must be converted to the Product Vision and Strategy.
 
Defining the product deliveries and how they are prioritized has lot to do with deeply understanding opportunities and market research and most of this data is outside your company and needs a real get-out-of-the-building approach to refine and validate it.
This information is core to help you understand what can be your “deliverables” and how they are best prioritized.

So what is SMaC Recipe and how it helps you?

Jim Collins defines like:

“the word “SMaC” stands for Specific, Methodical, and Consistent. A solid SMaC recipe is the operating code for turning strategic concepts into reality, a set of practices more enduring than mere tactics”,

clearing a little bit more he says:

"it is clear and concrete, enabling the entire enterprise to unify and organize its efforts, giving clear guidance regarding what to do and what not to do. SMaC recipe reflects empirical validation and insight about what actually works and why."

SMaC recipe can be attached to the Product Vision and Strategy to help people actually think… inside the box, but explore all its limits. It means that brainstormings can and should be done, but need to consider all the empirical validations, insights and learnings the “company” had over time, saving time of everyone involved in any creation process.

With the SMaC recipe on hands, any discussion about Product Vision and Strategy is more accurate and realistic to the business purpose.

Prioritizing the path to reach the Product Vision is a real challenge, that’s why we are working in our own prioritization framework. It takes in consideration the most important aspects and metrics to us, to than be really assertive and adhering to market conquest.

I may come up with new discoveries and connections soon ;)