Scan your project list to identify themes and define your product strategy.
The key to the Strategy/Metric/Tactic lockup is to identify a high-level product strategy, assign a proxy metric to measure the strategy’s effectiveness, then brainstorm a set of projects that will move the metric. If you get “stuck,” however, sometimes it helps to turn this process on its head.
I often ask a team to list all the projects they believe are important, then sort the projects into “buckets” of ideas. The label for each of these buckets often indicates the implied strategy. For instance, in the case of the “simple” product strategy, there were a set of projects that the team believed were important:
- reduce text and explanations
- provide step-by-step guides for new members
- use customer support dispositioning data to isolate mistakes
- eliminate unused features or functions
- provide context-sensitive information (progressive disclosure)
- provide easy access to self-help systems.
Looking at this list of ideas, we discussed common themes and isolated the “simple” hypothesis.
In contrast, personalization efforts at Netflix are an example of a top-down approach. We decided that the high-level hypothesis — creating a highly personalized experience will improve retention — then identified a proxy metric and brainstormed projects to move the metric.
Product Strategy Exercise (#7)
Look at the list of projects you believe are essential, then sort them to identify high-level themes. These themes are potential product strategies. Now re-evaluate your “Product Strategy/Metric/Tactic Lockup” to see if it warrants changes or edits.
In the next essay, we’ll drop down a level into the product organization to talk about how each product leader can define their product strategy for their “swimlane” or “pod.”
PS. Here’s an index of all the articles in this series: