The Ultimate Guide to Product Strategy Frameworks
Have you wondered how some companies become so successful? Most of their success finds its roots in the strategies that they devise. Once you develop a solid product strategy, half of the battle is already won, maximising your chances of success while eliminating possible errors.
Every great company is known for the quality of products it produces. And today we are going to discuss how you too can build great products with a great product strategy framework.
What is a product strategy?
A product strategy is a detailed plan or a scheme for developing a product. It includes the goals, vision, overall impact, and accomplishments the product aims to achieve over a period of time. In other words, a product strategy serves as a guide for navigating your way into delivering a successful product.
A good product strategy should focus on answering these central questions-
- Who will the product appeal to?
- How will the product serve them?
- What are the goals the company is trying to achieve with the product?
A product strategy framework is important as it binds all the important initiatives of the product development process together.It helps the product manager to assess and identify product needs with both the internal and external users of the product. Before mapping out the strategy , make sure to develop a high-level product vision to compel approval of the high level executives.
The product strategy framework is vital to determining yet another important question- the why of the product. A clear vision and understanding of product goals will enable the product manager to brainstorm ideas with the team for mapping out a winning product strategy.
Types of Product Strategy Frameworks
A product strategy framework should focus on the overall product strategy and planning process management. There are multiple frameworks available in the business world. We shall discuss the most appropriate and essential frameworks for the process of product planning and development.
1. SWOT Analysis
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats. It is a set of methods to examine both external and internal factors that can influence the success or failure of the product. This is applied in the initial stages of product development and planning. You have to analyze the 4 crucial elements to examine and analyze the feasibility of a product.
Strengths and weaknesses are internal factors that can be controlled by you and your team. These can be your resources namely manual, physical, infrastructure, assets, etc. When you have a clear understanding of these factors, you can focus, play and maximize your strengths while devising ways to address your weakness and minimize their impact.
Opportunities and threats are external factors that can affect the success of your product such as competition, government rules, and regulations, economic situation, users' personas, and preferences, etc.
2. PEST Analysis
The PEST analysis focuses on the 4 crucial factors- Political, Economical, Sociological, and Technical elements to analyze the external environmental factors impacting the development and success of any product.
It helps you develop a farsighted approach to identify possible opportunities and warn you against any significant threats. You can start taking steps that are crucial for success and start avoiding tasks that show chances of failure.
Factors to consider:
Political: Government or regional policy, local, state, or national elections, political parties in power and their views on the product, law, and order, business legislations, and taxes..
Economical: Current economic stability, exchange rates, unemployment rate, skilled workforce rate, credit facilities, globalization.
Sociological: Population demographics, society’s level of health, education and social mobility, employment patterns, religious beliefs, and lifestyle choices.
Technological: Emerging technologies in the market, competitors' access to new technologies, technological upgrades.
3. MoSCoW Analysis
MoSCoW is a product strategy framework popularly used by product managers to prioritize activities and requirements. It focuses on 4 important categories of initiatives - must have, should have, could have, and won’t have. Some also use wishes for W.
To implement the MoSCoW framework, all the important stakeholders should be present to discuss and settle disagreements. All the participants should agree on the initiatives discussed for prioritization.
- Must-haves should include the non-negotiable needs of the project, without which the product will be incomplete.
- Should-haves are right below must-haves. They are essential initiatives but not completely vital to the project. The project still functions without it but it adds a significant value.
- Could-haves are nice to have features that are not core to the product functionality but can add an extra layer of sophistication. They have a lower impact on the outcome than the should-haves and must-haves.
- Won’t-haves are all the features or initiatives that will not be included in the current release. The initiatives under this category may be prioritized later for future developments.
4. VPEC-T Analysis
VPEC-T is the acronym for Values, Policies, Events, Content, and Trust. It helps the product managers make decisions by finding alignment between different expectations from several opinions.
- Values encourage all the team members to express their opinions on the goals, beliefs, and current problems of the project.
- Policies regulate how all the information of the project is handled.
- Events are a chain of activities during the product development process that may include meetings with prospects, team meetings, trials, etc.
- Content is the information you develop in any form of messages that can flow around the teams and outside whenever appropriate.
- Trust is to ensure that all the team members believe and trust in the activities and processes of product development.
5. MOST Analysis
MOST includes the elements of Misson, Objectives, Strategies, and Tactics ideally used to analyze and improve the internal processes of a company. Like the previous types, MOST empowers product managers to make the correct and most effective decisions. When these elements are clearly laid out, you can minimize errors significantly and be prepared for what’s coming.
What Are The Key Elements of a Product Strategy?
The product strategy framework differs from business to business but essentially there are 3key elements responsible for the successful launch of any product. Let’s learn about them.
1. Identifying the target audience
As a product manager, you have to make sure the product that you are building should appeal to the consumers. Not everyone in the common market will be in need of your product. Therefore, the first step is to understand the market landscape and identify the target audience.
A good product strategy framework will focus on understanding customer preferences and their needs. Ideally, a company should research the market and analyze consumer preferences to craft a product catering to the target audience.
2. Establish clear goals
Establishing clear and measurable goals will help you craft result-oriented activities. Without clear goals and objectives, it often becomes difficult to allot resources and tasks or even work altogether. These goals should be easy to track so that you are aware of your team’s performance against them.
Here are some examples of product goals-
- Increase revenue by 20%.
- Expansion to two new countries by end of the economic year.
- Increase mobile adoption by 50%.
- Existing customer retention by 30%.
3. Plan initiatives
Initiatives let you specify the responsibilities and division of work between your team so that the work is completed on time without any confusion. These initiatives should relate to your company’s core strategy. Some examples of initiatives can be-
- Improvement of performances.
- Better reporting facilitates.
- UI improvements.
How to build a product strategy framework?
After having discussed all the important factors responsible for building a strong product strategy framework, let’s learn how to build a product strategy framework step by step.
Step 1: Define the vision
For every plan and strategy to succeed you need a vision to surround all your activities with. The vision is the center of focus based on which all your strategies, goals, and plans are defined. Your vision should answer the larger question of ‘why’ of your product.
It should also be considered from the users' point of view. How will the product benefit them? What kind of changes will it bring to the business or even the world? You can be as bold and ambitious with your vision, as long as you have a strategy to achieve it.
Step 2: Understand customer demands and needs
As we have pointed out previously, understanding customer needs, demands and requirements are key factors influencing the success of your product. An ideal product strategy framework should be backed up with market and customer insights.
Do you know their pain points? Will they pay for the solution you provide? When you have the answers to these vital questions, you can align your strategy to fit in the same. It will also allow you to understand the value your product will be adding to their lives. You have to research your target audience and build their personas to get started.
Step 3: Understand market trends and be prepared to face potential threats
Launching a successful product does not only involve the business and the customers. When you are launching your product, you are entering a larger market infused with competition, trends, economic instabilities, etc You have to test the waters before you decide to dive in. By it, we mean you have to put an effort into understanding and analyzing the market and your competition so that you can be prepared for all possible circumstances.
Step 4: Develop your KPIs
KPIs or Key Performance Metrics should be developed at the beginning of the product strategy and not after everything is complete. KPIs will help you measure and quantify your progression in the correct direction. This way you don’t have to rely on assumptions to understand your performance. It can save a lot of time and alert you when you falter so you can change course immediately.
Step 5: Start working on the product roadmap
Your product roadmap should reflect the product strategy framework. All the product initiatives and themes should appear on the roadmap. A product roadmap ensures the implementation of the product strategy effectively.
Step 6: Communicate your strategy
After you have built your product roadmap, you should be ready to share your strategy with all the stakeholders. Your roadmap will convey most of the strategies and should be communicated to all the team members and investors.
We have discussed all the vital elements relating to the product strategy framework. While as a product manager you are at the helm of decision making, it is also important to ask for and acknowledge feedback from your team member at every stage. The users and their experience with the product should be the center of focus for your every plan and strategy.
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