The Product Strategy Stack: Connecting the Dots for Success in Today's Competitive Market

Aviral Vaid

Aviral Vaid

Jul 02, 20234 min read

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The Product Strategy Stack: Connecting the Dots for Success in Today's Competitive Market

In the past, companies gained a strategic advantage by excelling in supply chains, logistics, manufacturing, and other operational capabilities. However, in today's fast-paced and highly competitive market, companies win or lose based on the quality of their products. The ability to prioritize effectively is often a strategy issue, rather than an execution issue. Without clear guidance on how to prioritize, it becomes impossible to make informed decisions that align with the company's goals.

Gaps in strategy not only hinder the execution process but also result in missed opportunities. When the strategy is clearly defined, communicated, and connected to the company's mission and day-to-day work, execution becomes much easier. This is where the Product Strategy Stack comes into play.

The Product Strategy Stack encompasses various levels of planning and goal-setting, starting with the Company Mission. The Company Mission represents the world your company sees and the change it aims to bring to that world. It should be aspirational and emotionally appealing, motivating both your team and your customers.

Next in the stack is the Company Strategy, which outlines the logical plan to bring the company's mission into being. This plan serves as a roadmap for the entire organization, guiding decision-making and resource allocation. It is crucial for this strategy to be connected to the product strategy, as they work hand in hand to achieve the company's goals.

Product Strategy, the third layer of the stack, focuses on the logical plan for how the product will drive its part of the company strategy. It involves defining the product's unique value proposition, target market, and competitive positioning. Product strategy is not interchangeable with company strategy, as they serve different purposes. Product leaders must recognize the role that sales, marketing, support, and other functions play in overall company success.

The Product Roadmap, following the product strategy, outlines the sequence of features that will be implemented to execute the product strategy effectively. This roadmap serves as a guide for the product team, ensuring they stay on track and aligned with the company's goals. However, it is important for roadmaps and goals to be tethered to product and company strategy, rather than defined in isolation. This integration ensures that the product goals are driving progress towards the overall strategy.

The final layer in the Product Strategy Stack is Product Goals. These goals are the quarterly and day-to-day outcomes of the Product Roadmap, measuring progress against the product strategy. While achieving goals is important, it does not necessarily mean that a company has made progress on its strategy. Product goals should flow from a product roadmap that has been designed to deliver value to users, aligning with the company's mission and strategy.

Although the missions and strategies of companies like Slack and Discord may differ significantly, there is often significant overlap in their product teams' work. A product manager at Slack and a product manager at Discord might be working towards the same product goal, but in service of entirely different company strategies. This highlights the importance of tethering roadmaps and goals to product and company strategy, rather than defining them in isolation.

To ensure success in implementing the Product Strategy Stack, here are three actionable pieces of advice:

  • 1. Clearly define and communicate your Company Mission: Your mission should be aspirational and emotionally appealing, motivating both your team and customers. It should serve as the foundation for your entire product strategy.
  • 2. Connect your product strategy to the overall company strategy: Recognize that product strategy is not the same as company strategy. Understand the role that other functions play in company success and ensure alignment throughout the organization.
  • 3. Tether roadmaps and goals to product and company strategy: Avoid defining roadmaps and goals in isolation. Instead, ensure they are connected to the larger strategy, driving progress towards the company's mission.

In conclusion, the Product Strategy Stack provides a framework for companies to align their product strategies with their overall business strategies. By connecting the dots from the Company Mission to the Product Goals, companies can prioritize effectively, execute with clarity, and ultimately achieve success in today's competitive market. Remember, your product strategy is just one piece of the puzzle, and by incorporating the Product Strategy Stack, you can ensure that all aspects of your organization are working together towards a common goal.

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