Set Better Product Goals with NCTs and the Power of Storytelling

Aviral Vaid

Hatched by Aviral Vaid

Dec 04, 2023

3 min read


Set Better Product Goals with NCTs and the Power of Storytelling


Setting effective goals is crucial for product strategy success. However, many teams struggle with execution due to a lack of meaningful, well-executed goals. Goal-setting requires a balance between strategy and execution, with a clear understanding of objectives, thoughtful decision-making, and a pragmatic plan. To avoid the wishful thinking trap, it is essential to frame goals effectively and focus on the right things to do. This article explores the NCTs framework for setting better goals and the power of storytelling in goal-setting.

The NCTs Framework:

The NCTs framework consists of three components: narratives, commitments, and tasks. Narratives provide a qualitative description of what the team aims to achieve, mapping the goal back to the product and company strategies. Commitments are objectively measurable goals that the team commits to achieving within a quarter. Tasks outline the work required to complete the commitments and achieve the narrative. This framework ensures a clear connection between goals and strategies, providing a long-term picture while maintaining a coherent and actionable plan.

The Power of Storytelling:

Storytelling is an art that involves strategically withholding information to maximize suspense and engagement. Similarly, in goal-setting, storytelling plays a crucial role in capturing attention and motivating teams. By framing goals as narratives, teams can understand the outcome and why it is essential to the business. This narrative-driven approach helps reduce thrash and provides a long-term perspective on what matters most.

Choosing the Right Goals:

To set effective goals, it is important to choose the right type of goal based on the stage of product development. Discovery goals focus on delivering insights that inform strategy, input goals secure reliable resources, output goals enable flawless execution, and outcome goals prove the intended impact of the strategy. By aligning goals with the product development stage, teams can ensure they are on the right track and working towards the desired outcomes.

Creating a Collaborative Environment:

In order to set attainable and sustainable goals, teams must foster a collaborative environment. This environment encourages teams to evaluate their progress without fear of personal failure or punitive consequences. Accountability is important for adaptability, allowing teams to seek additional support when they are stuck and adjust their plan accordingly.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Clearly tie goals back to your strategy by articulating what, why, and how. This ensures that goals are aligned with the overall product and company strategies.
  • 2. Choose the right type of goal based on the stage of product development. This ensures that goals are relevant and contribute to the overall progress.
  • 3. Foster a collaborative environment that promotes accountability and adaptability. This encourages teams to evaluate their progress objectively and seek support when needed.


Setting better product goals requires a thoughtful approach that combines the NCTs framework and the power of storytelling. By framing goals as narratives and utilizing the NCTs framework, teams can align their goals with the overall strategy and create an actionable plan. Additionally, fostering a collaborative environment encourages accountability and adaptability, leading to more successful execution of goals. By implementing these practices, product teams can set themselves up for success and achieve meaningful outcomes.

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