Having a well-defined product strategy can help your team work toward your company goals when ideas flood in or complications arise. It's your guiding compass in product decisions. As a product manager, you know that your product strategy is vital to both your department's and company's success. But how do you get clear on the essentials of your strategy and cut through the noise of ideas and excess information? Let's dig into your basic necessities to establish and follow your product development strategy.
Finding Clarity Is Key
Clarity is key when developing a product strategy. It's essential to know exactly what you want to achieve, conduct research on how best to get there, and create a plan to hit the goals. Reaching this clarity means you must cut through the noise and focus on the goals. A few ways product managers can inform their product strategy include:
- Researching the gaps and opportunities in existing products
- Identifying new and untapped markets
- Developing plans for new and innovative products
Defining Your Product Strategy
Once you are clear on your goals, you'll need to define what it is you want to achieve and how you plan to get there. Will you focus on redesigning your existing products? Will you pursue a new market based on research? Or will you combine these two into a single approach?
No strategy can ever be set in stone, but with careful analysis, you can make choices based on data that will give you an increased chance of success. Product managers should always make decisions based on data and customer research rather than gut instincts.
Product Ideation to Promote Innovation
Brainstorming sessions are a key aspect of the product ideation process. When you bring your development teams together and leverage their knowledge, you can promote innovation.
When defining the type of product you wish to build, there are several questions that should be addressed:
- What is the product you wish to create?
- Why are you creating the product?
- What is the latent customer need you are aiming to satisfy?
- What is your target audience, and how will they benefit from using your specific product?
- Does the product align with the company vision?
- Will this product allow the company to achieve its goals?
Validate Your Product Strategy
Once you have decided on the product you wish to build, the next step in the product development process is to validate your strategy.
Who Is Your Target Audience?
Which segment of the market does your product cater to? How big is this market, and what is its growth potential? You need to understand all aspects of your market and your target audience. You'll find it difficult to implement your growth strategy without an adequate market in which to sell your product.
How Does Your Product Compare to the Competition?
Conduct a competitive analysis to assess how your proposed product compares with similar offerings in the market. What additional features can you offer that will make your product stand out? Differentiating yourself from the competition requires creativity. When you can successfully innovate, the chances of meeting your goals increase.
Is Your Product Financially Viable?
Producing an economically viable product in the market is critical to your product strategy. What are the financial costs of developing this product? What are the projected sales and expected revenue? Working with your finance and marketing teams can help you determine whether your product ideas are financially viable.
What Is the Customer Response?
Product prototypes are useful for answering several key questions that will help you to improve your product, and consumer focus groups offer valuable insights that speak to your product's performance.
Revise Your Product Idea
Customer feedback should help to inform the further development of the product. You can also assess how your product compares with that of the competition. Which features are most valued in the product? Are there any additional features that will increase the desirability of the product? Understanding these insights makes it easier to create better products and highlight the key features in your marketing.
Relay the Company Vision to Your Development Teams
Product roadmaps are valuable tools to define the product strategy and outline the development process of a product over a specified timeframe. When the product strategy is vague and ill-defined, this can confuse your product teams. Visual roadmaps provide a clearly defined strategy with which all your company stakeholders can align. This ensures that all of your teams are on the same page so they can synchronize their actions to achieve your product goals.
Communicate Easily With Your Product Teams
Traditional communication tools can be cumbersome. Isolated text documents, spreadsheets, and presentations sent over email are cumbersome and difficult to manage. Product roadmap management tools provide a single source of truth that all your teams can access. Having one location for data and reports means that everyone can see the same up-to-date information and receive alerts of changes to documents in real-time.
Promote Collaboration to Increase Productivity
Collaboration with your product teams is necessary to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Each department plays a different role in the production process and requires varying levels of information and input. The right tools can provide the product manager and other stakeholders with different levels of access to information, depending on the department's needs. This is useful when preparing for meetings. When multiple team members can work on the same reports in real-time, it can enhance productivity in meetings.
By updating content in one place, everyone is always aware of the most current information, and less time is wasted amending and updating documents at a later date.
Communicate With Your Teams Across the Globe
Cloud-based tools can be accessed from anywhere around the globe, making it easier to communicate and collaborate with teams anywhere. This is particularly important for the discrete product manufacturing industry as they rely on components sourced and developed in multiple locations. With updates made in real-time, there are no delays in receiving only the most current and relevant information.
Use Key Metrics for Better Decision-Making
Tracking key metrics is essential when making product decisions, including creating or following your product strategy. Knowing how your product is performing in the market helps you know whether your product is performing as predicted and where you need to make adjustments.
Tailor Your Information for Increased Productivity
Tailoring your information and including only the most relevant data for your audience can help you facilitate better insights and gain relevant feedback from your product teams. Knowing your audience makes it easier to prepare for mixed-team presentations and multi-stakeholder meetings.
Product Roadmap Management Software For Agile Manufacturing
Here at Gocious, we're focused on helping Product Managers stay organized with resources and tools to make product management easier. In the Spring of 2022, we surveyed top product manufacturers in the United States to get an inside look at how they create product strategies and the tools they use. Get your free copy of the report to gain inspiration and ideas for your own strategy.