The 'Strategy' element of Product Team management focuses on researching customers, understanding the business ecosystem needs and converting those insights into a coherent and inspiring product vision and strategy.

Principles and Practices


The goal of a business is to create and keep a customerWe need to solve real problems for users and not just build features.By understanding market trends, the competitive landscape and customer needs we can create a strategy based on real problems that need solving.
Some goals take time to achieveWe need to help teams understand the long-term product goals to help drive short-term progress.By creating and evangelising a product vision that focuses on the customer we can align and inspire teams with how our product will improve people's lives.
Fail to plan, plan to failWe need to ensure that the Product Teams are looking at the big picture of the ecosystem and not just the product in isolation.By running an annual planning process that identifies the key bets that the team will make we can balance the benefits of ecosystem alignment with the need for product focus.
Involvement drives commitmentWe need to ensure that people are committed to the Product Team's objectivesBy involving the Product Team in the setting of the objectives we can ensure that they are committed to them.
Trust, but verifyWe need to ensure that the work that the Product Teams are doing is delivering the expected value.By implementing a Weekly Business Review between Product Teams and Ecosystem Teams we can identify variance from the expected value early and take corrective action.
A list of goals is not a strategyWe need to understand the conditions that are preventing us from achieving our goals.By diagnosing the current state we can more accurately identify our target markets and the value propositions that will resonate with them.
When everything is a priority, nothing isWe need teams to focus to avoid spreading too thinly and failing to achieve any of the targetsBy documenting a product strategy that makes the difficult choices about what not to do we can ensure that teams are focused on the most important things.
If you build it, they won't comeWe need to ensure that how we build, market, sell and support a product is alignedBy creating a go-to-market strategy, a sales strategy, a growth strategy and a support strategy we can increase our chances of success.
Strategies are not always the most effectiveWe need to enable people across the company to challenge strategies that are failing to deliver.By automatically triggering a strategy contest for Product Teams that are failing to deliver the expected value we can encourage people to share their ideas.


There is never enough informationWe need to move forward with our strategy based on the information that we have at the time.By documenting a product strategy based on the information that we have at the time we can move forward. We can always adjust the strategy as we learn more.
Consult then commitWe need to ensure that Product Team members are briefed about the strategy and the vision but we should not aim for consensus.By taking input from everyone on the team and looking for consensus we can build trust but ultimately the Product Manager is responsible for the product strategy and the vision.
Bureaucracy destroys initiativeWe need to actively fight against the natural tendency for organisations to become bureaucratic.By agreeing objectives with Stream teams instead of detailing features to build we can reduce the overhead on Product Teams while simultaneously increasing accountability for outcomes in Stream Teams.
Gathering information from stream teams takes timeWe need to ensure that the product team does not become a bottleneck for information flow.By collating a product roadmap based on the work of the Stream Teams we can quickly maintain a high level view of the product with minimal overhead.
Analysing product data takes timeWe need to ensure that our product reporting is automated and self serviceBy instrumenting our products we can enable quick and efficient reporting on the core metrics aligned with the product objectives.


We need products to outlast Product leadersWe need to grow everyone into high quality decision makers by giving context instead of ordersBy sharing the diagnosis of the current state that has led to the product strategy with the Stream Teams we teach people key decision making skills and enable them to make high quality decisions without needing to escalate to the Product Team.


CriticismDescriptionMitigation Strategies
Lack of AlignmentFailing to align the Stream Teams with the product strategy, leading to misdirected efforts and wasted resources.Regularly communicate the product strategy to all teams and ensure they understand how their work contributes to the overall product vision.
Doesn't Help Teams Make DecisionsThe strategy is too high-level and doesn't provide enough guidance for teams to make informed decisions.Make the hard decisions in the strategy about what not to do and provide clear objectives and constraints to guide teams in their decision-making.
Siloed Strategy DevelopmentDeveloping the product strategy in isolation without input from other departments.Involve representatives from impacted departments in the strategy development process to ensure it benefits from diverse perspectives and expertise.


  • The Laundry List: Compiling a list of desired outcomes or initiatives without prioritising or explaining how they will address the core challenge.
  • The Blue Sky: Proposing a vision or goal that is completely disconnected from current reality, without a feasible path to get there.
  • Template Thinking: Relying heavily on generic strategies or frameworks without customising them to fit the unique context and challenges of the organisation.
  • Skipping the Hard Choices: Avoiding difficult decisions about what not to do or where not to compete, leading to overextension and lack of strategic focus.

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