Product Strategy Milestone: Get Specific
Over my past few posts we’ve covered the early stages in developing a product strategy. We’ve discussed testing your early product vision with thought leaders both inside and outside your company. Now it’s time to take the next step. You’re ready to focus on the bullet points in your vision and define each milestone.
Congratulations Product Manager – You’ve Set the Stage
When you were developing your product strategy slide, you had to capture the concepts in as few words as possible. Each time you shared the vision, you were probably asked to for more detail. Along the way, your ability to explain your concepts became sharper and more focused.
Now, on the heels of these presentations is the time to further define your concepts.
Blow Out the Product Vision Concepts in Paragraphs
Further defining your product strategy concepts involves writing several short paragraphs that detail the substance behind each idea. This process takes time, but it’s time well spent.
Soon you’ll be sharing your vision with an ever-broadening circle of individuals at various levels in the organization and outside it. Regardless of their background, you want to be sure these constituents can fully grasp your vision’s finer points. The work you do now will allow everyone to understand your message and help you manage client expectations. If you fail to drill down on these milestones and fully explain them, you risk misinterpretation of your ideas. It’s easy when this happens for the strategy to take on a life of its own with goals that are completely unattainable and off track.
What the One-Page Vision Paragraphs Should Cover
The one-page of vision paragraphs should deliver a fuller description of the concept. It should also communicate the value of the concept to the customers and also any operational considerations inherent in each milestone.
You’ll want to devote one slide to each milestone (aka bullet point) and include the following five elements for each:
- Milestone Title
- Milestone Description
- Customer Value Proposition
- Operational Considerations
- Date of Slide’s Creation
Template for Milestone Breakout
Each slide should have a header that consists of the name of the milestone. Following this should be a brief paragraph defining the essence of the milestone. Keep these crisp and short.
Next, briefly put forth the value proposition: why the customer should care about this development. What’s in it for them.
Following the value proposition, discuss any operational considerations that need to be understood at the outset. For example, is there a need for a wrap-around service offer? Will new equipment need to be purchased? Will additional staff be required?
Last, make sure to date the slide so you can maintain control of the versions. Later on, you may need to revise these initial milestone slides. Dating makes that easier to manage.
By completing this phase of your product strategy development, you’re moving beyond the strategic vision and beginning to execute your grand plan.