Why you need a Product Strategy (even if your boss doesn't care)

I read too many blogs that say "ALL product managers should do X". Having worked with so many companies, I can usually think of plenty of cases where it makes sense to break the "rule."

But despite my distaste for such posts, I'm just gonna do it. I'm going to post one too... Here goes:

All product managers should develop well-researched and well-supported product strategies

Even if your boss is not requiring it.  It’s difficult to make the time, especially with the dozens of activities that product managers are usually simultaneously juggling, but it must be done.

Why?

  1. Otherwise, you will only arrive at your desired destination by happenstance.
  2. Otherwise, all your time will slip away fighting fires – many of which would never have started to burn had a clear product strategy been in place.

80% of the value of creating a product strategy is for you, the product manager.

Not your boss, not the CEO, not Engineering or Sales or anyone else. For you. Because the act of defining and writing down your product strategy

  • Clarifies your thinking
  • Challenges you to come up with new ways of addressing problems
  • Helps you better express WHY this is the best plan to all concerned
  • Gives you confidence that your plan is good, which in turn gives you the motivation to doggedly pursue your vision for the product. 

You will need this motivation.  In fact, the best product managers are beyond “motivated” – they are “passionate”.

The other 20% of the value is in communicating your vision and your plan to others.

You'll have a ready-made plan and structure for communicating with executives, developers, sales people, your customers, the market in general.   Having done your homework, you’ll be confident with yourself, credible with others, and convincing--even to the skeptics and that misanthrope/veteran engineer who always gives you a hard time.

Sue Raisty

Product management geek, born-again engineer, adoptive mother of boys, coach & mentor, mountain trail runner, tinkerer, no-bull communicator, wannabe writer, room mother & compulsive researcher.

Silicon Valley, California http://blog.sueraisty.com