In this post, I’ll discuss lightweight frameworks that allow expressing and communicating a product strategy in a quick and efficient way.
The answer was is that every product strategy framework is a way or vehicle to express and communicate the synthesis of strategic thoughts. The framework itself is not a strategy. The strategic work is happening outside of the framework.
The framework delivers a certain promise or pushes to look at a certain aspect and core questions. It gives clarity on which questions a product strategy should answer. Deep-dive strategic work (e.g. research, competitor analysis, etc.) has to happen around each framework to answer core strategic questions.
I totally agree with this answer. I am not sure that the most effective framework exists since every framework tackles similar questions. But I think that a framework itself is not less important than the strategic work. The framework sets the direction of work. If the framework misses important questions, it is likely that some strategic aspects will be overlooked.
Up until now, if you asked me which framework I would use to express my product strategy, I would refer to the Product Vision Board by Roman Pichler extended with the Business Model Canvas. I have been using this one since I become a product manager. After I watched Tim Herbig’s session, I began to wonder, what if there are other frameworks that may capture other crucial aspects of a product strategy.
I googled product strategy frameworks. There are plenty of articles that seem to be about product strategy frameworks but I find most of them confusing. I wish my article to convey a clear message about how to express and communicate a product strategy in a quick and efficient way.
4 Lightweight Frameworks
No matter how extensive a product strategy is supposed to be, product leaders will always need lightweight tools to capture a product strategy in a few sentences.
I. The Positioning/Elevator Pitch Framework
The Positioning /Elevator Pitch framework by Geoffrey Moore makes a product strategy sweet and short.
FOR (target customer), WHO HAS (need statement), (product/brand name) IS A (market category) THAT (key benefit statement/compelling reason to buy). UNLIKE (primary competitor alternatives), THE PRODUCT (unique differentiation statement).
FOR (people who live in urban cities), WHO HAS (a need to get to the airport on time), (Uber Ride) IS A (mobile app) THAT (allows you to book on-demand transport). UNLIKE (taxis), THE PRODUCT (is more reliable, cheaper, and cleaner).
II. The Product Vision Board by Roman Pichler
This framework is very similar to the positioning /elevator pitch framework. But its advantage is that it enables to capture more details. However, the framework doesn’t allow to understand competitors. This problem is solved by the Product Vision Board Extended which incorporates the . Also, three business components, namely Revenue Streams, Cost Factors, and Channels give additional business context that is especially important when a company targets a new segment or market.
III. The Product Strategy Canvas by Melissa Perri
I would say that this framework is outcome-based. It puts a business and product goal in the centre of a product strategy. I like this framework because it makes a product strategy executable. It gives a chance to contribute directly to the product outcomes that are considered as Challenge and Target Condition.
However, I don’t see that the Product Strategy Canvas encompasses any information on a target group, their needs, and competitors. Apparently, the Challenge element, that is filled out with a SMART product outcome, acts as a customer need to be fulfilled.
Anyway, I really like this framework. If I developed a product strategy using the Product Strategy Canvas, I would definitely know the direction. This fact would make the execution phase less challenging.
The diagram below demonstrates an example of a product strategy for Uber.
IV. The Product Field Framework
This framework puts a product in the centre of everything. It proposes to describe how the product solves a certain problem in a unique way when compared to the alternatives.
The diagram below shows the Product Field Canvas.
It seems that this framework is quite similar to the Product Vision Board. But what I like about it is its bottom-up structure. It allows starting from the product and value proposition without a risk to overlook important aspects of a product strategy such as customers and users, their needs, and business goals.
A framework is not a product strategy. However, it enables to approach the definition of the product strategy by addressing the right questions and sets the direction of doing deep-dive work.
I find the Positioning/Elevator Pitch, Product Vision Board, Product Strategy Canvas, and Product Field frameworks extremely useful to express and communicate a product strategy.
Each of the discussed frameworks has its pros and cons. However, there is a chance to pick the one which fits your team and organization the best.