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  • Writer's pictureFarid Shojaie

5 Key Questions for Product Strategy Design

Product Strategy Design Visualification

Author: Aidin Ziapour


“The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.”

— Michael Porter

Strategy is a sensitive concept for all parts of a business, organization, and even a product. There are many stories related to the definition of strategy in various sources. One of the comprehensive definitions of a strategy based on Porter’s definition can be summarized as follows:

“Deliberately choosing a different set of activities to deliver a unique mix of value.”

— Michael Porter

Conscious selection and delivering a unique value proposition are two important keywords in product strategy. The question that you, as a product manager, and your organization should ask is what activities you should do and, more importantly, what activities you shouldn’t undertake to create and deliver value through the product for the target segments.

Also, designing and defining a strategy does not simply mean determining where your product will go. Rather, you must identify the differences in strategy. What will be your sustainable difference, your sustainable competitive advantage over your competitors? In other words, the strategy will help us answer the question of why a customer will use our product instead of our competitor’s.

A reliable description of how strategy is defined and designed is the one presented in the Playing to Win book. Based on the model presented in this book, you are able to determine the strategy of your business, organization, or product at an acceptable level of abstraction by providing answers to 5 questions. But before we go over these 5 questions, let’s get a little familiar with the concept of Product Strategy Design.

Product Strategy Design

Often, when it comes to product strategy design, it is the use of design thinking in determining the product strategy. Design Thinking allows product managers to use three perspectives to design their product strategy. First, the desirability of the product will be evaluated. Is our product desirable for the target community of customers and users to meet their needs through its use? Second, the viability of the product is will be assessed. Will the customer be willing to pay for the product? Will developing and marketing a product have the potential for profit for a business? Finally, the feasibility will be evaluated. Will our development team be able to develop and build the software product at all in terms of technical capability or not? These three perspectives will help product managers design a product strategy that is human-centered. Human-centered is the key to creating products with a pleasing customer experience and user experience.

5 Key Questions

According to the definition of strategy in the Playing to Win book, 5 key questions must be answered to design a strategy at an acceptable level of abstraction. These 5 questions are:

1- What is our winning aspiration?

What is your purpose as a product manager and your sponsoring business in creating this product? Why do we create this product?

2- Where will we play?

Where will your playground be? What markets will you target? Where will the geography of our product presentation be? What will be the segment of our customers and the channels to reach them?

3- How will we win?

What do our value props include? What competitive advantages will we create in our product compared to current and potential future competitors? Are these value propositions and competitive advantages sustainable? What measures will we set to make them sustainable?

4- What capabilities must be in place?

What capabilities are needed to create and deliver the product to the target markets? What will be the reinforcement activities and specific configuration required by our product?

5- What management systems are required?

What features will our required support management system include? What will be included in the systems, structures, and criteria that will help us achieve the defined Winning Aspiration?

The Last Word

Asking any of the above questions will significantly help product managers and businesses clarify the path to success as well as make tough decisions along the path of product management and development. In answering each of the following questions, try to evaluate the customer, business, and technical capabilities to provide the best answers to these questions.


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