The Product Momentum Gap

The Product Momentum Gap

Author
Dave Martin, Andrea Saez
Year
2023
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Review

Within this book, there is some valuable insight. While I wouldn't adopt the methodology completely, there is value in it. The Product Value Creation Plan in particular has merit beyond addressing the 'Product Momentum Gap', and I find it odd that the authors chose to combine the two.

Even after traditional business goals and product strategy have been communicated a lot of ambiguity remains, which can create alignment drift between teams.

By focusing on customer value and clearly defining the behavior change we aim to achieve, we can address two product problems. Firstly, we can avoid developing features that customers do not want. Secondly, we can establish precise metrics to track and measure our success.

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Key Takeaways

The 20% that gave me 80% of the value.

  • Early-stage startups quickly learn about their customers and what motivates them. The speed of discovery and decision making is furious. The feedback loop from the market is informal but fast.
  • As startups grow, founders are spread thin, critical decisions will take longer. They speak to customers less and learning velocity slows
  • The Product Momentum Gap: the difference between the high growth curve expected of a startup and average growth
  • Product Management is about discovering customer empathy based on evidence.
  • It can’t be solved by founders getting close to the product. Their knowledge of customers is now out of date, the customer base has broadened and new use cases are evolve.
  • You know you’re about to fall into the gap if…
    • there’s misalignment and misunderstanding about the target customer
    • the product team lose track of customer needs
  • To bridge the product momentum gap, product leaders need to create transparency and alignment.
    • Establish a clear measurable direction to create value
    • Improve visibility and buy-in across the business
    • Streamline product development prioritisation
    • Build a confident product team that can deliver faster
    • Create a clear path to providing product value (that moves key business metrics)
  • The Product VCP connects your product strategy, objectives and roadmap with a connected focus on customer value
    • To align everyone → remove ambiguity around how the product generates customer value
  • Product VCP vs Traditional Product strategy:
Product VCP
Traditional Product Strategy
· Who are you solving problems for? · Why is this valuable to the customer? · What experiences do you want to? · What behaviours or actions will generate value? · How to measure how your product impacts valuable behaviours and actions
Outcome: What you want to achieve · Product Vision · Goals · Initiatives Market: Customers and Landscape · Personas · Competitors · Technology Trends · Distribution channels Action: How you will achieve results · Business models · Positioning · Pricing Strategy
  • Value is the moment a customer finds a repeatable behaviour that brings positive impact
  • Bringing customer value into product strategy helps align the organisation and foster shared sense of purpose
  • We need to understand the intersection between user behaviour, customer value and business goals
    • Often user behaviours are missing from product strategy
  • You need a clear product vision AND a measurable product strategy
  • Align around the value of product development: what you’re building and why
  • After the vision is understood by all → craft a product strategy that shows how value will be delivered
  • The Product Strategy should build alignment by showing how strategic initiatives will impact the customer and support business objectives.
    • Agree on user behaviours to influence
    • User behaviours are captured as value indicators (to measure value creation / success)
    • If the value indicators are going in the right direction we’re creating value
  • The VCP should narrow the types of problems and solutions you focus on → and identify the target audience of your product. It helps with focus.
  • The Product Value Chain: User behaviour → Customer Value → Business Goals
    • Product Strategy needs to talk about user behaviours! (Most don’t)
  • We need transparency on which user behaviours the product team can impact and is aiming to impact
  • By articulating the product strategy in terms of user behaviour to create or modify → it becomes actionable to a product team → but also creates guardrails for innovation
  • Business Goal
    Customer Value
    User Behaviour
    Increase revenue
    Reduce operating costs
    Faster invoice reconciliation
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  • Complete in this order:
    • Write business objectives (usually acquisition, retention and upsell)
    • Capture the benefits you want to create for customer
    • Highlight why the value is significant to the customer
    • Armed with the why, revisit the customer values
    • Draw lines between customer values and the primary business objectives
image
  • Take each customer value point from the map, and examine…
    • How would the customer recognise this value?
    • What are the customer KPIs? How does the customer measure it?
    • What customer actions or behaviours impact value?
    • How could the product help enhance those behaviours?
  • Target repeatable behaviours, look for consistent activities that continuously offer customer value
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  • Align stakeholders on the precise user behaviours that the product should nurture to generate value
  • For each behaviour, define how it needs to be modified to achieve more customer value
  • Every customer action, there’s a modifier that needs to be in place that will give us the customer value we’re looking for
  • Merge and consolidate similar items, prioritise to 5 or less (you need focus)
  • Without clear prioritisation it’s impossible to execute. Not everything can be addressed immediately
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  • The product development process is more impactful if you measure progress against value assumptions
  • Leadership are often tempted to revert back to top-level business metrics (e.g. ARR or Churn Rate)…. BUT you must measure what happens when your product makes contact with the user
  • Clarify the change you are measuring → how the customer value it creates can be tracked → then consider if the customer outcome metric is leading or lagging
    • You must measure value assumptions in the form of lead indicators. Lagging indicators are strategically important but useless in day-to-day product development
  • Identify metrics that quickly display the direction of measurement. Speed of signal is more important than accuracy
  • Then look closely at how features perform after release. You should be able to quickly validate the release.Loop back into product strategy decisions.
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  • Continuously promote a culture of learning and accountability using the Product VCP and value indicators
  • Don’t dictate what to build, but do prioritise alignment with to ensure everyone is pulling in the right direction
  • The Product VCP articulates product strategy as achievable measurable goals focused on the user.
  • A product strategy defines how product investment will get you closer to the product vision
  • Articulating the product strategy well can make a big difference to creating alignment
    • Focus on the three key aspects:
      • Why is it important to the business?
      • What value will the customer get?
      • How will the product deliver that value?
Business Vision
Product Vision
Who you are What you do Why you do it What the business goals are
Who the target audience is What is the concept and experience of the product What are the key benefits Main competitive advantage
  • If the leadership dictate solutions in their strategy, they’re doing the job of the product team but without the evidence and customer contact they have. Which risks wasting time and resources.
  • Leadership are there to create alignment and purpose.
  • Trust isn’t blind faith. The Product VCP is a good balance, it sets some guardrails and is possible to monitor
  • The two levels of value assumptions operate at two levels in the value chain:
    • Product Impact: How to change the product → to change behaviour → and create more customer value
    • Strategic: How created customer value → translates into business goals
  • Understand your assumptions, be clear about them, and ensure everyone is aligned on them
    • Then direct your efforts towards user behaviours
  • Value indicators: a list of leading metrics that signify the status of the user behaviours that are of strategic interests
  • Improvement in a value indicator → means we’re positively influencing user behaviour → if assumptions are correct, this will create customer value → which should impact business goals
  • The strategic value matrix can help provide a measure of value and feed into other prioritisation methods
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  • There’s a row for each item to be evaluated, and columns for each value indicator from your Product VCP
    • Evaluate the size of the impact or value for each value indicator for each item
    • Score with a range between -1 to 2 (-1 is value destruction, 2 is significant value)
    • Add together the score for each strategic bet, and put that in the total column
  • Your product Objectives and KRs should focus on building customer value by creating or modifying behaviours for your users
  • Strategic bets will be tied to value indicators → which are tied to objectives mapped to specific user behaviours you’re looking to change
  • You can use a problem outline:
    • What problem are we trying to solve?
    • What’s our hypothesis?
    • What is the value for the customer?
    • What is the value for the business?
    • Are there any main action points?
    • Do we have any linked documentation or evidence?
    • How do we measure success?
  • An objection to this approach is that there’s no time to experiment. But progress doesn’t only come from shipping, it also comes from understanding how and why something might provide value.
  • There’s a difference between building what people ask for and building what people need
  • As a product team you create value by:
    • Having clarity on company goals:
      • A clear company vision paves the way for a product vision
      • A product vision helps you create a product strategy
      • Clear company goals help facilitate measurable product goals, tracking and progress
    • Having alignment around who your customer and user it
      • establish your product in a specific target market
      • then expand to adjacent segments strategically
    • Solving [the right] customer problems
      • Which initiatives support your company goals?
      • Which of those initiatives help reach a customer outcome?
      • Then … where can you experiment further?
Allow us to be blunt: It's time to stop squandering resources by using a roadmap as the primary means of executing your product strategy. It doesn’t work.
  • Empower your product teams to take the reins. Providing them with more clarity is essential.

e transparent and communicate your Product VCP to the entire organisation

  • Take a moment to add more context, and communicate what you’ve done and why clearly to the organisation:
    • We have built feature x,
    • which helps customers reach [a specific outcome.]
    • This serves [customer segment] in our product vision,
    • provides [this particular experience],
    • influences these [behaviours]
    • And aligns [with company goal x]
    • and impacts this [key result.]
  • Include your roadmap, strategy and production vision in decision-making presentations
  • You can communicate using the product value pyramid
    • Whose life are you improving?
    • What problem are you solving?
    • Why is this important?
    • What experience do you want to provide?
    • What behaviours do you want to influence?
  • Product-market fit isn’t binary or static. The market is evolving and customer needs are shifting
  • When companies with a good product struggle to grow, it can be that they’re positioned towards the wrong market
  • Go through the product value pyramid with product marketing and marketing teams to get on the same page about your target customer
Weak positioning comes from a lack of alignment across various departments April Dunford
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Deep Summary

Longer form notes, typically condensed, reworded and de-duplicated.

Part 1: Introduction

The Problem: The Product Momentum Gap

  • Early-stage startups quickly learn about their customers and what motivates them. The speed of discovery and decision making is furious. The feedback loop from the market is informal but fast.
  • Founders will break to focus on funding. If successful funding is secured to scale the team. The company is expected to grow at a rapid clip
  • More people and more initiatives mean the founders are further from the customers. Somewhat distracted, critical decisions will take longer as the founders time is spread thinner. Speaking to customers less, learning velocity slows
  • Soon it’s clear there’s not a solid understanding of the roadmap, and cadence is slowing. There’s confusion over product strategy, conflicting opinions hiding in plain sight.Sales and marketing cast a broader net to secure sales, pushing to customers for who the product wasn’t designed
  • Symptoms:
    • Customers aren’t getting the features promised in the sales process
    • Sales cycles slow down, as competitors close feature gap
    • Customer service bombarded with repetitive issues
    • Leadership can’t see how and where product development is creating value
  • Founders feel they need to stop churn, increase sales and increase customer lifetime value all at once. If everything is a priority, nothing is.
  • Leadership are frustrated as additional resources aren’t providing results
  • The Product Momentum Gap: the difference between the high growth curve expected of a startup and average growth
  • Product Management is about discovering customer empathy based on evidence.
  • It can’t be solved by founders getting close to the product. Their knowledge of customers is now out of date, the customer base has broadened and new use cases are evolve.

How do you know if you’re about to fall into a gap?

  • Reason 1: Misalignment and misunderstanding about the target customer
    • Sales teams approach prospects that don’t match the target customer
    • Conversion rates suffer, so does churn
  • Reason 2: Product team loses track of customer needs
    • Product team are guessing and churning features

Bridging the Product Momentum Gap

  • Product leaders need to create transparency and alignment.
    • Establish a clear measurable direction to create value
    • Improve visibility and buy-in across the business
    • Streamline product development prioritisation
    • Build a confident product team that can deliver faster
    • Create a clear path to providing product value (that moves key business metrics)

The Solution: The Product Value Creation Plan (VCP)

  • Do you understand what value your product is providing and how it achieves it?
  • The Product VCP connects your product strategy, objectives and roadmap with a connected focus on customer value
  • There’s often misalignment between product development and the end user
  • Product strategy often defines a value proposition BUT not the path to realise the value
  • Teams think they have consensus on customer value BUT they diverge on the product’s method to deliver that value.
  • To align everyone → remove ambiguity around how the product generates customer value
    • Precisely, we need to look at how we’re changing user behaviour with each update
  • Product strategy is focuses on how to get closer to the product vision
  • Product VCP focuses on what user behaviours or actions will create value.
  • Product VCP vs Traditional Product strategy
Product VCP
Traditional Product Strategy
· Who are you solving problems for? · Why is this valuable to the customer? · What experiences do you want to? · What behaviours or actions will generate value? · How to measure how your product impacts valuable behaviours and actions
Outcome: What you want to achieve · Product Vision · Goals · Initiatives Market: Customers and Landscape · Personas · Competitors · Technology Trends · Distribution channels Action: How you will achieve results · Business models · Positioning · Pricing Strategy
  • Value is the moment a customer finds a repeatable behaviour that brings positive impact
  • By focusing on value, teams can identify and prioritise the most impactful problems to solve.
  • A value-driven culture cultivates a deep understanding of customer needs and desires → making it easier to delight customers and create loyalty
  • Bringing customer value into product strategy helps align the organisation and foster shared sense of purpose
    • Alignment empowers teams and collaboration becomes easier
  • Focusing on customer-value makes it easier to deliver on business goals.
  • Customer Value → innovative solutions → strong adoption → achieve business goals
  • We need to understand the intersection between user behaviour, customer value and business goals
  • Take responsibility → features we build influence user behaviour
  • Shift leadership from thinking about features to focusing on user behaviour
  • Often user behaviours are missing from product strategy
  • Four main areas to explore:
Target audience
helps teams understand customers and their use cases
Customer Value Explorer
identifies user behaviours that create value for customers
Value assumption builder
articulates valuable user behaviours that product teams can influence
Product Value Creation Tracker
to monitor value indicators and track product impact on user behaviours
  • You’ll be able to build products that enable, prevent or encourage certain behaviours.

Part 2: Building a Product VCP

Product Vision

  • As a company scales, decision making slows and becomes more distributed. Fight this with alignment and transparency.
  • You can get lost in problems and features.
  • Align around the value of product development: what you’re building and why
  • You need a clear product vision AND a measurable product strategy
  • The product vision is the foundation upon which decisions should be made
    • Clarity on target market
    • The high-level problem you’ll be solving for the market
    • How you stack up against the competition
  • After the vision is understood by all → craft a product strategy that shows how value will be delivered
  • The Product Strategy should build alignment by showing how strategic initiatives will impact the customer and support business objectives.
    • Agree on user behaviours to influence
    • User behaviours are captured as value indicators (to measure value creation / success)
    • If the value indicators are going in the right direction we’re creating value
  • The VCP should narrow the types of problems and solutions you focus on → and identify the target audience of your product. It helps with focus.
    • Focus on a niche customer segment and focus on providing value for them
    • Your strategy needs to answer who are you serving next? To sustain customer traction you need to keep appeal high to your original segment as you broaden the market

The Product Value Chain

  • Don’t throw things at the wall. You need evidence to understand why a solution deserves spending time on.
  • How do features create value? User adopts feature → user behaviour changed → value realised
  • The Product Value Chain: User behaviour → Customer Value → Business Goals
    • Product Strategy needs to talk about user behaviours! (Most don’t)
  • We need transparency on which user behaviours the product team can impact and is aiming to impact
  • By articulating the product strategy in terms of user behaviour to create or modify → it becomes actionable to a product team → but also creates guardrails for innovation
  • Business Goal
    Customer Value
    User Behaviour
    Increase revenue
    Reduce operating costs
    Faster invoice reconciliation
  • Stakeholders can debate the value assumption and evaluate the risk of value creation.

Mapping the value

  • Start with your business goals and map them to customer value
  • Focus on the business objectives and clarify the value your customer will receive
  • A clear business strategy and complimentary product strategy make this easier
  • Capture your current thinking around customer value
    • You should have supporting evidence (product research, customer interviews, market research, customer feedback)
    • If you don’t have evidence, do some more discovery
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Boxes are deliberately small to force brevity

  • Do the exercise with stakeholders, start a debate and leave with alignmnet
  • Complete in this order:
    • Write business objectives (usually acquisition, retention and upsell)
    • Capture the benefits you want to create for customer
    • Highlight why the value is significant to the customer
    • Armed with the why, revisit the customer values
    • Draw lines between customer values and the primary business objectives
      • Use dotted lines for secondary ones

Exploring the value

  • The value explorer clarifies each customer value, ensuring they align to business objectives
  • Take each customer value point from the map, and examine…
    • How would the customer recognise this value?
    • What are the customer KPIs? How does the customer measure it?
    • What customer actions or behaviours impact value?
    • How could the product help enhance those behaviours?
      • Caution: don’t jump to the first thing
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  • Discuss collaboratively, you’ll get to a better understanding of your assumptions
  • Target repeatable behaviours, look for consistent activities that continuously offer customer value
  • Are you best positioned to create the value?

Value Assumption Builder

  • Align stakeholders on the precise user behaviours that the product should nurture to generate value
  • Start by listing all the customer behaviours from the previous exercise (don’t worry about prioritisation yet)
  • For each behaviour, define how it needs to be modified to achieve more customer value
  • Every customer action, there’s a modifier that needs to be in place that will give us the customer value we’re looking for
  • Merge and consolidate similar items, prioritise to 5 or less (you need focus)
  • Without clear prioritisation it’s impossible to execute. Not everything can be addressed immediately
image

Tracking Value Creation

  • The product development process is more impactful if you measure progress against value assumptions
  • Leadership are often tempted to revert back to top-level business metrics (e.g. ARR or Churn Rate)…. BUT you must measure what happens when your product makes contact with the user
    • You must measure value assumptions in the form of lead indicators
      • Lagging indicators are strategically important but useless in day-to-day product development
    • You need a daily measurement loop that can inform decisions quickly
    • Action needs metrics that provide rapid feedback
  • Value assumptions aren’t easy to align with a leading metric.
    • Identify metrics that quickly display the direction of measurement
    • Even if accuracy is less critical
    • These are ‘value indicators’ (how to measure the value of a feature over time)
    • It’s OK if the indicator is loosely connected, but everyone must be comfortable it will change when behaviour is modified
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  • Clarify the change you are measuring → how the customer value it creates can be tracked → then consider if the customer outcome metric is leading or lagging (aim to use only leading metrics)
  • Then look closely at how features perform after release. You should be able to quickly validate the release.
  • Use the tracker provided. Review the lagging metrics once per quarter too.
  • Loop back into product strategy decisions
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How to make this happen

  • The Product VCP sets the direction for the product teams in terms of user behaviour. Providing more clarity for Product and surrounding functions
  • Bring the focus back to the purpose of why your product exists (using the product vision)
  • Continuously promote a culture of learning and accountability using the Product VCP and value indicators
  • Don’t dictate what to build, but do prioritise alignment with to ensure everyone is pulling in the right direction
  • The Product VCP articulates product strategy as achievable measurable goals focused on the user.
  • Pendo: 80% of features released are rarely or never used.

Part 3: Creating Alignment

Transforming to strategic outcomes

  • You might have to rewrite the product vision if it’s not strong enough to support the Product VCP
    • Focus the product vision on the product experience
  • You can identify JTBD (Jobs to be done) but the VCP will give the clarity and define how the customers’s perceived value will grow when using your product
  • The Customer Value Explorer drives key conversations around which user behaviours would be game changers.
  • Focusing on behaviours not features creates a stronger link back to the business plan
  • Value assumptions drive clarity → and can prompt further discovery
  • The Product VCP is the key to becoming outcome focused.
  • Soon the product team will be held accountable to VCP metrics, not shipping features

Articulating your strategy

  • A product strategy defines how product investment will get you closer to the product vision
  • The product vision will achieve the business goals (and therefore linked to the business strategy)
  • Articulating the product strategy well can make a big difference to creating alignment
  • Focus on the three key aspects:
    • Why is it important to the business?
    • What value will the customer get?
    • How will the product deliver that value?
  • The product strategy and roadmap shouldn’t be treated as being written in stone
  • Don’t use the product roadmap to explain the how. Don’t adhere to solutions without being flexible. Give yourself space to change things that don’t work (or won’t work)
  • Think of the ‘how’ as the high level user behaviours you want to change in some way
    • This bridges the gap between strategy and execution
    • Measuring the changes brings accountability
    • Focusing on the changes in behaviour creates freedom for teams to find the right solutions

Organisational Alignment

  • Your business vision and product vision should be different things
  • Create a separate product vision that…
    • supports your business strategy
    • guides your product strategy
    • unites your team around a shared set of values and goals
Business Vision
Product Vision
Who you are What you do Why you do it What the business goals are
Who the target audience is What is the concept and experience of the product What are the key benefits Main competitive advantage
  • People don’t require permission to do great work → they need a culture that supports risk, bravery, learning and experimentation
  • Empowered teams have the flexibility to innovate, the autonomy boosts motivation
  • Clear product visions are empowering.

Creating Transparency and Trust

  • To have a roadmap you must first have a strategy and a direction
  • Set direction, don’t dictate solutions
  • If the leadership dictate solutions in their strategy, they’re doing the job of the product team but without the evidence and customer contact they have. Which risks wasting time and resources.
  • One the direction, strategy and value are aligned they should be articulated in a product roadmap
    • Solutions are commitments, and they’re hard to change
    • Focus on outcomes that will empower teams to explore solutions together
    • It’s easier to create an outcome based roadmap having done the Product VCP
  • Leadership are there to create alignment and purpose.
  • Focus on the problem space, formulate hypotheses and design experiments to test them
  • Trust your teams to learn from the process.
  • Trust isn’t blind faith. The Product VCP is a good balance, it sets some guardrails and is possible to monitor

Part 4: Driving Accountability with Action

Initiative Prioritisation

  • Complexity of Product Strategy can hinder initiative prioritisation
  • The Product VCP clarifies value assumptions and highlights user behaviours to influence
  • Value assumptions are hypotheses about how a product will create value for users
  • The two levels of value assumptions operate at two levels in the value chain:
    • Product Impact: How to change the product → to change behaviour → and create more customer value
    • Strategic: How created customer value → translates into business goals
  • Understand your assumptions, be clear about them, and ensure everyone is aligned on them
    • Then direct your efforts towards user behaviours
  • Value indicators: a list of leading metrics that signify the status of the user behaviours that are of strategic interests
  • Depending on user behaviour, the metrics may have to be A guiding indicator (not a direct measure)
  • Improvement in a value indicator → means we’re positively influencing user behaviour → if assumptions are correct, this will create customer value → which should impact business goals
    • Product teams should be able to focus on value indicators
      • Cross reference them with lagging indicators, and qualitative data
  • The strategic value matrix can help provide a measure of value and feed into other prioritisation methods
image
  • There’s a row for each item to be evaluated, and columns for each value indicator from your Product VCP
    • Evaluate the size of the impact or value for each value indicator for each item
    • Score with a range between -1 to 2 (-1 is value destruction, 2 is significant value)
    • Add together the score for each strategic bet, and put that in the total column

Back to Basics with OKRs

  • Teams should clarify their goals
  • OKRs should be used to create focus
  • Product Vision → Product Strategy → Product VCP
  • Objectives cascade from the business down to the product level.
  • OKRs help phase and execute strategic plans
  • The Product VCP can help you define the right OKRs
  • Your product Objectives and KRs should focus on building customer value by creating or modifying behaviours for your users
    • Product OKRs should delve into granularities of user experience, feature adoption and product quality
    • Product leadership need to help product teams translate broader business objectives into tangible product improvements
      • Strategic bets will be tied to value indicators → which are tied to objectives mapped to specific user behaviours you’re looking to change
  • You can use a problem outline:
    • What problem are we trying to solve?
    • What’s our hypothesis?
    • What is the value for the customer?
    • What is the value for the business?
    • Are there any main action points?
    • Do we have any linked documentation or evidence?
    • How do we measure success?
  • Here’s how it can work:
Business Objective
Value Assumption
User Behaviour
Increase ARR
Increase processing of multiple streams of data
Increase awareness
Reduce friction when handling multiple streams of data
Increase number of data streams ingested by each user
  • Now as OKRs
Objective
Key result
Increase awareness of features allowing users to process more data. Resulting in 20% increase of multiple data stream processing
100% of new users are educated about it
Suggest to 100% of users who have multiple streams to add other streams
Achieve 80% user comprehension of how to find multiple stream processing features
⚠️
I’m not sure it’s best practice to put a KR into the objective itself

Experimenting with value assumptions

  • An objection to this approach is that there’s no time to experiment. But progress doesn’t only come from shipping, it also comes from understanding how and why something might provide value.
  • Experimentation provides insight into what to build and what not to build
  • Testing product ideas helps you gauge the response from users. If wrong then you have…
    • avoided building the wrong thing
    • learned if solving the problem is feasible
    • gained knowledge about what might work better
  • Consider dual track agile and low-code solutions to learn faster
  • Prioritise innovation by putting learning at the forefront of everything you do
    • celebrate mistakes, be agile in approach, have a supportive culture of psychological safety
  • Speeding up customer feedback loops allows you to learn and iterate fast enough to stay ahead of the market while making your customers feel included in the process
  • To promote a culture of experimentation you need to invest time in discovery

Taking accountability

  • There’s a difference between building what people ask for and building what people need
  • As a product team you create value by:
    • Having clarity on company goals:
      • A clear company vision paves the way for a product vision
      • A product vision helps you create a product strategy
      • Clear company goals help facilitate measurable product goals, tracking and progress
    • Having alignment around who your customer and user it
      • establish your product in a specific target market
      • then expand to adjacent segments strategically
    • Solving [the right] customer problems
      • Which initiatives support your company goals?
      • Which of those initiatives help reach a customer outcome?
      • Then … where can you experiment further?
  • A Product VCP helps highlight where and how initiatives will have an impact towards your company goals.

How to make this happen

Allow us to be blunt: It's time to stop squandering resources by using a roadmap as the primary means of executing your product strategy. It doesn’t work.
  • Product teams need a strategy that guides them on which problems to solve without prescribing specific features.
  • Empower your product teams to take the reins. Providing them with more clarity is essential.
  • Don’t conflate a business strategy with a product strategy → this fails to create alignment about what the customer finds valuable and what behaviours we’re trying to change

Part 5: Selling Value

Communicating Value Beyond the Product Team

  • Be transparent and communicate your Product VCP to the entire organisation
  • Take a moment to add more context, and communicate what you’ve done and why clearly to the organisation:
    • We have built feature x,
    • which helps customers reach [a specific outcome.]
    • This serves [customer segment] in our product vision,
    • provides [this particular experience],
    • influences these [behaviours]
    • And aligns [with company goal x]
    • and impacts this [key result.]
  • Include your roadmap, strategy and production vision in decision-making presentations
  • Lack of communication is a bigger issue that potential product leaks
  • You can communicate using the product value pyramid
    • Whose life are you improving?
    • What problem are you solving?
    • Why is this important?
    • What experience do you want to provide?
    • What behaviours do you want to influence?

Achieving and Maintaining Customer Traction

  • Product-market fit isn’t binary or static. The market is evolving and customer needs are shifting
  • Feature parity isn’t a strategy. To outpace the competition you need to identify gaps in the market and address them in your own way
    • Identify a problem in the market and find a better customer experience to solve it
  • A better understanding of customer problems will give you the edge over others
    • Faster feedback loops and a higher learning velocity → then use that to iterate quickly
  • Products fail when they don’t solve the right problem, or try to solve too many
  • You need a solid grasp of market needs and who your target customer it
  • Add focus in order to grow steadily, and don’t get distracted
  • Validate your strategy, be open to being wrong.
  • Keep asking the two basic questions:
    • What problem are we solving?
    • Why is it valuable to the customer?

Positioning

  • When companies with a good product struggle to grow, it can be that they’re positioned towards the wrong market
  • Go through the product value pyramid with product marketing and marketing teams to get on the same page about your target customer
  • Use your Product VCP to align marketing and sales with product.
  • The positioning of the product needs to have the value assumptions at the hear of it too
Weak positioning comes from a lack of alignment across various departments April Dunford