Balancing Resource Allocation in Multi-Product Strategies
Hey! Nacho here. Welcome to Product Direction’s newsletter.
Last week I ran a “High-Impact Teams In 2024 5-Day Challenge”.
Beyond being a lot of fun, it helped me learn about challenges leaders face to improve teams’ practices. I’m still exploring this further, so I’m booking a few calls to ask about challenges and, in return, do my best to offer some advice. If you are interested, you can book a call here.
Why do we create strategies?
To focus on the most critical problems or opportunities which will help us get closer to our vision.
And the first step of putting that focus into action is concentrating our resources there.
This is easier said than done, and the complexity becomes more evident when we have more than one product, at different maturity stages, and with very different strategic paths ahead of them.
While this problem can fall into the Portfolio Strategy space for larger corporations, startups also face this challenge when expanding.
In this episode, I spoke with Iryna Struk, who is running product management at HandsHQ, a startup with a mature product and another one trying to find product market fit.
We discussed not only resource allocation but also a broad set of topics, starting as usual with how they create strategy, how they handle context switches, and how they balance the different levels of uncertainty when planning.
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My takeaways from this episode
Iryna’s startup manages two products at different stages of maturity with a single team. To craft the strategy, she clarifies the company vision with the CEO and then collects insights from different areas of the organization. It usually starts with a whiteboarding session.
When selecting, they first see what opportunities fit the vision and then use business cases to prioritize among them.
They create strategic narratives and pillars to synthesize the storyline.
Getting to the core of the episode, we discussed how they balance time between the two products, and Iryna shared a few options:
They tried creating “bucket allocation.” However, it was challenging to track and decide what to do if something was not achieved when the time assigned ran out.
Now, they focus the strategy around one product. The trade-off is not progressing in both, but they can align and be clear on the one they target for growth.
One of the guiding forces to prioritize what product to focus on is the vision, which moves them away from a pure “ROI” analysis (that will put a stronger focus on the larger existing product) in favor of where we have more opportunity for future growth.
Interestingly, we discussed motivation, and Iryna shared that both could have motivating challenges: the existing product (solving problems for a more extensive existing user base) and the new one (solving a new problem in a new space).
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