Discover more from ProductDirection
Simplifying and Measuring Strategies
Expert Startup Product Manager advisor, Saeed Khan, walks us through the key elements of strategy
We all love good strategy stories. What is better than good strategy stories? The ones that are simple and that we can derive lessons to apply elsewhere.
In this episode, Saeed Khan shares his stories and thoughts collected over 25 years of product management experience.
Different from other episodes, in this one, we started with the core elements of strategy, which Saeed simplifies as building hypotheses on how you can achieve certain objectives. Making some mapping to the Playing to Win framework, he simplified the result of strategy as a set of Goals connected with Measures, which are connected to Actions.
We also reviewed some examples so you can apply these simple steps to your products.
Saeed has +25 years of experience in Product Management and is the founder of TransformationLabs.
Thanks for reading ProductDirection! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
My takeaways from this episode
Saeed defines strategies as hypotheses on how we can achieve an objective. He compares it with bets, choices we make to pursue a goal.
Strategies exist at different levels. Everywhere you have an objective and uncertainty, there will likely be a strategy.
We cover an example of a long-term strategy: in B2B, bundling a “smaller” product with larger products that were the core sale. The strategy's timeframe was long and undefined (“as long as we find opportunities to bundle that work”). It was essential to get measures that proved the strategy was working because the overall growth objective didn’t have a concrete end.
Saeed briefly described how the strategy helped frame the discovery efforts. They were looking for opportunities in the larger products that would fit their use case and talking with customers of the other products to check how they were covering the needs they covered with his smaller product.
While you don’t have certainty about the audacious goal you will pursue, it needs to be rooted in understanding the market, the situation, and your capabilities. My read of this statement is that regardless of what you think goes first, goals and strategy are intertwined. You need to have a realistic goal, which means you need to have some notion of why you think you can do things differently to get there, which is the root of your strategy.
We discussed the evolution of strategy in the last 20 years. Not going that far back, there was a huge focus on build, given how “easy” it was to fund projects and ideas. With the economic crisis, there seems to be a more substantial need to find and build the right things.
Finally, Saeed gives interesting advice for all product leaders: advocate for a more thoughtful approach to how we define objectives. I think this is the core value of the product direction phase.
Saeed shared insights from the book Invisible Women and how it can help Product people be aware of hidden biases in their decisions.
Don’t miss our next episode! Join our substack and be notified when the next episode is published.