A boy playing Jenga

Product Strategy – Marty Cagan

Please note book links in this article are referral links and I make a small commission for qualified purchases

Listened to a great talk on product strategy by Marty Cagan, author or Inspired [It is one of the top books I recommend for Product Managers] . Here is a summary, you can also listen to the talk embedded below

On Product Strategy

  • Most companies don’t do strategy, they do roadmaps
  • McKinsey and likes would give you Business Strategy not Product strategy
  • It starts with a talented leader who identified 1 or 2 critical issues and how to derive leverage from them, and then have everyone focus
  • Why is Strategy Hard and how to do it:
    • Have focus : Most companies suck at it. They are not able to chose, leading to bad strategy
      • Focus first, prioritise later. Find things that can move the needle before making a feature list and prioritising them
      • If you work on too many things at once, everything slows down
    • Generate insight
      • This is where magic happens
      • Many companies ignore insights because they are too focused on satisfying the stakeholders
      • Insights lead to great product work
      • Qualitative insights
        • Come from customers , your or even your competitor’s
        • You can gather insights every single week
      • Quantitative insights
        • A/B test that surprises us
        • Lot of great insights are blends
      • Technology Insights
        • Things that are now possible
      • Industry Insights
        • Your and other industries ( Eg B2B learns from B2C)
      • Product Leader’s job is also to collect these learnings and disseminate
      • Leaders are “learning distribution machines”
    • Coordinate actions of each product team
      • Point is not to get features out faster
      • Hard part is working on the stuff that matters
      • Empowered teams are assigned problems to solve not features to build
      • Adding OKRs to feature teams is a flop. OKRs work for already empowered teams. So first move to empowered team model
      • For OKR to be success
        • Empowered product teams and not Feature teams[ recommended article]
        • Only product teams get Objectives not Individuals and managers to start
      • When an exec asks for a feature, they have taken the responsibility for its viability
      • Colocated squads are better for innovation
      • Its ok for multiple teams to focus on same problem, its intentional
    • Actively manage work
      • Active leaders not passive leaders
        • Objectives NEED to come from leaders
        • Servant- Leadership. Clear the road, remove the obstacles.
        • This is not less management, its better management
        • Its also not micromanagement
  • A product team serves the customer, a feature team is there to serve the business stakeholders
  • Short Summary
    • Product Vision: Destination where we want to be
    • Product strategy: Identify which problem to solve
    • Product Discovery: Tactics necessary to solve that problem. A roadmap is a strategy
    • Product Delivery: Build and ship
  • Recommended strategy Books

You can get Marty’s Audio book Inspired on Audible for free when you signup for free

I send infrequent newsletters. You can signup for them below.
* indicates required
What are you interested in

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.