(2016-07-15) Cagan Vision Vs Strategy

Martin Cagan on Vision vs. Strategy. in this article I want to talk more about product vision, and especially how important the role of product strategy is in delivering on the product vision.

The product vision describes the future we are trying to create, typically somewhere between 2 and 5 years out. For hardware or device-centric companies it’s usually 5-10 years out

It might be in the form of a story board, or a narrative like a white paper, or a prototype (referred to as a “visiontype”).

Product Strategy

Whatever the goal is, your strategy is how you’re planning to go about accomplishing that goal. Strategy doesn’t cover the details; those are the tactics we’ll use to achieve the goal. Strategy is the overall approach, and the rationale for that approach. While there’s many forms of strategy, what we care about here is product strategy. Which in short means: how do we make the product vision a reality, while meeting the needs of the company as we go?

The product strategy is our sequence of products we plan to deliver on the path to realizing the vision

For many B2B SaaS companies, each product-market fit focuses on a different vertical market

series of product-market fits.

(NOTE 4: Just because we achieve product-market fit for a specific market does not mean that we are done with work for that market. It just means that we’ve got that minimal actual product we can sell that is proven to meet the needs of the initial set of reference customers. We continue to improve the product for other customers in the market. We typically do that work in parallel with tackling the next market in our strategy.)

For consumer companies, we often structure each product-market fit around a different customer or user persona.

Sometimes the product strategy is based on geography

And sometimes the product strategy is based more on achieving a set of key deliverable milestones in some sort of logical and important order

the most important benefit is just that you decided to focus your product work on a single market at a time

Why are Product Vision and Product Strategy so important?

In order for a product team to actually be empowered and act with any meaningful degree of autonomy, the team must have a deep understanding of the broader context. This starts with a clear and compelling product vision, and the path to achieving that vision: the product strategy.


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