Shipping product to 500 million users without knowing what strategy was? Sam Odio found himself in this position early in his career while working at Facebook Photos. In this ProductTank San Francisco talk, Sam, now with that experience behind him and as Head of Product at Fivestars, outlines:
- What a good product strategy looks like
- How to create a good strategy
Watch the video to see Sam’s talk in full. Or read on for an overview of his key points.
What Is Good Strategy?
When you look at different frameworks for defining a product strategy there are so many possible definitions. However, it’s not necessary to know a bunch of fancy terms. Product strategy also doesn’t need to focus on product vision.
Simply put, the product strategy is a way to overcome a challenge. The product vision is then an outcome of the product strategy. Strategy drives a group to focus on working against a common challenge in an uncommon way and is, therefore, a good story that evolves to articulate a defendable path to meet a challenge.
A Curious First Principles Mindset and Lean Hypothesis Testing
Sam explains that creating a good strategy requires mastery of three key concepts:
- A First Principles mindset
- Lean hypothesis testing
Boil the problem you face down to what you know is accepted truth. This allows you to identify your strengths and weaknesses. From weaknesses, you are able to get the challenges and potential opportunities to exploit them.
To test a hypothesis requires us, as product people, to distil the assumptions we have about the problem or solution, make these assumptions explicit and then rank them by the potential for impact.
The key takeaway from this talk is that identifying the current product strategy and the process of hypothesizing and testing new assumptions on how to improve can take a long time. Creating a new product strategy can take years. However, stakeholders may want you to fix the obvious thing and in some cases, this is exactly what might be required.
Regardless, the process remains the same.