Components of a Product Strategy by Marty Cagan


Components of a Product Strategy: focus, insights, action and management. Pleasing all the stakeholders, that’s not a strategy.

Why teams don’t even have a Product Strategy:

  • For a lot of companies Product Strategy is about pleasing all the stakeholders, but of course that’s not a strategy.
  • The main reason most companies don’t have a Product Strategy is because they are serving the business and not their customers.
  • Lack of Product Strategy if often a symptom; the real cause is that most companies still have the old IT project mindset and haven’t transformed yet.

What are the components of a Product Strategy

  • Focus​: focus is all about picking a few initiatives instead of 20-30
  • Insights​: leverage data from various sources: quantitative, qualitative, new enabling technologies and trends to narrow a set of problems that we want our Product team to tackle.
  • Action: ​assign problems to specific Product teams instead of features to build on a roadmap.
  • Management: ​there are a lot of changes on the way as your Product team is solving the set of problems you’ve given them. The key to riding the wave is active m​ anagement. Active management is often misunderstood with micromanagement. Managers should act as servant leaders where they enable and empower their teams.

How to go about picking the right initiatives to focus on

  • It’s the role of senior leadership team and most likely it’s about growth
  • When most teams get it wrong is them trying to figure out how to build features for top selected initiatives.

How often and at what point do you update your strategy

  • Product Strategy should change often based on insights, progress, market development as early as next quarter.
  • Usually Product strategy goes under major update every year and minor update every quarter.

How do you go about changing your way of doing business to the ways that best companies work

  • Most effective thing that motivate the change is fear, fear of competition and being disrupted.
  • If leaders are not sold for transforming, then it’s really hard to transform.

How to balance between short term and long terms goals

Short answer is Product Leadership; it is really their job to main the balance between optimization (aka short term goals) and discovery (long term goals).

Does the process of crafting strategy need to be collaborative?

No, crafting Product Strategy is less about collaboration and more about inclusion of key stakeholders and informed by data

How do you go about becoming a servant leader?

  • Stop micromanaging or wanting to make all the decisions
  • Be smart about your language and how you allocate work
  • Be careful about how you staff; if they’re offshore, it might not be as easy.


Marty Cagan – Source:

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