No matter where you are in your career, start flexing that strategy muscle.

Not gonna lie…Product Strategy is f@%king hard work. Why? Because of it’s multidisciplinary nature.

A product is the vessel in which you create change, and it is smack bang in the middle of everything. It enables the business, it creates progress for your customers and is supported by technology and design. Product Strategy is the choices you are making in creating the future you and your team envision.

In short…it is a vital and important artifact in Product Management, and if you don’t have one…sorry to say but you are up shit creek without a paddle buddy.

Want to read…

An intense but truly rewarding program that gives you a serious upgrade as a Product Leader

Who else out there in Product Management is self taught? I’m going to take a guess and say a huge majority are, including you dear reader.

As our discipline matures, there is a rise in educational resources at our disposal beyond Product Owner Certifications and Design Sprint courses. Programs that are exclusively designed for Product Management.

I had the challenge and pleasure of being selected for the Reforge Product Strategy Accelerator Program and I am absolutely floored by the value it delivered to me.

The TLDR version: If you are in Product Leadership, get yourself in this program ASAP! If…

What got you where you are today won’t get you where you want to be tomorrow

Upgrade yourself to become a Product Leader
Upgrade yourself to become a Product Leader
Upgrade yourself to become a Product Leader

Not gonna lie….the gap between Product Manager and Product Leader is a bit of a jump. The distance…a chasm, and what you knew about building a product is going to need some serious upgrades to tackle the challenges that come your way as a Product Leader.

I was unprepared, but you don’t have to be. I’ll be sharing some of the upgrades that have helped me transition into the role of Head of Product.

Focus on building a better business, not better features

When you strip a product down to it’s core, what is it really?

It’s an investment vehicle. You put money in, then a Product Team transforms…

Use it then lose it on your path to becoming a kick ass Product Manager

Photo by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash

I started my career in Product Management in 2013. I was part of a large insurance corporate and I got the opportunity to step into the role of a Product Owner in a pretty amazing Scrum team.

What did I learn in this role? How to deliver projects and business cases using Scrum.

What didn’t I learn? Full Scope of Product Management.

I only learnt this when I leveraged my experience and got hired by a software product company. So why should you use then lose your Corporate Product Ownership role?

My observations are based on my own personal experience…

How integrating Jobs as Progress can create a stronger value proposition

With Part I: Evolving the Value Proposition, we looked at how by exploring external catalysts, constraints and the progress a customer is trying to make, we can re-frame our customer in what I believe to be a more complete view.

With an upgrade to what we know about customer, we are able to construct our products and services with a different approach.

What you’ll learn in this part if how to swap out Gain Creators and Pain Relievers for Progress Enablers and Constraint Counters with some examples through in there to help make the transition.

So let’s break it down…

How integrating Jobs as Progress can create a stronger value proposition

On my “Path to Head of Product” I came across Jobs to be Done and it completely changed my approach to Product Management.

Jobs to be Done? Isn’t that already part of the Value Proposition Canvas?

Yes, and No.

If you aren’t aware there are two very different schools of thought on this. I’m a strong proponent of the school of Jobs as Progress, and in a nutshell, it’s a theory that proposes customers buy products not because it meets current needs, but because they desire ‘progress’. They want to create a better version of themselves.

It changed me so…

Do we generate delight when we action on customer feedback, or are we only meeting expectations?

Photo by Diana Orey on Unsplash

Image a world where all you had to do to create delight in a customer was do what they say.

Get some feedback. Action on it. Release. Boom — delighted customer.

What a world to live in, but it isn’t the reality we are part of.

However in my experience, this becomes a primary mechanism for creating change in a product. We continue to try and action against the feedback received only to be met with another list of desires, not the big round of applause and raving reviews.

We keep pursuing the need for gratification that you are doing…

Always thinking a few steps ahead is vital in leading a successful product

Our brain is wired for gratification — we need to break free from it to create long term health for our products.

Chess isn’t won move by move, it is won through envisioning the future actions and consequences of each move made.

Something similar can be said about creating a product.

A successful product isn’t built decision by decision, but is built through an understanding of the consequence of each decision and it’s effect on all decisions to come.

This is the concept of first order and second order thinking. One calls up on our collective experience to make decisions with ease and minimal effort, the other calls up the need for deep-work and energy, and it isn’t easy. …

Be the first and get ready for a totally new ball game

There aren’t a ton of product positions out there. You only need one to be part of a functional scrum team, unlike the 5–7 positions that are filled by engineers. There are even fewer leadership roles in product.

So how the hell does an aspiring young Product Manager find their way to leadership?

My path was to circumnavigate the slow, internal climb and horizontally move between companies to become the first Product Manager somewhere, and it’s now paid off.

My other strategy involved letting go of everything that was prescribed to me as a contributor in Product Management, and start…

Blaine Holt

What do you get when you take a Kiwi that studied Bio and Psych and throw him at technology! A weird and wonderful mix. Head of Product @ HATCH

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