Creative Strategy Generation is Product Management

Bob Caporale, President of Sequent Learning Networks, shares the steps to developing an effective product strategy and how to adapt a strategy based on customer insights.

It’s easy to get caught up in the everyday demands on your time and lose sight of the big picture. Product managers are used to tackling data analysis, presentations, customer visits, team meetings and whatever else it takes to make the next release or meet numbers. However, as Bob discusses on this episode, it’s critical for product managers to take time out of their busy schedules to plan ahead and develop a strategy.

Bob is President of Sequent Learning Networks and the Author of Creative Strategy Generation. He previously led Thomas & Betts' Global Product Management and Technology teams, where he had oversight for over 50 brands and over 100 product lines, and led 6 acquisitions of multi-million dollar businesses. I was thrilled to ask him about the steps product managers should take to develop an effective strategy.

Bob says product managers should evaluate four key factors before developing a strategy:

  • Your customers
  • Your competitors
  • Your company
  • Your market

He encourages listeners to leverage the data they have access to on these four factors to make more informed decisions, and then fill in the gaps with user research and intuition.

Once you’ve developed your strategy, it should not be set in stone. Rather, Bob encourages product managers to adapt to evolving market dynamics and customer needs. “If you go out with an immovable plan, your plan is almost inevitably going to fail,” he says.  

Bob also shares his best advice for two of the other most common challenges associated with generating a strategy: getting buy-in from key stakeholders, and ensuring that the strategy is executed effectively. Here are the highlights:

  • The key elements of generating an effective strategy (4:35)
  • How Bob uses intuition in his approach to strategy (6:00)
  • The first steps product managers should take to develop an effective strategy (8:50)
  • How to incorporate customer insights into strategy (10:20)
  • When and how to change strategy (12:25)
  • How to align stakeholders with your strategy and ensure that it’s executed properly (15:10)
  • How product roadmaps should fit into business strategy (17:25)

Listen on iTunes, Stitcher or SoundCloud below.