Aurelius Podcast: Episode 7 with Jeff Gothelf on Product & Design Strategy

Episode 7 highlights:

  • Jeff's definition of product strategy
  • Bringing clarity to the process of building a product strategy
  • The difference between brand and product strategy, and how they work together
  • The single biggest factor that holds most companies back from having a great product strategy
  • Building a product roadmap and strategy that actually works
  • How to empower your teams to solve problems instead of only building features
  • Who owns the product strategy? Product managers or UX Designers?

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Are Product Roadmaps a Waste of Time?

Have you ever found yourself having worked very long and very hard on a product roadmap presentation for your senior management only to find that it didn’t have the impact you’d hoped?

How could this be? We had every resource, milestone, deadline and feature detailed to the letter. Yet, that meeting didn’t go the way we wanted, and we sure as hell don’t feel any more confident in the direction our product is going.

A product roadmap was supposed to fix our strategic problems and get all the stakeholders aligned. After the meeting, we go and make new updates to the roadmap and get ready for the next meeting. Several months go by and we realize, we’ve spent nearly all our time updating the roadmap or plan, but haven’t actually made any progress. Worse yet, someone eventually asks “did we talk with customers about this?” and that’s when it hits you… we may have a flawless plan to go and solve the wrong problems.

Product roadmaps give you “what” but not the “why”

I’d bet good money that if you have spent any significant time building product roadmaps, you eventually came to a point where you realized “this isn’t working”. You’re trying your best to get people on board with the design and product recommendations you’re making, but the roadmap just isn’t doing the trick. You make edit after edit and still, the senior management and design/development teams feel no more confident that we’re doing the right things. That’s because a product roadmap is a plan not a strategy.

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