Strategic Product Objectives
Our good friend Mary Jane has been busy at WeAreProducts. Different stakeholders approached her soon after she presented her plans for entering a new market and region. Most of them interested in detailing domain-specific tasks, as well as offering development and implementation resources.
It didn’t take long for the company’s legal department and local business office to approve her business proposal. Both agree that it’s feasible and worth pursuing. Her ambitious and daring idea resonated well with leadership. They are confident that Mary will take the right approach to expand WeAreProducts’ footprint and market share.
Shortly after getting approval, a team of Subject Matter Experts was assembled with the purpose of helping Mary analyze and plan a strategy for developing and launching the product. The board consisted of experienced interdepartmental analysts. Everybody understood the company’s goal and was excited to work on the project.
On their first meeting, Mary asked her subject matter experts:
- How can we engage with our potential customers?
- What actions are necessary to validate our product’s profitability?
- How many constraints do we have?
- Is there any reason why we should not enter this market and region?
WeAreProducts is preparing to take a new exciting endeavor. Let’s review in detail what Mary has been discussing with her board of SMEs. You can read more about Mary’s business proposal at The Business of Product.
Setting Business Objectives
The company’s vision is to be the technology leader for improving digital experiences. Mary’s new product vision is to be the best online platform for easy access to digital products. The idea is to create an online product catalog where users can post and comment on reviews. Unlike current options, Mary’s value proposition is the inclusion of social media capabilities.
The plan involves expanding to other regions, with the long-term goal of becoming an international product. Before hitting the global market, a pilot phase will be developed and deployed to a single country. In this way, the team can learn and gain experience to prepare for its expansion.
WeAreProducts has funded the project but asked Mary to use its revenue to continue development. The team meets regularly to come up with a plan to maximize ROI and minimize risk. As a seasoned Product Manager, Mary explains to her SMEs how she has managed to launch new products in complex environments where little is known.
Minimal Viable Product — MVP
“That version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.”
Mary explains that an MVP is the minimal presentation of the value proposition that customers can use. The MVP addresses a customer need in its simplest form. It’s a vertical slice of the product, providing just enough to solve the problem in question.
Minimal Marketable Product — MMP
Just like the MVP validates learning, the Minimal Marketable Product reduces the time to market. It encourages to build the minimal features that address the needs of initial users. Just enough to be marketed or sold. Its focus is on viability.
Mary describes how an MMP allows the team to acknowledge what features compose a sellable product. They represent what customers are willing to purchase. It also represents a step beyond the MVP in regards to simplicity.
Minimal Loveable Product — MLP
The Minimal Loveable Product is a version that users can love and adopt from the start. It focuses on aspects that customers adore about our value proposition. It helps identify which features generate customer impact. Its focus is on UX.
An MLP is what Mary’s targeting for its launch. The product is not only profitable, but it’s also attractive to customers. To achieve it, the team needs a good understanding of the targeted customer group. Strategic delighters are selected to gain MLP status.
In her experience, Mary has concluded that successful products fundamentally revolve around meeting customer expectations. If a company focuses on its customer’s needs, its value proposition can adapt to be technically feasible and business viable. If they do otherwise, failure is more likely to happen.
Once the team has identified its business objectives and learn about Mary’s techniques to develop successful products, it’s time to prioritize them and formulate a roadmap.
Creating a Product Roadmap
Mary conveys the idea of a roadmap that documents milestones as opposed to a detailed schedule. When uncertainty is high, it’s better to visualize a rollout plan rather than a meticulously scheduled delivery.
Product Dave explains it in detail in his post “3 Different Types of Roadmaps Every PM Needs to Master”.
Mary encourages the team to share and discuss ideas. Her board is composed of different domain SMEs, each with a unique point of view. Everybody’s contributions are valuable for the product’s success. Working with a holistic mindset can be challenging, so she proposes a couple of techniques to settle disputes and reach a consensus.
Force Field Analysis
Developed by Kurt Lewin in 1951, it’s a framework for visualizing the factors that influence a situation. It allows the analysis of the driving and hindering forces, facilitating decision-making. The team can use it to discuss strategies and tactics.
It’s a consensus-based technique for estimating effort. Once tasks are selected, the group writes their estimated level of effort and shares it along with their reasoning. Participants repeat the process until they reach a consensus. Planning poker is one of the most popular implementations of this technique.
Mary’s SMEs came up with the following:
- Reach local companies to form partnerships.
- Invest in local talent to establish a strong presence.
- Recruit volunteers through an insider program.
- Create a localized marketing strategy.
These ideas have proven to be reliable based on other company projects.
WeAreProducts’ long-term goal is to become an international company, and Mary’s product is part of their expansion strategy. Localizing their product, forming partnerships, and investing in local talent will help cement a strong presence while laying the groundwork for future endeavors.
After a few sessions, the team agreed to develop and test a beta version with potential customers through an insider plan. The development phase is estimated to take four months. Once completed, the collected information will allow the proper planning of the launch and support phases. WeAreProducts is supportive of the team’s approach and hopes to hear back from happy customers soon.
Customer Adoption Strategies
Just like our friend John, Mary knows that applying different strategies can lead a product to success. The objective is to provide users in the selected country the best online platform for easy access to digital products. The insider program will provide valuable feedback for its development. But once the product is ready, how will customers adopt it?
Product Management is not just about launching great products. It’s about delivering a great user experience that addresses a particular customer need in a feasible and viable way. Mary is well aware that customers are the product drivers. That is why the first impression is crucial for gaining them.
A simple and intuitive onboarding process will trigger dopamine production due to the quick accomplishment. Customers that rapidly pick up and use products are more likely to continue using them. Nir Eyal elaborates more on his fantastic book Hooked.
Center UX around your Value Proposition
All roads lead to Rome. This old saying presumes that all methods of doing something will achieve the same result in the end. It can also imply that different routes can reach the same destination. Mary’s Rome or value proposition is allowing: “…easy access to digital products”. By including the product differentiator of social media integration, customers can receive more added value.
Customers appreciate more simple and straightforward solutions. By focusing the UX around the catalog, product review, and comment posting, user engagement will be more likely. A product that delivers a fast and easy value realization has an advantage over other options.
The team can relate to these strategies. They all prefer simple solutions that provide fast results. The agreed approach also reduces the amount of work needed to develop the product, as it focuses on the most valuable features. Not just that, it also saves on resources and minimizes the time to market. Mary thought of everything; she covered the three dimensions of product management with a solid plan. As Leonardo Davinci said:
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
Mary and her team are excited about the possibilities this new endeavor will bring. Their expertise and findings make them confident in confronting the challenges of expanding to another market and region. Everybody trusts that together they will meet success.
Product Management has three dimensions: user experience, technical feasibility, and business viability. Mary worked on a proposal that puts customer’s needs at the center. Having an insider plan will provide valuable insights through a continuous feedback loop. By identifying key features and their simplest forms, technical development efforts were reduced, confirming its feasibility. Finally, discovering marketable features, reducing time to market, and saving resources maximizes ROI, which improves its viability.
We are happy for our good friend. She has continuously stepped up her game, sought new opportunities, and thrived in different environments. WeAreProducts is lucky to have such a leader in their ranks. We’ll have to wait and hear from Mary once she begins working on her market conquering activities!