As a kid, I played a lot of Netball. I even went on to coach and umpire.
If you’re familiar with Netball, you’ll know that there is a classic Netball move which allows you to swivel on your landing foot and change direction, this move is called a ‘Pivot’.
It may have been all of the pivoting drills that my coach had me do as a kid, which set me up for numerous pivot’s I’ve since encountered as part of my work with different tech companies.
I’ll be using this post to pull together a series of steps that I’ve recently used, to help a company focus and pivot their business and product offerings.
Step 1: Identify the products currently on the company’s radar
We start by identifying what we’re working with. How many products are currently existing in some form? How many others have been identified, and are likely to exist into the near future?
Step 2: Get really clear about the vision for each Product
Work out who the customer is, why the product exists, where it will be available, the who, why, what, where, and when, but leave out the ‘how’ for now.
If this part is tricky, then try the “5 why’s” approach. Ask why 5 times until you reach the real answer.
Step 3: Identify available opportunities for each Product
This involves digging deep into what you know about each product. Opportunities, Gaps, Problems, Insights, Feedback, note it all down
Step 4: Identify themes and Urgency of each opportunity
Go through each opportunity and identify the key themes for each one. Then identify how important the opportunity is to the company. Does it need to be addressed Now (next 3 months), Next (next 3 – 6 months) or Later (next 6+ months)
Step 5: Break each Product’s vision into goals and outcomes
Use the Product’s opportunities to help the company identify goals and outcomes.
These are the goals that fall out of the product vision, and the outcomes that fall out of those goals (and opportunities). Keep this highlevel, and stay away from mentioning features at this point.
At this point, you’ll have a product strategy, for each product, Woop woop!
Step 6: Collate the most urgent outcomes from each product together
Once all of the Products have a strategy in place, pull out of the outcomes tagged as ‘Now’, into a central place.
Step 7: Re-validate the urgency of the collated list of outcomes
At this point, go through all of the collated ‘Now’ outcomes, and re-validate them as ‘Now’, ‘Next’, or ‘Later’. This time, be sure to think about resourcing, and budgets, such as the number of people the company has to build it’s products, the budget it wants to allocate to getting the products built etc etc
Step 8: Create your roadmap
Finally, the company can move from the hundreds of outcomes it began with, to a handful, that can be used to set a focused roadmap for the next few weeks or months
Step 9: Collate your metrics
When a company has a lot going on, it’s often because enough data hasn’t been collected to determine where the company should focus. Don’t despair if this is your situation. You can garner metrics the old fashioned way.
Collate a list of sales, or projects, or things that the company has done to earn revenue in the last 1-2 years with any of its existing products.
Go through the list and note down what the people working with those customers can remember about the customer interactions, for example, – What type of company was it?
– What roles did the users/customers hold?
– Did customers provide any feedback? Things that they particularly liked or disliked?
The intention behind this is to help us to identify:
– Which customers are using your products / why are they using it?
– Which customers aren’t using your products / why aren’t they using it?
– Who are your customers – is it a certain type of person, is it a certain role, is it a certain type of company, is it a certain use case?
– Ultimately: the goal will be to identify how we can add more value to your customers everyday, and become part of their daily workflow
Ideally, get the whole team involved. It’s really interesting to see how different people remember different things, which help to bring the pieces together.
Step 10: Get the team on board, and explain your ‘why’
Strategy work can often occur behind the scenes. So once you’re ready, get the team involved, explain the process that was taken to get to where you are, and why refocusing was necessary.
It’s also important to note that we haven’t discussed any features yet. Up until here, it’s all about understanding the problems that the company wants to solve as ‘Outcomes’ that it wants to achieve.
This strategy approach allows a company to really get it’s team involved, and leaves it up to the team, to use their experience to work out how to solve real problems.
Some companies freak out at this point, so I suggest if there are concerns about team members running rogue, then spend time with the team, or individuals to help them plan an approach for each roadmap item, and let them take ownership of their plan.
Have you used an approach like this one before? How has it worked for you? Let me know!