How to determine what product opportunity to pursue next
Use this playbook to map out your journey to achieve a cohesive alignment of roadmaps across products. Engage stakeholders, facilitate constructive discussion, aligns decision to business purpose and growth objectives, and make recommendations/decisions on what product opportunities to pursue next.
In its most dilute form, this playbook consists of 4 key steps:
STAGE 1: AFFIRM INVESTMENT CASE
Review and ensure you have a solid understanding of the business purpose and are clear of its growth objectives (Realistic) and timeframes:
WARNING: This is the MOST IMPORTANT step of this process that many skim through. The world of CEOs changes day by day, and with that the directives of their mandate and investor priorities. This means that while you may be trying to achieve a certain amount of outcomes for your product strategy, they can be completely misaligned to the business goals the CEO is ready to allocate capital towards achieving. In turn, this failed alignment makes it incredibly hard for you to achieve the support and investment needed to realise your vision!
If you find you are finding it hard to articulate these with confidence, I suggest you try to draft 4 to 5 potential options for the business to consider. Each option sets a varying set of growth parameters (e.g. around EBIDTA / Top Line Revenue etc.). Discuss these options with your teams, stakeholders and C-Level leadership team. The outcomes may surprise you!
Once the growth options are more in line with board expectations, your following actions become more apparent and more discussable by the simple elimination of options the business is unwilling to entertain. E.g., suppose the company is not willing to invest in inorganic growth. In that case, the chances of achieving X2 and beyond YoY growth may be reduced unless your work is accompanied by a parallel material investment in expanded GTM and Sales capabilities.
In this stage I emphasize the importance that you understand your investable parameters against the outcomes required within the timeframes expected.
This clarity will be imperative to inform your recommendations around which product opportunities to hunt, develop, and when. It will also help you communicate better with your teams and stakeholders.
Once the options are honed in around the top 2, you can start applying a more structured framework to make decisions in line with the work required to support and realise the value of the required focused objectives.
E.g. using the graphic above, if your organisation is on the non-organic growth path (generally > 15% YoY EBIDTA growth on a mature company), then it means that your business will need to grow by:
- Organic growth from the existing solutions you are building, shipping and selling, and by
- Acquiring or merging with similar/complementary businesses in your space.
This means you need to ensure resources and work capacity will deal with the mapping of people + product + process alignments and making hard decisions around what you will need to keep, eliminate, and merge. In the end, what will matter is your ability to deliver the required work to achieve the outcomes needed from your products, IN LINE, with the business objectives identified above.
As you can imagine, this clarity in focus impacts everything across:
- evaluating which processes are feasible/need immediate transformation,
- which software systems need priority modernisation,
- whether new GTM/products are required, how they will fit, what internal/external changes are needed etc.
STAGE 2: USE CLARITE FRAMEWORK TO MAP JOURNEY PARAMETERS
Now that you know where you are and where you want to go, start looking at your existing portfolio using the “CLARITE” framework:
CLARITY IS KINGDefine what success and customer value looks likeLEADDetermine viability within your team to deliver. Quantify the internal capacity to deliver that value desired, and how the business will support it.ACT ON VALUEUse Work Value Elements (WaVEs) to describe the individual works that need to happen.
Explore how to boost stakeholder engagement with WaVE, a language built on WORK VALUE.ROLL-UPPlace products into investment themes and know how they will contribute to the business purpose.
- Invest for new growth — (new features, new value, new markets, new …….) i.e. we will invest to grow customer value and sell more.
- Maintain — keep the value of the product. Enable renewals to work to expectation
- End-of-life — Product does not align to company growth targets, or market have made it obsolete, or product is more of a feature of a bigger product.
INVEST WITH INTENTIONAllocate effort with intention. Diligently allocate work capacity against your business priorities and investment products.TAILORAdapt your approach to any lessons learnedELIMINATERemove waste through automation to allow you to focus and do more.
STAGE 3: VALIDATE WITH MARKET ANALYSIS
Equipped with the outcomes from the CLARITE framework, you are well underway to improve your ability to map out roadmaps and decisions aligned to business purpose and growth objectives.
Analyse your data points that indicate an opportunity with your go-to-market and stakeholders. Validate your hypothesis against growing market indicators, trends, customers etc.
Enhance this process with complimentary playbooks we explored:
- Master the ways of talking about business value and stakeholder needs.
- Is your idea management system helping you create impact and ship value? Part 1 and Part 2.
- How to be a badass at engaging stakeholders, exploring ideas and CUSTOMER VALUE.
- How to expertly map work requests to actual BUSINESS VALUE and impact.
STAGE 4: MAKE DECISIONS.
Equipped with reasonable clarity around what you are trying to do, what your business needs, and what your stakeholders need, you are ready to make your decisions.
If the situation is not what you thought, then cut your losses and restructure your approach. On the other hand, if your recommendations have the most salient stars aligned, proceed at full velocity before anyone changes their mind!
Build fast, ship, Reassess fast!
“Be radically open-minded, but not easily persuaded”. Patrick Bet David
Products and go-to-market capabilities and opportunities come in various shapes and sizes. Having the clarity around what you are trying to achieve and the context within which you are trying to make it happen unlocks real opportunity and clarity around what options you need to focus on.
Good luck! and remember to GO GO GO!
NOTE: Views are my own, based on my observations and experiences. I believe in productive discourse and welcome opportunities to refine my understanding through discussion. Comment in the comments area below or reach out on firstname.lastname@example.org