PRODUCTHEAD: There are only 5 product strategies

PRODUCTHEAD: There are only 5 product strategies

PRODUCTHEAD is a regular newsletter of product management goodness,
curated by Jock Busuttil.

how i made my products


Product strategy is how you will achieve your product vision

There are only 4 types of work after finding product-market fit

A step-by-step guide to building product strategy like Netflix

“Framework fanatics” and “optimisation optimists” mask the absence of product strategy

Using research to overcome organisational inertia to your product strategy


Marty Cagan wrote in 2016:

“While there’s many forms of strategy, what we care about here is product strategy. Which in short means: how do we make the product vision a reality, while meeting the needs of the company as we go?

(For more on product vision, take a look at my recent newsletter on the topic.)

There are only really five types of product strategy.

Flow diagram of 5 product strategies

They are:

  1. Find product-market fit
  2. Increase value
  3. Grow the user base
  4. Accelerate and scale
  5. Expand / diversify

Everything else is a combination or remix. I talk more about this in my video, Saving Yourself From Product Management Hell.

One of the main reasons why products fail is a poor choice of product strategy. What some people maybe don’t realise is that you need to use the right strategy for what you’re trying to achieve at that point in time. When your goals or priorities change, as should be expected, your strategy should also change.

So this week I’ve pulled together some good articles about where your product strategy sits in relation to corporate strategy and what work you need to be doing to form your product strategy.

I’m going to take some time to enjoy the holiday season, so your next PRODUCTHEAD newsletter will be on 4 January 2021. I hope you all have the chance to take — and enjoy — a break.

Speak to you soon,


what to think about this week

Product Strategy — Overview

Whatever the goal is, your strategy is how you’re planning to go about accomplishing that goal. Strategy doesn’t cover the details; those are the tactics we’ll use to achieve the goal. Strategy is the overall approach, and the rationale for that approach.

Focus, insights, action and management


Product Work Beyond Product-Market Fit

A lot of people believe that all their product problems will be solved by implementing the latest software development process fad. But the real problem is that there are different kinds of product work, each with their own processes, measures of success, and strategies.

One approach doesn’t fit all situations


Product Management Coaching

Whether you’re new to product management or have been a product manager for years, a coaching session can help you to step up your career.

We’ve coached people wanting to get into product management, product people with nobody in their organisation to manage them, and experienced product managers preparing to apply for a promotion.

A proportion of the fees from every coaching session is donated to charity. Contact us if you’re interested in finding out more.

How to Define Your Product Strategy

Crisp execution and high-cadence experimentation are critical, but having a clear product strategy supercharges your efforts. Strategic thinking enables you to think ahead, to effectively “skip quarters,” and to build enduring value.

Learn how Netflix built its product strategy


Rediscover the Forgotten Art of Product Strategy

As a product leader you might get away with not having a strong product strategy for a few weeks or months – maybe even a year or so. But eventually, it will catch up with you. And this means you will only ever be an OK product leader – rather than a great one.

Product teams often neglect strategy


How to Create a Product Strategy Without a Clear Company Strategy

Having “no company strategy” is one of the biggest issues facing product managers, according to a 2018 survey [PDF] of over 600 product people. After all, how can you set a reasonable direction for your product when you don’t know where your company is headed?

Overcoming corporate inertia


recent posts

The dirty little secrets of decision making

As individuals, we’re continually evaluating options and taking decisions. As product managers, we have the additional responsibility to balance the often competing needs of users, the business and wider ethical considerations. What makes one decision better than another?

How to make better decisions


What’s the difference between a product manager and a business analyst?

I’m asked questions about product management from time to time. This is one I’ve answered recently.

Like Sherlock Holmes for your business


Manage the whole product

A product is often a complex combination of several products and services. Some you create yourself, some are created by others. You’re responsible for the whole lot, even if they’re not all directly in your control.

What do Google, Tesla and Apple have in common with the Michelin Guide?


can we help you?

Product People is a product management services company. We can help you through consultancy, training and coaching. Just contact us if you need our help!

Product People Limited logo

Helping people build better products, more successfully, since 2012.

PRODUCTHEAD is a newsletter for product people of all varieties, and is lovingly crafted from sugar and spice and all things nice.

Read more from Jock

The Practitioner's Guide to Product Management book cover

The Practitioner's Guide To Product Management

by Jock Busuttil

“This is a great book for Product Managers or those considering a career in Product Management.”

— Lyndsay Denton

Jock Busuttil is a product management and leadership coach, product leader and author. He has spent over two decades working with technology companies to improve their product management practices, from startups to multinationals. In 2012 Jock founded Product People Limited, which provides product management consultancy, coaching and training. Its clients include BBC, University of Cambridge, Ometria, Prolific and the UK’s Ministry of Justice and Government Digital Service (GDS). Jock holds a master’s degree in Classics from the University of Cambridge. He is the author of the popular book The Practitioner’s Guide To Product Management, which was published in January 2015 by Grand Central Publishing in the US and Piatkus in the UK. He writes the blog I Manage Products and weekly product management newsletter PRODUCTHEAD. You can find him on Mastodon, X (formerly Twitter) and LinkedIn.

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