Anyone who has taken my Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) workshop knows that I admire and use Roman Pichler's ideas and templates. Love his stuff! Why? Because his approach is practical and pragmatic, designed to help product owners get stuff done in ways that that are both strategic and practical, and he supports his ideas with models and templates that are freely available.
A recent blog post titled My Product Strategy Model is a great example. Here, Pichler first lays out the different parts of an effective product strategy based on 4 artifacts (side note, these are "artefacts" if you are using, as he does, the British spelling) from a compelling product vision to product strategy, then to product roadmap, and finally to a product backlog.
In the article, with accompanying videos, he describes the purpose of each artefact (uhhm, I mean artifact) and the connection with each artifact to a product strategy that is clear, cohesive, and outcome driven. To support your product strategy development, Pichler offers the Product Vision Board and the GO Product Roadmap templates.
I've used this model and the templates as an agile coach supporting different client efforts. Let me tell you about a specific example. At the time, I was working as an Enterprise Agile Coach for Intel Semiconductor, based in Oregon. A director approached me about helping their teams shift into Agile practices. We met, discussed, and decided that Scrum would be a good choice of practices for their product development efforts. He would act as the product owner for the 4 teams working on this product. None of the team members reported into his chain of command, so that worked.
As part of the Scrum adoption, we needed to create a reasonably coherent product backlog. That meant having a clear product vision. While everyone claimed they understood what the product was and why it was being developed, it was not clear to me that everyone held the same understanding. Much of the initial product discovery work had already been done but was kept inside people's heads. We needed something tangible that we could agree on and refer to. We used Pichler's Product Vision Board to start capturing these ideas in a way that everyone could relate to.
By using the layout that Pichler recommends in his product vision board, the shift into product roadmap planning went smoothly. Again, much of the initial work had been done, our efforts were more about taking those ideas and extending them into a layout that supported and pinned the program director's idea and was intuitive for others to understand. Identifying product goals that described outcomes was huge in helping add structure to everyone's efforts.
At this point, we brought all the scrum teams and stakeholders together and held an all-day session (this was pre-2020!) where we shared and discussed the product strategy using the product vision board and product roadmap as visual aids. That discussion set the direction for the entire group. We then spent several productive hours brainstorming and developing a User Story Map that everyone agreed on.
The features and functionality described in the initial user story map provided the structure and content for the product backlog that continued to be developed. From there, all the scrum teams could plan and execute in delivering value.
Roman Pichler's Product Strategy Model is a fun, functional way to develop a cohesive, coherent product strategy in a step-by-step approach. The next time you need to create or clarify a product strategy, try it for yourself and let us know how it goes.
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