Roadshows and rolling out product strategy

  • 21 December 2021
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Userlevel 1
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It’s that time of the year where we are all jotting down (or reading) product strategy docs so I wanted to share what I’ve done in the past…

 

I’ve always done half-yearly planning and provide a product strategy doc with the assumptions, business context, strategy, objectives and key results documented. I then share this doc broadly with the product/EPD org and go over the OKRs all hands, etc. but what I’ve often found is that many folks don’t read this doc, primarily because they are all too busy with existing commitments. If teams don’t read the doc, internalize the strategy and explicitly commit, it’s harder for a strategy to stick so the question is, how to get the teams to read the strategy doc, ask clarifying questions and commit to it?

 

One thing I learned from mentors is the idea of doing roadshows with individual teams where the goal is to talk through the strategy, contextualize it for them, take their questions and clarify the strategy and ideally get them to give you the thumbs up. People tend to be more comfortable asking questions in smaller groups so you will uncover things you may not have thought about. It’s also a great opportunity for product leaders to engage directly with teams and get a better sense of what’s top of mind for them.

 

Any other suggestions to make the product strategy stick?


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Userlevel 5
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Yeah, I’ve learned that documents can easily fly over the heads of our colleagues because we do them day-in and day-out (adding another to that stack just feels a bit more daunting, especially around the End of Q4/beginning of Q1). Roadshows with your teams makes for a solid approach, I think. Make sure you’re not trying to throw everyone into the same discussion.

Another approach you can take is try to get a few members from different teams to join the same roadshow. I’ve done this a few times with decent to moderate success - mostly because different perspectives will “inter-mingle” with one another and you can sometimes find crossover thoughts that lead to new ideas or direction. 

Just be mindful not to spark a heated discussion without any guidelines or rails. Not that passionate discussions are inherently negative, but there should be some sense of “what’s out of scope of this meeting” and “how far this meeting will push against that scope if it becomes less productive/informative.” 

Userlevel 4
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Great topic @SK2021 !

While I definitely haven’t figured this one out, a recommendation would be to make sure OKRs are ‘alive’ in every individual contributor’s day-to-day.

  • Do performance reviews take into account personal OKR contribution?
  • In 1-to-1’s, do managers systematically ask their direct reports how they’ve contributed to the team OKRs lately?
  • Are product decisions & resource allocations framed using OKR language?
  • Is there a (team) incentive to reach OKRs?
  • How often are OKRs measured? Is this communicated to everyone?

Team members will be more engaged with strategy documents when they feel how it impacts their daily work. When they believe it’s a thing just for managers to chew down and translate into marching orders, when they see OKRs only being mentioned once per quarter in a presentation by a department head, they won’t be bothered by it.