Interested in Product Line Strategy and Roadmaps?
Can you name a successful company without a powerful product line? What about a company that failed because a product line died? It’s easy to see the impact product lines have on business health.
The problem is that good product line strategy gets lost in the culture of every-day work. Pressure for greater sales, lower cost, and even agility and speed can push product lines in unhealthy directions. With time, entropy grows. The decisions top managers once thought prudent suddenly look like mistakes. And poor performance gets explained away with fuzzy macroeconomics and scratch your head logic. These are more the excuse and not the reason.
Our challenge is that many managers view product related strategy through a single-product lens. But product line strategies and roadmaps are different. They require more insights and deep foresight.
The Greater View
Building and keeping product lines strong starts with a deep awareness. This is more than a manager saying, “I get it.” It’s a whole organization building knowledge about product line strategies. It’s the fostering of practices and systems to enable the moves and pivots to keep product lines powerful, or transformation to reboot everything. In this post, I share facts about product line strategies and their roadmaps. And I share how to learn more and build deeper awareness.
Here are eight separate facts you need to know.
- Many companies cause product lines to die slowly. This happens when managers only seek one-off innovations. They don’t focus on the whole product line. The problem is that one-off innovation seldom beats a strong product line approach.
- Rolling up separate project plans and calling it a roadmap doesn’t make a product line powerful. Teams must first figure out the strategy for their full product line. A roadmap should then lay out milestones and goals to carry out that strategy.
- A good strategy will ignite a product line. But you also need superb insights. The key is to build a workflow that continuously improves the strategy and insights.
- Good strategies need strong platform-levers. An intense focus on platform-levers drives development speed and improves each product’s performance. And without such focus, strategies will grow limp.
- How well a product line aligns with non-product strategies matters. Poor alignment will damage a product line. And total misalignment can be fatal.
- Building a great strategy is a big job. It demands managers to know strategy. And the job calls for teams to analyze markets and scout technologies. Plus, teams must create superb ideas. Serendipity may affect the results. But luck seldom is as important as the work.
- Product line roadmaps should drive development portfolios. To see why ask two questions. Does the project portfolio allow your product lines to carry out their roadmaps? And, are people working on projects not critical to a product line’s success?
- The main cause of product line failure is that organizations hold assumptions too long. The problem is that assumptions lose their truth. Product line teams should ask: What assumptions underlie their product line’s approach? When will these assumptions lose truth? And, will the product line be hurt when each assumption is no longer true?
These eight facts scratch the surface of product line strategies and roadmaps. To help you learn more about product line strategies and roadmaps, we offer several services.
Want to learn more?
Consider purchasing and reading my book, The Profound Impact of Product Line Strategy. Or consider my in-depth Masterclass. This 1-day class enables deep discussion specific to different product lines and organizations. You may also find our customized Seminar, held on-site at your offices, a perfect fit to your needs and your product lines.
Book – The Profound Impact of Product Line Strategy–
Whitepaper– Good Product Line Strategy Matters.