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UX Strategy

Product strategy sprints: finding your north star

12th July 2019

A product strategy sprint brings together the design thinking and business strategy methodologies to rapidly generate a product strategy.

It aligns business, technical and operational stakeholders around a clear purpose, vision and roadmap for your product. 

We’ve pioneered this award-winning framework with a diverse range of organisations in financial services, healthcare and energy. It overcomes corporate inertia and the fear of failure that comes with innovation and new product development.

Why run a product strategy sprint?

With organisations everywhere looking to accelerate the speed of bringing products and service propositions to market, a lot of focus has been given to how products get to market. There’s also a trend in corporations to create innovation teams around technology and business capabilities rather than customer needs. 

It’s staggering how many agile product teams can’t explain who they are making their product for, what difference it will make and where the value for the customer will be created. We believe understanding why we are building a product is as important as to what or how we build that product. 

A product strategy sprint aligns and inspires sponsors and critical stakeholders across the end-to-end value chain providing the rationale for further investment and direction for the next stage of product exploration and lean experiments. 

How do they work?

A product strategy sprint is a 3-week process with three phases. We use a combination of business strategy and design methods and adopt a sprint like timescale to create rapid collaboration and decision making. This overcomes the classic corporate ‘analysis paralysis’ through design thinking and doing – like a lean proof of concept.

Week 1: Market immersion and stakeholder interviews

The first phase starts with market immersion - understanding the business, technology and customer experience  as well as emerging and future trends in the industry and organisation. This is created through a combination of interviews with key stakeholders and subject matter experts, desk research and where possible customer interviews.

Week 2: Product strategy workshop

In the second week we facilitate a 2-day workshop at Foolproof’s London design studio.  The workshop works best when based on the following:

Day one: The product opportunity space

  • Market overview
  • Subject matter expert downloads
  • Current state ecosystem mapping
  • Business model canvas
  • Trend and context mapping
  • Customer pen portraits
  • Jobs to be done, customer problems to solve, product opportunities

Day two: Ideation, prioritisation and proposition development

  • Ideation and brainwriting
  • Value proposition canvas
  • Purpose and vision statements
  • Future press releases
  • Storyboarding

Week 3: Product strategy communication pack

In the final week we focus on creating a stakeholder communication pack which captures the narrative and rationale for your product:

  • Scene-setting: overview of the market opportunity, unmet customer needs, technology and business trends
  • Our customer value proposition - why this product should exist and who it’s for?
  • Sources of unfair advantage - why we should do this and what makes us uniquely placed to succeed?
  • Product goals, benefits and architecture – the key elements of the product and capabilities required
  • Future customer story: our vision for the product experience
  • The ask: roadmap and next steps
What do you get out of a product strategy workshop?

Firstly, you get a stakeholder pack which brings to life the compelling story of your product strategy - it helps you make the case for further investment and development. This is a critical tool for many product teams it brings existing stakeholders on the product journey and makes onboarding and focussing new teams and partners easier – saving you time and cost down the line. 

Secondly, you get engagement and buy-in from your sponsor and critical stakeholders right through the end-to-end value chain required to bring your product to the market. This belief and energy is often the missing ingredient in overcoming the barriers for new and challenging ideas.

What's next?

If you are struggling to get traction on your product innovations for the following reasons:

  • Lots of experiments but lack of live products
  • Lack of stakeholder alignment and support through funding and resources
  • Lack of technical and operational engagement
  • Lack of clear product vision
  • Confusion about the product proposition and value model

Then reach out and talk to us. We’ll take you - step by step - through the inputs, process and outputs of our product strategy sprint.

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