Building products is hard. There are so many things to juggle, that often we have to sacrifice certain things in order to move ahead and get things going. While this balance of negotiation is sometimes “accepted” - at some point you have to take a step back and ask yourself, do I truly understand what value my product is providing?
It seems like a simple enough question that we should all be able to answer, but sometimes we get so busy with trying to scale the business, we lose sight of how to scale the product.
Let’s take a look at how we can achieve this with the product value creation plan.
Understand your personas
One of the first principles of the product VCP is to make sure you understand your personas. Yes I know, we all have a love-hate relationship with personas in products, but sometimes they’re necessary.
The most important thing here is for your team to understand who your buyer personas are, and how they differ from the different use cases for your product. Buyers and users are not always the same, and they will inevitably need a different level of support and understanding as they go through their own experiences with your business.
Create well-defined buyer and user personas, and outline their own customer journey so that you’re able to provide them with the right level of content as they onboard. This will also help you define positioning, messaging, and ensure your teams are ready to talk to the right people at the right time, in a language they are familiar with.
Understand your product and business strategies
A few weeks back I wrote about aligning your teams around a product concept, and why it’s important to separate your business and product visions. I want to reiterate this point once more:
Your business strategy is not your product strategy.
“Making more money” is not something you define on the product level. Neither is growth or increase in ARR. There are certainly things you can adjust in your product that tie into pushing those goals into place, but that is not a strategy you execute for your product.
On the product level, you need to be looking at how your product is creating value for your intended audience.
- Are you focusing on usability?
- Are you focusing on providing a great product experience?
- Are you surfacing the right solutions?
- Is your product comprehensive and working as a unified system?
These are the questions and strategic decisions you should be looking at. Now this does not mean that having a great design, UX/UI, or providing a great experience do not tie into growth and increased ARR - of course, they do! But at the end of the day, your product needs to focus on how you’re building better and positive habits that provide real value, while your business can focus on how to make more money.
What’s your product’s story?
Not having a Product VCP at hand can also affect product development at a much larger scale, particularly when it comes to making decisions about what to build next.
More often than not we see product teams building things that seem to sit outside of what they originally set out to do. At its worst, we see products that are just a bunch of features tied under an umbrella of brand name with little to no cohesion.
This is where having a Product VCP helps you outline whether or not your product is telling the right story. Your features need to tie in as a comprehensive system. They need to support a workflow for your user that creates value and helps them achieve some sort of outcome. Without a common thread that ties things together, you’re just one weird feature away from becoming [enter your most hated product management app, not saying it’s JIRA but it’s JIRA.]