Why is having a full knowledge of a digital product strategy so important? Because it answers both the questions of “why” are we building it and “what” are we building.
That leaves “how” we build it up to the product managers and their teams, which is why you need to make sure you have the right teams, more on that later.
But, what do we mean by having a full knowledge of a digital product strategy?
Specifically, your digital product strategy needs to answer “why” we are building it from the point of view of three pillars; (1) the value the end user will derive, (2) the business objectives this will unlock and (3) the capabilities needed to pull this off.
After those questions are answered, typically by creating a high-level experience map, we like to visualize key moments to help answer the “what” we are building. This way we can show people exactly what we mean.
Frequently Asked Digital Product Strategy Questions
How do I know I have the right team, resources, and technology?
The short answer is: you won’t until you’re already going.
The right team will quickly be able to take the digital product strategy and begin to translate it into more detailed stories and label the things that the product will need to do as “jobs to be done.” This team will typically be small and agile.
When it comes to resources there is a tendency to think that by being scrappy you’ll somehow achieve more with less. This is rarely the case. No great enterprise product, that I know of, has been built for less than a couple million dollars. This doesn’t mean that you need unlimited funds, it just means you need enough resources to start making progress in a meaningful way and then have a way to get more funding once progress has been made.
Finally, with technology, you need to start with the end in mind and look at your tech architecture based on a full knowledge of your product strategy. For example, your tech architecture for an enterprise-level product that serves clients on the Oracle cloud will need a different technology architecture than an iPhone app. Starting with the end in mind allows you to reduce switches and duplicate effort while ensuring smoother progress over time.
Does it pass the sniff test?
Maybe this isn’t an FAQ, but at GoKart, we use something called the sniff test. Informing your strategy with the right exercises can give you a better understanding of what you’re trying to achieve and how you plan to achieve it. In this test we write out what the digital product strategy is and how it will be executed. Then, we answer this question: could we conceivably do the opposite and still have a viable business strategy?
This test will help you to verify the validity of a proposed strategy or even find a more novel approach to your business. Here’s an example of what this test looks like:
How does this product fit into the broader system that it’s going to live in?
Digital products are key to your customer experience whether they’re supporting players or leaders. Knowing where your product lives is critical to enhancing your customer experience.
For example, a healthcare app that teaches patients about a treatment plan will need to seamlessly integrate into what that patient has experienced up to that point (e.g., visiting a physician, receiving a diagnosis, and having a treatment recommended). As the developer of the app, it’s critical that you understand what the patient experiences before and after interacting with your digital product so as to enhance their experience. On the other hand, an app that changes the entire patient experience would require a completely different approach.
How do we measure learning?
A method that we’ve used very successfully at GoKart to measure learning are OKRs (objective, key results). In this methodology, we have an objective and then we have three to five key results that support that objective. To understand whether our digital product strategy is hitting its OKR, we use qualitative and quantitative data. It provides a clear way for people to give feedback especially at the stakeholder level.
This changes the conversation from design preferences and pet features. Your primary goal is to understand how the product is intended to impact this individual or group. And then determine if that product is actually doing it or not, before we get into the weeds on opinions. This is one of the best ways to measure learning and gather feedback in digital product strategy.
How do we measure progress against qualitative insights?
The simple answer is to use common sense and make asking people part of your test plan. And that’s something that most products just don’t account for when measuring progress. This is especially critical early on in a digital product strategy.
For example, we recently worked with a fitness brand to develop their personalized coaching service model. Our key results for the project included getting positive feedback from a specific demographic, measuring the frequency of interactions, and gauging satisfaction with a specific component of the program. During our qualitative research, we interviewed users and were able to see their enthusiasm and feel the energy behind their words. Common sense. If the end user is showing that degree of enthusiasm, then it means you’re on the right track and have made progress.
The Big Question: How Does This All Tie Back to Your Business
In digital product development, you need to know where you’re going, how you’ll get there, and how to react when the unexpected happens. Deepening your knowledge of digital product strategy is one way to make proactive decisions that lead to better results.
The big question at this point is: how will your digital product drive business outcomes? Learn the answer in our free guide Digital Strategy That Drives Growth.