🔵 How to Create a Product Strategy and Get Buy-In (+templates and AI prompts)
The whole process, from creation to presentation.
Product managers basically help a company do two things:
Build the right thing.
Build the thing right.
Early PMs tend to focus on the latter (execution), and gradually move toward the former (strategy) as they gain experience.
To progress in your career, you need to show that you can figure out how to build the right thing. This is strategy, and it’s something that almost every PM wants to improve at.
There are two aspects to this:
Figuring out what to build (and why)
Getting stakeholders to buy into your ideas
For better or for worse, getting buy-in often involves presenting your strategy in a nice deck. So today, we’ll cover the core components of creating a product strategy, keeping an eye toward being able to present it.
Here’s the agenda:
Getting the components of your strategy down in writing
Figuring out which visuals to convey aspects of your strategy
Put all this into a strategy deck template
And, in true Futureproof form, we’ll layer AI throughout this process and use an awesome AI tool called Gamma to tie it all together.
This is a beast of a post, so let’s just get into it.
1) Components of a good strategy
There are five core components of coming up with a good strategy. If you can’t answer these five questions, you’re unlikely to be able to come up with a decent strategy. If you can do these things, you’ll be able to figure out the rest. Don’t skip this step!
For the examples in the steps below, imagine we are building a product that helps company founders rewrite their founding stories as epic fantasy narratives (I am not endorsing this idea!).
I’ve also included AI prompts for each section to help you think through ideas.
1) Who are your users and what are their needs?
Forget about broad market segments. You need to know your users like they're your best friends. What do they do on a Saturday night? What keeps them up at night? What are their secret dreams? This isn't about demographics, it's about psychographics. You need to understand their needs, their desires, and their pain points.
Example: If you're creating a platform for founders to write their founding stories, your users might be first-time founders who need guidance on how to craft a compelling narrative. They might need a platform that provides structure, inspiration, and feedback on their stories.
Persona: Imagine you're a seasoned market researcher with a deep understanding of psychographics and user needs. Action: Please help me explore the deep-seated desires, aspirations, and pain points of my target user group. Put yourself in their shoes and create a bulleted list of their pain points, written as user stories. Context: [Information about your target user group] [Their potential needs and desires] [Any known pain points]
2) What are the goals of your business?
What is your company trying to accomplish as a whole? What is your team responsible for? Do you already have specific metrics you’re expected to drive? How specific are those metrics? For example, is it “engagement” generally, or DAU/MAU specifically? Here is my thread on many different kinds of metrics.
Example: If your business goal might be to empower founders to share their stories and inspire others, your product can contribute by providing a platform that makes it easy for founders to write and share their stories.
Persona: Role-play as a strategic business consultant with expertise in setting and measuring business goals. Action: Please help me define the specific goals and metrics that my product should aim to drive. Be specific with the metrics, and clearly define how they can be measured. Context: [Your company's mission] [The product you're building] [Any known goals or metrics you're expected to drive]
3) What is your unfair advantage?
What sets you apart from your competitors? It's something unique to your business that can't be easily copied or bought. This is perhaps the most easily overlooked but absolutely critical aspect of coming up with a strong strategy.
Example: Your unfair advantage could be your deep understanding of founders' needs and challenges, your unique storytelling framework, or your strong network in the startup community that can help promote the stories.
Persona: Role play a competitive intelligence analyst who specializes in identifying unique business advantages. Action: Help me identify the unique unfair advantage that sets my product apart in the market. Think about why my product can do that is better and different than what any other product can do. This will be a central element of our product strategy. Context: [Information about your company and product] [Any known unique advantages or strengths you have in your market]
4) How can you use your advantage to solve customer and business needs?
Your unfair advantage should be leveraged to address the needs of your customers and achieve your business goals.
Example: You can use your unique storytelling framework to guide founders in crafting their stories, addressing their need for guidance. You can use your strong network to promote the stories, helping to achieve your business goal of empowering founders.
Persona: Assume the role of a strategic product manager who excels at leveraging business strengths to meet customer and business needs. Action: Help me figure out how to leverage my product's unique a strategy that uses [your unique advantages] to address [your customers' needs] and achieve [your business goals]." Context Needed: Your unique advantages Your customers' needs Your business goals
5) What are some example features?
The features of your product should be designed to leverage your unfair advantage and meet the needs of your users.
Example: Your platform could include a step-by-step guide based on your unique storytelling framework, a feedback feature that allows users to get feedback on their stories, and a feature that allows users to share their stories with your network.
Persona: Act as a product designer with a knack for creating features that meet user needs and leverage business strengths. Action: Please suggest features for my product that leverage it's unique advantages. Context Needed: [Information about your product] [Your unique advantages] [Your users' needs] [Hypothesis about hwo to use the unique advantages to meet those needs]
Next, let’s talk about visuals. As every good PM knows, nobody reads.
Your users don’t read, your stakeholders don’t read, if you made it this far I guess you read, but there’s a good chance you skimmed.
This is why visuals are so important. Not only will creating them help you get your points across more quickly, but the process of creating them will also help you think about your ideas in a whole new way.
Here’s a quick rundown of the main types of graphics and when to use them:
Acronyms: Use acronyms when you need to summarize a complex strategy or concept into an easily remembered and referenced form.
Graphs: Use graphs when you need to represent quantitative data, show trends over time, or demonstrate relationships between variables.
Concentric Circles: Utilize concentric circles to illustrate layers of a concept, topic, or strategy, starting from a core idea and expanding outward with additional layers of information or detail.
Hub and Spoke: Use a hub and spoke diagram to represent a central idea or process (the hub) and its related components or dependencies (the spokes).
Pyramid: Deploy pyramid diagrams when demonstrating a hierarchical structure, showing proportion, or outlining a process that moves steadily towards a singular goal or outcome.
Venn Diagram: Use Venn diagrams when you want to illustrate the overlaps or similarities between different sets or groups.
Hierarchy: Use a hierarchical diagram when you need to display the structure of an organization or a system, illustrating who reports to whom or how different components fit into a larger structure.
Steps: Utilize a step diagram to represent a sequential process, showing the progression from start to finish or to demonstrate how different components lead to an end result.
Flywheel: Use a flywheel diagram to show a cyclical process or a self-reinforcing loop where each step feeds into the next, creating momentum over time. (Here’s my deep, deep dive into how to make these.)
Canvas: Use a canvas (like a business model canvas) when you need to present a broad overview of a business or a product, showing how different elements like value propositions, customer segments, and revenue streams fit together.
Matrix: Use a matrix when you need to demonstrate the relationship between two or more dimensions and allow for comparison or analysis across different categories or factors.
Triangle: Use triangle diagrams when showing a concept that has three related components, or to illustrate stability, change, or progression within a system.
I must confess here that I couldn’t find a nice way to generate these visuals themselves with AI. I tried to use the diagram.am ChatGPT plugin, to no avail.
I included a resource to try in the further reading section at the bottom of this post. Let me know if you’re able to get anything to work!
3) Creating the Deck
Now take all that information and use it to fill out this slide-by-slide template.
Don’t start making your deck yet! We’re going to use AI to do that. Just copy this and fill out the bullets. This will be easy if you didn’t skip out on step 1.
• Single slide
• Why does your company exist?
• Why is your work important?
• Slightly more concrete.
• What are the big problems you're going to solve?
• What are you going to build?
• Top 2-3 user groups
• Short description and top 3 needs per group.
• Can be the target audience instead of users.
💪 Unfair advantage
• What are your 2-3 unfair advantages and/or differentiators?
• Why is each advantage true?
• How can you leverage each advantage?
Some kind of analysis of competitors. Some classic formats:
• SWOT analysis
• Forrester Wave chart
• Simple table with some checkmarks for features or target markets served.
🏛️ Pillars / Bets / Product areas
• One overview slide.
• One slide per pillar with some insights.
• Insight should justify why to solve that problem or build that solution.
🚗 Roadmap and KPIs
• What features map up to the pillars?
• What's the rough order of execution?
• How will you measure success?
📈 Growth / GTM
• How will you introduce the product to the market?
• How will it grow? Product-led, sales-led, or partnership?
• Which teams are involved/needed?
• What are each team's objective and goal?
• Some example initiatives for non-technical stakeholders.
If you want to skip the AI step and just build this yourself, here’s a template I made with all that good stuff in it.
4) Tying it all together with AI
Excellent work making this far. You’ve done all the hard work, now it’s time to sit back and watch AI do its magic.
I’m suggesting a tool here called Gamma.
Fill out the slide-by-slide template from step 3
Go to gamma.app
Click “New with AI”
Copy & paste the slide template into the text field
Generate the presentation (magic)
Export as PPT
Open in Google Slides
Include your graphics from step 2 above where relevant (potentiall on their own slides)
Here’s a quick demo:
You can edit directly in Gamma before exporting (recommended) to try different slide styles
The export to PPT isn’t perfect, so you’ll still need to fix up the slides!
Don’t forget to include your own images where relevant
Thanks for reading! Here are some more resources if you want to dive deeper: