How to prepare a grocery strategy? Product Managers Guide

    Without a strong and confident strategy in product management there is nothing to do. Any novice product manager should strive to develop skills and abilities that will help build a strategy as great and far-sighted commanders. Important components of creating an effective strategy are the ability to plan well, determine the priorities of ideas and tasks, and evaluate them.

    Remember the rules of the great Kutuzov, who clearly and clearly saw the strategic goals? He believed that strategy should always prevail over tactics. To win, it is perfectly acceptable to sacrifice a separate battle, because "the main thing is not to take a fortress, but to win a war . "


    In product management, everything is solved peacefully, but managers should learn a lot from the commander. This material will be useful to those who seek to become a guru in strategic planning and learn how to prioritize competently.

    Product strategy - the basis of management activities

    It all starts with a clear and flexible strategy. The definition of a strategy at the very beginning of the product life cycle follows the “must have” principle. A good strategy is to meet the needs of your customers and help them respond to the internal needs of the company. If you do not have a clear strategy, then it’s too early to think about prioritizing functions.

    When product managers develop their strategies, they determine the main product characteristics and customer characteristics necessary for success.

    What is a strategy?

    Any strategy is aimed at achieving a specific goal. This is the real route from point A to point B.

    An effective strategy is a set of actions that are trustworthy, they are coordinated and aimed at overcoming major obstacles to achieving a specific goal.
    Richard Rumelt

    An effective strategy should include the following:

    • Achievement of specific goals
    • Specific actions according to a specific plan
    • Overcoming the biggest obstacle - there must be a clear "diagnosis" of the biggest problem that needs to be solved.


    Any product strategy consists of 4 parts:

    Product vision

    Product vision or product vision includes information about market opportunities, target customers, product positioning, competitive analysis and market plan. The success of the product is ultimately achieved if the product enters new users and gives them a certain value.

    Product objectives

    Goals should be measurable and relevant, clearly defined by specific metrics. They help product managers to establish what they want to achieve in the next quarter or other time period (increase revenues, expand their presence in new countries, increase mobile adaptation, etc.)


    Metrics allow you to measure progress and progress towards goals. Among the many available metrics, it is very important to choose the right ones for your product.

    Specific action plan

    Here all the steps and steps to achieve the strategy should be available.

    One of the effective planning methods is the system offered by Itamar Gilad  - an experienced consultant in the field of product management and a successful speaker. In his detailed material on Hackernoon, he describes the usefulness and value of GIST-planning and proposes to introduce it into the work instead of the traditional product roadmap .

    GIST Planning


    Unfortunately, often plans quickly diverge from reality. Road maps and Gantt Charts (Gantt Charts) , of course, useful, but they have no place for maneuverability.

    Road maps allow you to work with only a few large projects, so you have to prioritize and throw away many potentially good ideas. In hierarchical companies, winning ideas come from leadership. In more democratic companies, it is more difficult to gain recognition of the idea, therefore, pitching and the ability to persuade and sell have become essential skills for product managers.


    Using the GIST planning system helps to solve this problem: you get easy plans with the possibility of changes. They reduce management costs, improve team performance and, ultimately, allow for a better product solution.

    GIST authoring system consists of four elements. It is called after the first letters of its main blocks:

    • Goals
    • Ideas
    • Step-projects (projects)
    • Tasks

    Each of them has different planning horizons and frequency of changes and they can be managed using different tools, but together they form the basis of planning.


    G - goals

    The goals describe the company's strategy in terms of the desired results: where do we want to be? when and how do we know that we have achieved them? Whenever someone in an organization asks the question: “Why are we doing this project?”, The goal should give a clear answer.

    I - Ideas (ideas)

    Ideas are a hypothetical way to achieve goals. Hypothetical because you may have a lot of ideas to achieve a given goal, but only 1-3 of them will lead to a positive result (and often the ratio is even worse). And the coolest product managers have a coefficient no more. Therefore, GIST rules out that you:

    • “Kill” ideas in advance
    • leave ideas even if they have very low priority now
    • do not select ideas from top management
    • don't follow fashion

    Instead, you are supposed to:

    • You will collect all the ideas in the idea bank, most often in a spreadsheet or database. At the same time, the bank can store hundreds of ideas indefinitely and all of them are welcome.
    • will prioritize based on facts.
    • will test as many ideas as possible in order of priority.

    S - Step projects (projects)

    A large project is divided into small projects that last no more than 10 weeks and are carried out in turn. For example:

    Detailed static prototype → Interactive prototype → MVP → Dogfood → Beta → Launch.

    Each such project is an experiment that tests the idea. That is, with each project you get an ever fuller version of the idea and test it with a wider audience over an increasingly long time.

    The end product is usually much better than the one you originally imagined. Nonworking ideas are eliminated early, and ideas that work get more investment.

    The opportunity to come up with an idea and in a couple of weeks to introduce it into the product is very inspiring. You never want to do bulky projects again.

    T - Tasks

    Each project is divided into tasks. This part of the planning system is excellent help visualize Agile-oriented planning tools , Kanban boards, and modern technology for project management.
    At this level, you probably will not have to change anything.

    Planning with GIST is layered and iterative:

    • Goals are usually set with an eye for one year or several years.
    • Ideas are constantly collected and prioritized. It is important not to stop looking for new ideas.
    • Projects are determined at the beginning of the quarter. The team selects the goals and ideas that it wants to accomplish this quarter, and accordingly determines the projects.
    • Tasks are broken down into 1–2 weekly iterations according to your development method and are adjusted daily.

    GIST planning may seem complicated and redundant, especially for small projects, so it is possible to use its simplified version.

    How to simplify GIST?

    Step projects are really useful for large projects, because they help to confirm ideas as soon as possible and not to spend huge sums on the full development of ideas. For small projects this is not always appropriate. For example, in the development of mobile applications, you can act without Step Projects.

    Therefore, after you have selected the best ideas using prioritization, you prepare the tasks for their implementation, collect the requirements, write down the specifications and send them to development. At the end of the sprint, you can collect user data and feedback. This hierarchy looks like this:

    • The goals are formulated a quarter ahead, it's simple enough.
    • metrics - you choose key metrics that will show your movement towards goals and which you will influence with ideas. A great example is OMTM (One metric that matter) or AARRR (Pirates metrics) .
    • ideas are conjectures about how to improve your metrics.
    • features / tasks - specific tasks for developers and other team members to implement ideas.

    The simplified process looks quite attractive: you simply set goals, select appropriate metrics for control, and collect ideas that can improve these metrics. Then priorities are determined, scoring features are applied and, finally, the task for feature winners is recorded. Features are broken down into tasks that are sent to development.

    Force prioritization

    Deal with the importance and urgency of the features and tasks help different ways and approaches of prioritization.

    The first approach, which we will stop at, is a framework that is considered to be quite effective and powerful and does not take much time and effort - a 2x2 matrix. This is a simple and fast prioritization system.

    2x2 matrix for prioritization

    The classical approach based on the Eisenhower matrix consists of two axes. By choosing a framework, you can set your own criteria and evaluate the ideas, features and objectives of the product. For example, prioritization methods such as Value vs Effort, Value vs Risk, Value vs Cost can be easily visualized using this structure.

    In Hygger , the Priority Chart tool helps to visualize the matrix (available only for Value & Effort prioritization):

    • First we develop Quick Wins . These are features that bring the most value, but which can be quickly and easily implemented.
    • Next - Big Bets . These features can bring a lot of value, but they are difficult to implement.
    • Then - Maybes - tasks or features that will not give a lot of value, but they are easy to implement. They can be left for later.
    • Finally, Time Sinks . On these features do not pay attention.


    ICE Scoring Method

    The ICE method is an easy way to prioritize product functions without additional requirements. All you need is to calculate points for an idea, according to the formula:

    • Influence shows how your idea will positively affect the key indicator that you are trying to improve.
    • Ease of implementation is about the simplicity of implementation. This is an assessment of how much effort and resources are required to implement this idea.
    • Confidence shows how confident you are in assessing the impact and ease of implementation.

    The ICE Scoring method involves the use of a scale from 1 to 10 so that all factors balance the final score. You can mean by 1-10 what you need, if only the values ​​are consistent with each other.

    RICE Scoring Method

    The RICE method is another interesting way to prioritize product ideas and features. The abbreviation includes 4 factors: Reach (coverage), Impact (influence), Confidence (confidence in your assessment of coverage, influence and labor costs), Effort (labor costs).
    To get a score on RICE, you need to combine these factors.

    • Reach . The level of coverage is measured by the number of people / events for a certain period of time. This factor is designed to assess how many people each feature or project will affect during a certain period of time, and how many of your users will see such changes.
    • Impact . Influence shows what contribution this feature brings to the product. Value is understood differently in each product. For example, in the B2B SaaS product, features can get a high value if they improve trial-to-paid conversion, help attract new users, add value to the product and rebuild from competitors, etc.
    • Confidence . If you think that a feature can have a huge impact, but you have no data to prove it, Confidence allows you to control this point. Confidence is measured in percent.
    • Effort (Labor costs). Labor costs are estimated as the number of person-months, weeks, or hours, depending on needs.

    You need to rank the proposed functions with Reach, Impact, Confidence and Effort and use the final result to decide what should be implemented first.


    Scoring features

    A striking example of evaluating features is the Weighted Scoring method. This method allows you to consider features, rank them using a special framework for a number of criteria and use the estimates that you yourself came up with. This is an inexpensive and convenient way to determine the relative value of any number of tasks that you can work on.

    Evaluation criteria are selected individually. They can be selected based on well-defined product objectives and metrics. For example:

    • revenue increase
    • assistance in acquiring new customers
    • retaining existing customers
    • adding value to users

    In terms of costs, you can evaluate the following:

    • development time and cost
    • time and cost of sale
    • operating costs

    Any evaluation of ideas or features at the planning stage is always subjective in the face of strong uncertainty. Evaluation of ideas in groups allows you to make the process more accurate through open discussion. However, it is important to follow the basic rule - before evaluating you need to thoroughly discuss the idea and try to touch on various aspects.

    Only after the group has discussed this idea, you can proceed to the assessment. This is the principle of the Planning Poker method, which was originally used to evaluate tasks for sprints, and is now often used by managers and for evaluating ideas.

    Principle of Planning Poker

    Planning Poker or Planning Poker was first described by James Grenning in 2002.

    For carrying out it is necessary to prepare a list of discussed features and several decks of cards. A list of features or user stories describes the software being developed. Cards in the decks must be numbered. Most often these are cards containing Fibonacci numbers, including zero: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89. Some organizations use regular game cards, including Ace, 2, 3, 5, 8 and the king.

    All evaluators choose one card to submit their scores. At the same time, all cards are opened. If all evaluators have chosen the same value, this will be the assessment. If not, everyone discusses their grades.


    • A moderator who does not participate in the discussion is selected.
    • The product manager presents brief overviews of each item. The team can ask questions and lead discussions on offers and risks.
    • Participants choose one card and put them face down. Each member calls his card and turns it over.
    • Participants with high and low grades have the right to speak and justify the grade.
    • The discussion process continues until a consensus is reached.
    • The process can use a timer to ensure that the discussion is structured.

    Other prioritization methods and techniques

    To the delight of product managers, today there are many special techniques and frameworks for working with priorities. Much has been written about this; We list some of them:

    What is the result?

    If the prioritization method is chosen and implemented successfully, then everything is quite simple: all tasks are being developed by Scrum or Kanban, and the product manager remains to track their progress and enjoy the successfully implemented strategy.

    Perhaps the first results of working with strategy and prioritization technologies will not immediately make you Kutuzov or Napoleon in product management, but they will definitely increase your professional level and give you confidence in future affairs.

    And what are your secrets of working with a product strategy? Do you consider the ability to prioritize fundamental in the work of the product manager?

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