Josie’s Observation & The Secret To Better Product Strategy Meetings

Josie’s Observation & The Secret To Better Product Strategy Meetings

“Let’s get several stakeholders together to gather feedback on our product strategy and exchange ideas.”

It sounds so constructive and positive, right?

Until five minutes into the meeting… when someone launches into their carefully constructed laundry list of must-have features… and someone else wants to know what happened to that one feature that was discussed three years ago but never delivered… and a third voice challenges the need to even continue investing in the product…

Product strategy meetings are a good way to generate ideas and create alignment. But your best sources of customer insights and feedback often have strong opinions and have their own, competing ideas. To keep your meeting on track, you’ll need a strategy for your strategy session.

Here are two tips that have worked for me:

  • Anticipate questions and prepare answers undergirded by data
  • Align on a specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound goal

The first is probably self-evident, but it’s one of those common sense tips that’s easy to overlook – because you want to talk about the future, but often people will want to talk about the past, which can derail the meeting entirely. By anticipating what stakeholders are likely to question, and having data to back up your hypotheses, you can calm those stormy seas and get back to the issue at hand. Which leads to my other tip…

Having one goal — a SMART goal — for the meeting. For example, if you’re responsible for a SaaS product, a SMART goal could be, “Increase SaaS revenue by 15% by the end of Q2 by acquiring 25 new paid clients via self-service.”

By getting your goal on the table at the start of the meeting, and getting the stakeholders to buy into that goal, you’re setting the boundaries of the conversation to help keep it focused. And if things start to drift, you can refer back to the goal and decide how you want to address the tangents (e.g., schedule a separate meeting, create a ‘parking lot’ for issues to discuss at the end of the meeting, etc.).

What Strategy Meeting Strategies Have Worked For You?

Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

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Christopher Cummings

Blogs about product management. Loves Jesus, his family, comic books, video games, and giant robots. Occasionally crawls through mud and leaps over fire.
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