top of page
Search
  • JJ Rorie

The Product Momentum Gap

Episode 086




In this episode, we discuss the book Product Momentum Gap with authors Andrea Saez and Dave Martin. We explore indicators of a momentum gap in product management and the importance of aligning on customer value. Implementing the product value creation plan (VCP) helps filter out requests that don't align with defined value. Regularly articulating the VCP ensures alignment with the product strategy. We discuss the need for clear business and product strategies. Listen to the episode then get the book today!


 

CONNECT & FURTHER RESOURCES:






TRANSCRIPT


 

Intro  00:03

Welcome to Product Voices, a podcast where we share valuable insights and useful resources to help us all be great in product management. Visit the show's website to access the resources discussed on the show, find more information on our fabulous guests or to submit your product management question to be answered in our special q&a episodes. That's all at productvoices.com. And be sure to subscribe to the podcast on your favorite platform. Now, here's our host, JJ Rorie, CEO of great product management.

 

JJ  00:36

Hello, and welcome to product voices. Today's episode, I have the distinct pleasure to speak to the authors of the new book product momentum gap, bringing together product strategy and customer value. So I've got Andrea Saez and Dave Martin here with me, they've just released this book over the last few months. And it's awesome. If you haven't read it, go out there and get it again, product momentum gap. Of course, we'll link to it in the show notes. But I'm so excited to have this conversation because it's a great book. And it really kind of helps us think through some ways, some very practical ways to succeed in product management and some very specific way. So I'm excited to have Andrea and Dave here with me today, Andrea. Dave, thank you so much for joining me.

 

Andrea  01:23

Thanks for having us.

 

Dave  01:25

Yeah, great to be here.

 

JJ  01:27

Yeah, I'm looking forward to the conversation. So let me just ask you both. Dave, we'll start with you. What led you to write the book like what what was it that you were seeing out there that you thought you know, this, this topic needs to be explored in a book? What led you to write the book?

 

Dave  01:43

Well, if I'm super honest, the biggest thing that led me to actually write the book and put pen to paper was Andrea saying, Hey, we should write a book. I think that's the honest answer. But before that, quite a few years ago, and known Andrea, I'd thought about writing a book, I'd shaped up what it might cover and why. And I tested it and tested the topic at some conferences. And their real drive was to improve decision making in product and improve help, specifically at the executive level and the senior level, to encourage organizations to be more outcome driven. And whilst there's a lot of material and tools to help that, further down the chain, there's not a lot that actually addresses it at the higher level at the product leadership level, or above. Although the book turned out to be something far more interesting than just that problem, and ended up becoming something very useful to all product managers, not just probably this.

 

JJ  02:49

That's great. Andrea, what do you what was kind of your, your impetus to to write the book and to tell Dave, that you were gonna write a book with him?

 

Andrea  02:58

Yeah, my side of the story. So Dave, and I connected last year, and initially, we were writing some blog posts together. And, you know, I was helping out with right to left. And as we were writing and having these, these sessions, I kind of saw that there was a bit of a thread that connected everything together. And you know, just out of pure, I don't know, curiosity. I don't even have a word for it. I just said, Hey, I think we have a book. And Dave agreed way too fast, that I only found out after he had planned for this. But before we actually launched the book, I actually said, why don't we try a white paper first, just to see how people respond how people react, like, do they warm up to the ideas? How do they feel about all of this? And the white paper did quite well. And after that, we then decided to take my silly little proposition and go for it.

 

JJ  03:56

I love it. So classic product experimentation, you put something out there and MVP. And there you go. Awesome. So tell us let's just let's just kind of set the stage and set the context. So what is the product momentum gap? What does that mean?

 

Dave  04:11

So really the product momentum gap, focus specifically, on the challenge as you start to take a product to a larger audience, a larger market, probably three, when you started to scale after you've already had early traction. And without necessarily been meaningful and purposeful about it. You accidentally change the target market, ie, instead of it being a real, real, real niche, real niche, it starts to get broader. And of course, as that starts to get broader, the product market fit becomes weaker at the edges. If you kind of imagine the product market fit like a bell curve instead of a binary thing, and sort of an on or off. Think of it more like a bell curve. Now as we Scale products, we broaden the bell curve, we flatten it, because we take it wider, but we haven't improved the product and go wider, which results in slower down sales slowing down results in churn increasing, and, in some instances results in reactive product decision making and reactive product investment, which drives or drives really slow growth that might never be recoverable, because we start to spend build features that are not really aligned in any way to try and close deals, different parts of other market segments, and the product quickly mutates. And that's out of desperation. Of course not either, not because you've ended up in the gap bomber when don't know you're there. So, yeah, that's the that's the product momentum gap.

 

JJ  05:52

Yeah, I actually love that. And I can I can picture it, and I can see, I've sure I've done it many times, not knowingly, of course, doing doing it. But you know, to your point, it's, it's not that, you know, any leader or any team does things, you know, intentionally to to end up with bad outcomes. We're always trying to end up with the right, you know, success, success levers, but are there some indicators that a team has, you know, has a momentum gap and has done some things to create this environment? Are there some things that, you know, we, as product leaders, or product teams can can look around and be intentional about trying to, you know, find that, hey, you know, what, we may have a momentum gap, we may need to step back and do something about it any indicators or, you know, markers of that sort?

 

Andrea  06:46

Yeah, absolutely. I wouldn't say there's a few because it's much, it's a lot of an independence scenario. So it could be, you know, some of those lead metrics, the typical ones that we look at, like Arr, and turn, those are starting to get a little bit shaky. It could be things like, the sales cycles are taking too long, it could be that your support team and your customer success teams are clearly overwhelmed. They can't retain people. And then there's other like team, situations like high churn rates, high attrition rates of your team, it could be a lot of finger pointing, you know, oh, it was so and so's you know, fault. Lack of psychological safety. So there's, there's various things that could certainly play a part of that.

 

Dave  07:37

But the one I see, the one I see frequently, is when we've swapped out of product management mode into order taking mode, where feature requests, we've just become product waiters. And our job is just to bring the order to the kitchen, which is full of engineers, for them to build something and then take it back to the audience. And when we become order takers, it's normally driven. It's that's normally driven because that we're trying, we're struggling to close deals, or we're struggling to make opportunities convert, especially in b2b world. And those opportunities are failing because they're low. They're actually low market fit clients. But we don't recognize that. So when you start to recognize, hey, we're order takers, now, not product managers. But that's probably the most common signal I recognize.

 

JJ  08:36

Yeah. So So let's say we've recognized some of those signals. And you know, the leadership team wants to do something about it. So what do we do about this, when we when we realize we're in this product momentum gap?

 

Andrea  08:52

I would say the right thing to do is, first of all, take a step back and admit that there is a problem. So the number one thing that we actually start with in the book is saying awareness is the most powerful tool that you have. And it could be awareness that there is a problem, it could be awareness that you are part of the problem. It could be awareness that you need help solving the problem. That's really where it starts. Everything else around did are things that are solvable, but those things are not going to be solvable if there isn't a commitment from leadership to to want to resolve these issues.

 

JJ  09:29

That's actually a really great point. And I want to dig a little there. So obviously, the leadership has to be aware and it's so spot on that it doesn't matter how many efforts we go through and however many areas if we're not attacking the problem and really buying into it, then it's not going to work but so the the leadership has to buy into it and then And then is there a process that they then have to kind of get everybody else on board their peers on board, the product team on board. So tell me about that first and then I've got a second part to the question. So what do they need to do to get everybody aware that this is a problem?

 

Dave  10:07

Yeah, I mean, the first thing on the book, the book outlines, outlines quite a process detailed steps to help to help implement and overcome this, and create the awareness and then find a better way to prioritize and move forwards in the future. But the first big piece of work is alignment. It's creating alignment, so that everybody agrees what how this product creates value for the customer for the market. And, and that's, we have some steps in the book, we call it the customer value map. And then we go a little further with something called the customer value Explorer, which allows which aligns teams and not just product teams, but the exec team as well, the leadership team on exactly what is it the customer is actually? How would the value we think we're giving the customer? How would they recognize it, what KPIs adverse change, what activities or behaviors did they do the customer, that is not us, that would impact that, so that we can start taking our product strategy, away from just saying, this is the value we create for the customer. So they pay us money, but take it a little further and extend it to these the user behaviors and the actions a customer needs to do to create get value. And when we can articulate when we first align everybody, we can then articulate that strategy instead of as nebulous, value statements and things that are highly ambiguous. Instead, we can articulate it as these are the user behaviors, our product is going to change or modify. When we when we're armed with those things, and we're all agreed with it at a high level, and they need to be reasonably high level of course, then we've got the tools to be able to prioritize initiatives, we've got the tools to set much better objectives. And we've got it framed in a way that a product manager, and then engineers and designers can actually impact because at the end of the day, when they release a feature, the the impact, the direct impact that that has, is it changes or groups or users behavior. So we ended up articulating strategy as user behavior. And the book goes through that process. And is your buddy or company coming into your coach to take you through that journey, so that you can reach that place for your business? We call it the product value creation plan.

 

JJ  12:37

You know, one of my favorite things about the book I have read the book I love it. It's is that that? Well, first of all, that the entire product value creation plan, I love the framework, I think it walks us through that. But that very specifically, you mentioned the customer value Explorer. And I think that, you know, anything we can do to kind of give ourselves a forcing function, to focus on that customer value. And the way that you've done it the way that you know, it's not ambiguous it is this behavior, it is this exact thing. And I think that's so important for us to not only for ourselves, right as, as an individual product leader, or product manager, but definitely when you start to, you know, talk about three, four or five, twenty people that we've got to get aligned to. So I think that was really, really great. So second part of that question before we dive into value creation plan, because that's, that's the bulk of where I want you to, you know, tell us about how to solve this problem. But it so I asked that question specifically about, you know, leaders identify it, and now we need to go, you know, get get people on board, is there an opportunity if a product team, like product managers and their their peers notice something even before leadership, same kind of advice you would give them if they want to go up to the leadership and say, I think we've got this momentum gap. And there are some things to do about it. You know, same kind of same kind of advice there. If it goes that way, or what would you do something a little bit differently?

 

Andrea  14:02

Yeah, absolutely. I think if if the product management team or any other team is noticing these issues, bring it up with leadership?

 

JJ  14:09

Yeah.

 

Andrea  14:10

And if you've read the book, maybe give them the book to read. But no, I mean, I've not been in that situation where I joined a team. And, you know, the team was very, very disjointed. They didn't know how to move forward. They had, you know, a lot of questions that were unanswered, and not just the product team. It's it was the entire organization. And luckily, they had brought on new leadership that was also hyper aware. And so we had their support as well, when we brought up these issues and saying, you know, Hey, there's this problem. The team is unclear about how to move forward and having the support from members and leadership make that that work that transition a lot easier, for sure. But it does really start with leadership.

 

JJ  14:52

Yeah, yeah. Makes sense. So even if it's identified at lower levels, you know, it's we've got to we've got to get Those leaders on board are nothing really happens. I guess that's kind of the story of story of business and product, isn't it? Okay, so let's let's dig into the product value creation plan, which is kind of the big framework that that, you know, you've written about, and you've you've outlined to, to help us solve this momentum gap. So tell me more about the product value value creation plan, the product VCP. Tell me about that framework, some of the the elements of that framework and kind of what it ultimately will accomplish.

 

Dave  15:30

Yeah, but I'll start off and maybe Andrea can help take it to the broader company. You know, I mentioned earlier that the core premise, which is, we want to define, understand the company goals, understand the value our customer will get from our product, and then extend that further to what's the user behaviors that those users have to demonstrate, in order for that value to be created. Which forces product strategy to be more discreet it forces, it forces a lot more guidance and direction, and sets excellent guardrails for teams to go and focus on outcome for businesses want their teams to be more autonomous, and have more space to innovate. It provides the opportunity to do that really well. But not only does the VCP is that the actual final output of the VCP is that list of key value indicators that are tracking those user behaviors. And there's probably only six or seven of those. In total, they're reasonably high level. But the use of it is pretty broad. While product might use that, to help with strategic planning, and defining what rocks or big initiatives we're going to pick off next, it gets used company wide, which perhaps, you know, Andrea, you could talk about how that ends up being used, say, by marketing, and product marketing.

 

Andrea  17:05

Yeah, for sure. So as Dave was saying, you have these user behaviors and this alignment that's happening between leadership and product first. But the power that this really has is then being able to take that and align the rest of the organization. So what tends to happen is you'll have sales, you know, potentially selling things or trying to get customers that may not fit, you know, the division, you have marketing, possibly even marketing things that don't exist, or you know, they're not, they're not aligned. So what this does really is being very clear about who you're building things for is one of the first things that the VP tackles. So that immediately is going to align the entire organization. But by having these user behaviors at hand, then you can start creating a narrative for everybody else. And that includes things like yes, who are we building things for, but what are the things that they're going to do in order to be successful. So you can create a very tight narrative and sort of differentiators to be able to then actually sell that value

 

Dave  18:11

In companies I've worked with who have implemented the VCP, the product VCP. But one of the one of the interesting differences is, we talked, mentioned earlier, part of the problem momentum gap was the turning into order takers in those those requests that probably left field but that the closer you one deal, that they tend to go away, and they tend to go away all on their own. Because the sales team now understand what valuable more value looks like much, much more discreetly, they're able to, they will sell filter more they are aware that that's what there was a criteria that's very clear and understood company wide of how we decide if we're going to do something or not, instead of it being more ambiguous, which, sorry, the liars, people who are seeing those opportunities to also self assess, and only and start saying no, earlier, we've seen describe, discrediting them, the ideas that are filled themselves even before they get to us when they're clearly not going to fit the VCP at all, and therefore not going to get prioritized. First it's incredibly powerful to use and carry on using to sustain and grow the organization, but just the process of creating it generates the alignment even if there wasn't used after there's enormous value just in the activity.

 

JJ  19:45

Yeah, I I actually really like that and agree with that. I think I've seen that and in other cases where a team gets together and and you know, works through some problem and they they pass. Get out and they think through it and just the action, just the exercise of doing that is sometimes even more important than the outcome of that, you know, session. So that leads me to kind of a more of a practical or logistical question. Before I've got some specific, more specific questions about the VCP. But, you know, what's the best mode? I mean, do you need to get everyone in a room? Obviously, we're all over the world, can you do this, you know, piece by piece over, you know, six weeks of, you know, Zoom sessions? Or like, how have you seen this work better, like, what is the actual logistics that tends to make the process of creating this go better.

 

Dave  20:44

I've personally facilitated the process now, for dozens of companies. And we've seen some work where we've been very, we've been remote in pretty intensive and gone through the process in a two week very aggressive effort. And then in other companies, where we've taken the approach of a little boy drip feed fitting get into other people into schedules a bit more kindly, and therefore it taking more like eight weeks to go through the process. But remote definitely isn't a challenge whatsoever. And nor does it always have to be everybody on the call at the same time. You know, I've I've seen it work very well, where we've started an initiative all together but had to break through the logistics and availability of people broken that broken up into smaller groups to deal with certain parts of the problem of the puzzle, and then come back and brought it together. So there are there are multiple ways to crack it, the most successful should really feel right now so far to be the ones where we've got everybody in a room, whether it's physical or virtual, together, so that everybody's part of the journey, but the outcome is because the alignment is stronger in those instances. But the final VCP outcome to be used for future planning has been probably equal quality either way.

 

JJ  22:21

Yeah, that's good to hear. And sometimes it's, you know, for for, you know, any kind of strategic alignment session, I lose, use that loosely, but sometimes it's better to completely turn our, you know, our workstream on its head, right, and not do things as normal. So, you know, literally fly everyone to one room, somewhere in the world and spend a couple of days together. And sometimes it's better to not have to force everybody to, you know, pause everything they're doing. So it's good to good to know that it can be done flexibly. You know, that's to me, I think the the least amount of hassle we put into these things, while still making it very intentional. Tends tends to be better. So So Thanks for that. I think that's, that's kind of good to hear and understand. So I do want to ask kind of one more question. Specifically and hear a little bit more about this. Again, I mentioned I love the customer value Explorer, and kind of how it It forces you to very specifically about what products what your products are, are bringing to the customer tell me a little bit more about the value assumption builder was another thing that I liked as part of the, the, the framework, so tell me what the value value assumption builder is, and how that can help in this process.

 

Andrea  23:45

I'll answer the first part of that. And then I think Dave, can can jump in. So really, the value assumption builder, like everything else in the BCP is about alignment. And it's about aligning and figuring out if everyone actually understands what the value is for the customer, or what value we think we're presenting to the customer. And I know Dave has done this before, and he's found that you know, sometimes there are discrepancies in what we believe those values are or should be. So it's really interesting, because really, the VCP the core of it is organizational alignment. And one thing that I wanted to add to also the previous question, but I think works well with this one is the VCP as a framework is not something just for leadership and product, but it's for everybody to be a part of because you're not going to have organizational alignment. If you just have you know, one or two teams be part of it. So especially when it comes to the value assumption builder, have you know, sales, marketing, success, you know, everybody, especially the commercial side who are actively talking to customers, and perhaps sometimes if not often, I say, you know, with a bit of caution they buy be a little bit more aware of what problems and what needs your customers are having?

 

Dave  25:07

Yeah, I mean, I'm literally sat in a room right now where, this morning I was running a workshop for a client doing going through the vein, the customer value Explorer, and then the value assumption builder, it's on my whiteboard in front of me. And the, you know, the value assumption builders. As part of the step, it's the if you read the book, it's the step, where you're looking, you've already captured all the potential behaviors that a customer needs to do to create value. And it's right at capturing those discreetly along with the modifier, how do you expect to change that behavior? How does your product make that behavior? Is it just new? Is it just the fact they're doing it? That's what matters? Or is it you know, they've got to do it quicker, faster, smarter, cheaper, what is it, what's the other behave other? What's the other modifier. And the process often leads to a point at this stage, after you've explored all the value that you've got lots of potential actions and behaviors that might be interesting, or they're very granular, the because we all think in quite a lot of detail quite frequently. So often, at this stage, the value ascension builder has got a lot, a big list of actions and modifiers. And what we're looking at when we've captured them all, on their own discretely is to start to see the patterns start to see where we can aggregate some start to perhaps recognize that some of those are edge cases, and we should take them off the list. So that we can consolidate them down to get to that seven that we believe are the valuable things that reflect that, that the if these things that reflect the value we create, that reflect the strategy that if these seven new behaviors go in the right direction, we are delivering value. And that's the that's the process at that stage in the journey. It's a fun part of the journey. I always like this part, because it's, it's amazing how frequently, you can have like 20, 30 pretty granular actions and suddenly roll them up and see seven clear, suddenly, it's the part where you suddenly see the wood for the trees, it's ways Oh, wow, if we just focus on those seven things, we capture all of it, we suddenly have that that really is the aha moment in the journey for most people who are participating, because they, they suddenly can recognize it. That's the focus. And and their belief in it, because they were part of the process.

 

JJ  27:35

Yeah, it was like it just clicks moments are so important in these kinds of things. Right, that Oh, wow, we've been thinking it was so incredibly complicated. But really, it's just the seventh, you know. So I think that's a good point. So how, how often do you revisit, right? So you've, you've gone through the process, and you've made these assumptions, and you've documented and you've, you've kind of clearly articulated these values and behaviors that your customers want to make. And I love the modifier, right? Because it's not just okay, the behavior, but now what? And you've learned, right, we learn every day in product management, do we? Do we learn that some of our assumptions were wrong or that some others need to be put on there? How, how often does a team need to kind of revisit this effort to make sure that the VC P is staying fresh?

 

Dave  28:26

So remember that the BCP is articulate in product strategy, were probably not looking to revisit it in the sense of let's rebuild it more frequently than we would naturally articulate revisit product strategy. It's not, we're not trying, it's not the process to define strategy. It's the process to articulate and align the strategy. But there are some, because we've aligned it in such a measurable way with leading indicators, we're able to evaluate those leading indicators against lagging indicators on a regular basis, and in a way you couldn't do previous, you can suddenly now start to recognize whether your strategy is working or not. And that's pretty powerful.

 

JJ  29:09

Yeah, yeah, that makes a lot of sense. When, when we we've got this, I love the way that you articulated that, that this is, you know, a way to very crisply articulate the strategy. And when we, when we're working in this environment, we've gone through this we at some point, got this alignment where we've been working really well as a team. And maybe we see something that that defies this that defies that alignment and this agreement that we've gone to so for example, sales comes in says like, You got to build these things and tries to turn us into order takers, etc. Like how do we as a team, you know, kind of, for sit back, I mean, is it just kind of saying, hey, look, we've have identified those you're you're taking us away from what we have the already clearly articulated that we need to do. Is this is this a vehicle to make it easier to push back on some of those bad behaviors? if you will?

 

Andrea  30:10

I would say so yeah, I think this is where the power of no comes. Yeah. Right, rather than power of saying yes to the right things, right. Yeah. This is definitely one of those tools that will allow you to understand whether you're going in the right direction or the wrong direction fairly quickly. So like Dave was saying, there are these indicators where you should be able to see if it's working, or not working, or what's working or not working, and readjust as necessary. But yeah, I think in a scenario like that, I think this is where we go back. And we just, you know, communicate again, because that's something that leadership has to do very well, very often, right, communicate, communicate, communicate. And one way to do that is actually with the pyramid that is in the book. So the value creation pyramid. And I've used that before. And it was fantastic, because it was very intentional about what it communicated. And it was very easy for everyone to also digest all of the information, that's part of the VCP. So what the pyramid really does is it takes all of that information that you know, you've worked on over a few weeks, few months, however long it takes, and it makes it easier to digest. So you have available for the entire team, you know, the who, what the problems are, what the experiences are that you want to create, what the behaviors are that you're focusing on. Because I mean, in reality, I don't think anyone's going to sit down continuously and like, read over a whole product strategy. Who does that, right. And let's be real, nobody's going to read an entire product strategy document. But there's kind of has this really nice, visual easy way to kind of distill that information. And just remind everybody that this is what we're doing, this is why we're doing it. This is who we're doing it for.

 

Dave  31:58

Yeah, I think the back thing of saying no, to a request or something. Sometimes I think it was the VCP also helps in making that decision purposefully. So it might be that we are going to do that thing. You know, it might be I don't know, maybe there's a big deal that's going to help out we have a cash flow problem, and it's going to help our cash flow. There's there's other reasons why to say yes to things that aren't pure product reasons. You know, businesses are complex things with lots of dimensions. But when we if we, if leadership choose to say yes, to those things, for those reasons, it's clear that we're saying no to our strategy. Because we can clearly see if we do this thing, we are going to be pausing that progression on our strategy. We'll be doing it for this other good reason. And we'll do it purposefully. But we will know what we're saying no, if we do go and do this distractive this thing, this other initiatives to distraction, we'll know whether what we're saying no to and what we're slowing down, when normally, that bid gets lost. And we just focus on Oh, it's going to help us with this big cash flow. There's a big it's going to help us with this upfront big deal, or it's a logo, we want to help with fundraising, etc, etc.

 

JJ  33:16

Yeah, absolutely. And I think that reminds me, of radical guts, Vision debt, right? So so we can make intentional business decisions that are contrary to our vision. As long as everybody knows why we're doing it, you know, and we know that we're gonna forego a little bit of time to meet our vision, but we're doing it intentionally. And it's not just happening around us. And so I think that's, that's a really great point. And that's one of the things that I've loved about the book and the VCP is that it is concrete for us saying no, or yes, but Right. And so, to your point, Andre, it's like, you know, I say, well, that's not really, you know, helping our strategy. Sorry, I can't do that. What does that mean? Right? Nobody knows what that means. And so if we can, if we can say, well, concretely, these are the behaviors we want to modify, and the value we're bringing, and that doesn't do it, then we can have that conversation, or conversely, maybe they can convince us that it does. And again, that's still a valuable thing. Right. So that's one of the things that I love is it is it helps us say yes to the right things in a more concrete, easy, easy way. So I think that's one of the the key values of this. And I'm sure that's, you know, obviously what you were going for, but that's one of the things that I loved about it, it just helps us on the ground, do our work better.

 

JJ  34:46

So final question for you. Is, obviously the first step is go by the book, that's how you get started. But after that, you know, somebody kind of identifies that this is something that would be be very valuable. They think they see some of those, those indicators of of being in that momentum gap, like how would you advise just taking that very first step? Like what do you do to to, to get this, you know, this this process, this framework, this thought exercise going in an organization.

 

Andrea  35:18

I've done this before, but I also wrote the book. So I'm incredibly biased and what I'm about to say. I mean, obviously, follow, follow the templates. If I think that this, I guess, product leader should be the facilitator, if you need a facilitator, you know, call Dave, he'll do a lot to guide you through it for sure. But take it step by step. And I think the one thing that's so important when you're doing this is to have empathy for everybody in the room, because this is going to be a difficult exercise. This does challenge thoughts and biases and opinions in people. So you do have to be patient. I have done one of the exercises with a team before. And it took us three months to come to an agreement with one exercise, because everybody had their past experiences and their thoughts, and how do you know, how should we should move forward? Even just the first question, which was, who are we building this for? Right, who is our audience? That was so difficult to just get alignments across the entire organization, so be patients? This is not something that you're probably going to do in two days. As much as I'd love to say, yes, there is the the human dynamics that are at play. And, you know, as I said that, that takes patience and empathy.

 

Dave  36:48

You know, there's something really interesting there, because if your business hasn't got a clear business strategy, and therefore definitely doesn't have a clear product strategy, a tool like this, that's trying to articulate it and communicate the product strategy better. All it will do is simply highlight the inefficiencies in the existing thinking very, very quickly. And you know, in instances where it might take a long time, it's not actually building the VCP list taking a long time, it's the fact that you've got to go back and actually define what the business strategy is, and define and build the product strategy for it will, it will shine the hole, it will shine the light on the holes and the faults very, very quickly. And, and that there may need to whoever's running this, or driving this initiative, to pause and change tact. Like actually, we have some business strategy questions that aren't answered to like, who is our market? We need to address that first. So yeah, please definitely make sure those things are in place, or recognize if they're not, and pause and go fix them.

 

JJ  38:02

Yeah, yeah, that's actually both really good advice from from both of you. And I, I can imagine that this does, you start this process and it does shine the light, right. And again, to dangerous point, those parts of those three months of answering that one question was probably going back to the strategy, you know, whiteboard and say, okay, you know, let's let's clear this up and make sure that we're doing the right thing.

 

Andrea  38:25

Yeah, we had to go back to scratch, like, Write the vision align on the vision, the mission, the business, the product strategy, everything had to be rewritten.I thought it was a great exercise. I mean, it's it's really setting direction for everybody. Direction and intention.

 

JJ  38:42

 Yes, yes. Right. And, you know, it's probably, again, a good Gosh, forcing function to make people look at their strategy with open eyes, because I don't think I don't, I would bet that if we polled every business leader and every product leader in the world right now, that very few of them would say, yeah, we've we have no strategy. They all think they have a strategy. They all say I've put a strategy in place. But I think kind of, you know, eliminating the fact that maybe, maybe you don't or maybe it's not so clear, I think maybe eye opening for some folks.

 

Andrea  39:17

I'll give you a better one, grab any member from any organization, pick one that hasn't worked for them use up and ask that person who is the product for and why. And they will not be able to answer. Yeah. And in my experience, those are the first two questions that need to be answered. Before you build anything who and why.

 

JJ  39:41

Yeah, and that isn't that crazy, though? I've had the same experience with some of my workshops. When I go into a product team, I say who your customers are. And sometimes they laugh, because they know that that's a more complicated question and answer than it should be. And sometimes they're like, it's so and so and then somebody across the room says, oh, No, it's It's actually these other 14 people too, you know. And so it's it is a little bit comical but such real life that, you know, questions as simple as that on its surface can can have an entire iceberg underneath it right. So this has been such an amazing conversation, I've loved it I've loved kind of getting the the behind the scenes story from from the folks who wrote this book and created this model, I really am a big fan of it. I think it's, I think it's a good way to again, get alignment, get communication, get some concrete examples of what we're trying to accomplish as a product team.

 

JJ  40:41

So, so Dave Andrea, thank you so much for joining me again, everyone out there product momentum gap, bringing together product strategy and customer value. Go get it. It's on Amazon. We'll link to it. Dave. Andrea, thank you so much for sharing your wisdom.

 

Andrea  40:55

Thank you.

 

Dave  40:55

Thank you very much.

 

JJ  40:56

And thank you all for joining us on product voices. Hope to see on the next episode.

 

Outro  41:02

Thank you for listening to product voices hosted by JJ Rorie. To find more information on our guests resources discussed during the episode or to submit a question for our q&a episodes, visit the show's website product voices. com And be sure to subscribe to the podcast on your favorite platform.

bottom of page