Struggling to get your new product off the ground? Here’s how to define a product strategy that gets results

Jun 9, 2022Mikenzi Ross

Preplanning is a bonafide superpower—especially when it comes to building a startup product. With so many moving parts, different departments, types of designers—and the list goes on, it’s crucial to have an effective product strategy.

We’ve already covered other project management assets like product management frameworks and design systems, but product strategies are a different animal.

In this super special article, we share our secret sauce for product strategies that work.

Trust us, they’re delicious, satisfying, and even a bit spicy.

What is a product strategy?

As always, let’s get down to the basics. Most types of designers understand that effective design is 80% researching and 20% creating the design.

TDP is no different, and we’re excited to have Dianne Eberhardt, Founder and Lead UX Designer of The Design Project, share how she explains product strategies to her clients.

“Product strategy is when you take a problem you want to solve and develop solutions based on ideas, analysis, and user testing.”

Dianne Eberhardt, Founder of The Design Project

Creating product strategies demands an in-depth process that holds no room for cutting corners.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when considering the many factors you must research, making you wonder if all this preliminary work is necessary if you want a successful product.

Do you need a product strategy—and is it too late if you’ve already started developing a product?

While it can seem like a steep hill to climb, the answer is yes, you should develop a solid product strategy—and the earlier, the better.

The good news? It’s never too late to create one, even if you’ve already started building a product. Heck, even if your product is already live and struggling with churn rates, defining a product strategy can be precisely what you need to turn things around.

But if drafting a comprehensive product strategy seems like something you don’t have time for, you can hire a UI designer (or other types of designers like UX, Product, etc.) to help develop one for you.

The Design Project has proven processes that help us swiftly create effective product strategies for startups—so we’re here if you need us!

The three stages of the TDP product strategy formula

There are several stages that we take when it comes to building effective product strategies for clients. Each step is critically important to reaching solutions that yield results, and must recieve equal time and attention.

The Design Project team focuses on three main elements when defining product strategies for our clients. While the “how” has taken us too many years of careful research, experimentation, and testing to fit into one blog post, we can break the process down into stages to help you get started.

Alternatively, you can save yourself tons of time when you sign up for one of our TDP plans—plus, we offer a 7-day free trial that lets you give us a test drive without spending a dime.

Stage 1: Inspiration

The first step to defining a solid product strategy is all about inspiration. Look at other brands, especially those in similar industries, and make lists and notes of what you’d like to incorporate into your products.

Stage 2: Competitor Analysis

After you’ve spent time compiling a reference log of valuable inspiration—from any source, industry, or product—start investigating what your main competitors are doing.

What user problems are they solving?

More importantly—what problems have they yet to solve? This is a golden opportunity for your team to find gaps your product can fill.

Stage 3: Product Auditing

Just as vital as assessing your competitors, it’s equally important to review your product (be it during the early stages of development or already live), record the current problems you currently solve, and areas where improvements are possible.

The product auditing stage is tricky because you love your product—you’ve spent so much time bringing it to life, but great UX strips down to only what is necessary.

Just remember that simplicity is key.

Regardless of what you’re building—a product strategy will make it stronger

With diligence and an internet connection, you can create a robust product strategy that helps shape the success of your product and the development process.

Product strategies serve multiple products—from service providers to graphic design strategies (like what you can find on Design Pickle.)

If you want every stage of development to be as effective and efficient as possible, get your researcher’s cap on—or trust TDP to do it for you and save yourself a ton of time—and build a product strategy.

Once your startup has a solid product strategy, deciding on feature prioritization frameworks and maintaining a consistent workflow becomes far more manageable. You’ll also have an excellent collection of data to share with stakeholders.

It’s a win-win!

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