I’m growing increasingly bored with the concept of product strategy. Having a strategy is not a bad thing, and in fact, you should have a vision of where you want to take your product.
What bugs me more is how we arrive at our strategies. I find many times that strategy is introspective and often conceived within the confines of corporate meeting rooms and offices.
But perhaps it’s better to let tactical execution drive what becomes strategy. In his book, Behind the Cloud, Marc Benioff Salesforce.com Founder and CEO describes how Salesforce arrived at it’s early marketing strategy of leveraging their largest competitor’s events to pitch the virtues of CRM in the cloud.
They based a successful mock protest against “traditional software” outside of Moscone Center at Siebel’s annual conference, and quickly determined that this guerrilla marketing tactic would be an ongoing component of their overall marketing strategy in the years to come.
The protest wasn’t a sure bet; it could have failed miserably (like another shenanigan involving the Dalai Lama). But it didn’t fail. Even if it did, chances are, the losses would have been minimal. Surely there were hundreds of other tactical bets that didn’t work out as well either.
Conception and meticulous planning of strategy without tactical execution to test our ideas results in forced execution when it may no longer make sense. In my experience, the best laid plans are often obsolete within days or weeks after execution begins. It’s okay to be wrong, but only in small increments and for short periods of time.