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The event of a product technique doesn’t have to be advanced to be efficient. And but, in 20 years as a product supervisor, I’ve regularly encountered companies that overcomplicate it and wind up navigating a maze of competing targets and pointless necessities. These experiences led me to develop a framework, comprising three driving forces, that can assist steer any product technique.

I just lately utilized this to nice success when working with a consumer within the automotive trade. The ensuing technique led us to create a very new product line and a $2 million enhance in income within the first yr.

The great thing about this framework lies in its simplicity and adaptableness: It may be applied by product managers in any trade to streamline their product course of and obtain the identical success for his or her purchasers or corporations.

The Driving Forces of a Product Technique

My framework is loosely based mostly on a company technique concept developed by Tregoe and Zimmerman known as “the driving forces,” which asserts that the driving power is the principle motive for an organization’s existence, setting the path of all efforts and influencing all choices within the group. The 9 potential driving forces that may information a enterprise are:

Based on Tregoe and Zimmerman, the driving power of any group could be decided by answering a easy query: When choices are made concerning the path of an organization, which one of many 9 areas is most closely weighted? After learning this company technique framework, I spotted it may also be utilized to merchandise.

There could also be many advanced theories on the market, however there ought to solely be three drivers of product technique. In contrast to Tregoe and Zimmerman’s concept, it’s not a matter of selecting one—quite, they work collectively, and a product technique wants to handle all three of those forces to achieve success: market want, capabilities, and popularity.

A strong product technique requires three important parts. With out firm popularity (A), the product shouldn’t be trusted. With out market want (B), the product is not going to be in demand. With out capabilities (C), the product can’t be made.

1. Market Want

The primary of the three drivers is market want. This consists of higher serving an current want, uncovering an unknown want, or creating a brand new want.

  • Higher serving an current want. Uber and Lyft are excellent examples of this. They took the taxi-service trade and located a brand new, extra environment friendly option to meet each driver and buyer necessities.
  • Uncovering an unknown want. A agency I labored with developed a safety digital camera that might view a whole room in nice element and supply immediate notification of unauthorized exercise. This was not one thing the trade had been asking for, since nobody had conceived a product like this was potential to create.
  • Creating a brand new want. The iPhone created a platform for functions that make our lives simpler, and in doing so, created a client want for these functions. Whole companies at the moment are launched to serve these new calls for.

Enterprise faculties educate a number of strategies that goal to uncover and outline the wants of your market, such because the jobs-to-be-done methodology. Whereas these could be useful, ask your self the next inquiries to develop and information your new product concepts:

If you happen to determined to eradicate your present product line in six months, what impression would which have in your prospects?

Reply this query truthfully, even when it forces you to simply accept a actuality you don’t need to confront. If there can be little impression, you then shouldn’t contemplate increasing this product line, because it seems to supply no distinctive worth to the market and can be simply changed by opponents’ merchandise. However, for those who assume eliminating it might trigger a surge in orders as prospects snap up the remaining inventory, then your product line is efficacious and you might contemplate increasing it.

Is your new product going to disrupt the market or solely create a ripple on the floor?

In case your product is simply going to trigger a ripple, providing no vital enchancment to what prospects can already purchase (and doubtless have already got), then it’s worthwhile to contemplate whether or not you must pursue it in any respect. Low-revenue product strains can quickly grow to be a drain on income.

If you happen to envision that your product will disrupt the market, does your agency have the monetary and talent assets to maintain this impression? If not, then you’ll create a market that your opponents might exploit. I just lately labored with a consumer who put a big portion of its R&D assets into creating a cutting-edge video and optic product. The issue was that the corporate didn’t have sufficient assets to proceed this improvement and enhance older merchandise that had been performing poorly out there. Whereas the brand new product breathed life right into a faltering firm, permitting it to stay viable for 3 or 4 extra years, a number of opponents launched extra superior options inside a yr, and the agency couldn’t enhance its product to maintain up with them.

What would occur for those who had been to delay the discharge of a brand new product by just a few months with a view to make it extra superior?

Balancing timing and alternative is on the coronary heart of a good product roadmap. In case your roadmap is efficient, you may eradicate the price of future product improvement cycles. Beforehand, by spending barely extra time and assets designing a product, I enabled it to remain out there for a further 12 to 18 months, eliminating the necessity for a whole product improvement cycle and giving us a head begin on the competitors, whereas growing the per-unit value by lower than 10%.

2. Capabilities

The second driving power is capabilities. You want to pay attention to each the capabilities which can be out there to you now and people who could possibly be acquired. The minimal capabilities to think about are: technical, manufacturing, and distribution.

Analyzing these three facets of your enterprise, and making adequate investments in any areas the place you might be at present missing, will assist maintain your product technique. That is how one can make sure you obtain crucial mass in every of the next key areas:


With out this functionality, your improvement workforce will be unable to create the product. This may occasionally appear apparent, however in my expertise it’s usually missed. You need to establish the actual abilities wanted in your mission, and guarantee every workforce member has related, demonstrable experience and success. This assurance might come from optimistic testimonials from earlier managers or colleagues, or data of tasks and merchandise. If your organization lacks assets, these roles are simple to outsource.


In case your product entails {hardware} and the manufacturing unit you’ve chosen shouldn’t be able to constructing it in adequate portions or with the mandatory high quality, you might be jeopardizing your success out there. Once more, this will appear apparent to an skilled chief, however is value reiterating.

The standards you must take note of when evaluating potential producers and suppliers are: expertise constructing comparable merchandise within the applicable volumes, a strong high quality management and product audit operate, and monetary and stock phrases and circumstances which can be appropriate in your line of enterprise.


With no strong distribution system or community, you will be unable to help the calls for of your prospects. That is an space you need to concentrate on, however relying on the corporate, there could also be little {that a} single product line can do to impact vital change as a result of distribution agreements are sometimes made at larger and broader ranges.

What you are able to do is create a holistic gross sales, customer support, and technical help program that ensures these groups are absolutely versed within the product, in order that they will help prospects the place potential. I’ve partnered with purchasers many occasions to develop such packages.

Is it potential in your product to achieve success if your enterprise shouldn’t be sturdy in all three areas I’ve offered? Sure—the objective right here is to pay attention to any weaknesses and competent sufficient in every space to realize your targets.

3. Popularity

The ultimate driving power of a profitable product technique is the corporate’s popularity. Popularity impacts the success of your product in two methods: the moral and ethical habits of the corporate, and the corporate’s experience in a specific space. Whereas the previous is addressed on the government degree, your organization’s space of experience guides the path of your product technique.

If your organization has an excellent popularity for creating excellent metal parts for the plane trade, for instance, then transferring into titanium elements is a flip that your prospects will perceive. If, nevertheless, your organization determined to begin providing digital parts for home bike producers, its popularity within the plane trade could not observe it into this space or bear any weight there. The success of the gross sales, advertising and marketing, and distribution channels relies on their reputation with prospects. Including a brand new market during which they’re unknown to prospects is a big hurdle to beat.

Because the product supervisor, one step you may take to enhance your possibilities of success is to investigate your organization’s popularity from an outsider’s viewpoint. You are able to do this in quite a few methods, however begin by studying press releases, listening to buyers’ suggestions, collaborating along with your advertising and marketing or buyer groups to collect knowledge on complaints and requests, researching on-line evaluations, and even inviting buyer responses to your new product thought.

Kick-start Your Product Journey

You may deploy this framework at present to achieve—or regain—momentum in a product line’s income and profitability. Used originally of your consumer engagements, these product technique parts will information each your discussions with leaders and your personal decision-making as you begin placing collectively a cohesive and actionable product plan.

When creating your product technique, consider the broader targets and imaginative and prescient of the corporate itself. Any product plan should absolutely help the company technique and be aligned with its ambition—the synergy of the 2 will additional the success of the product line.

Market want, capabilities, and popularity: With simply these three driving forces, you may start shaping a strong and efficient technique, producing the concepts wanted to strengthen your product providing and, subsequently, the enterprise as a complete.

Additional Studying on the Toptal Product Weblog:

The three Important Product Technique Parts