Product Practice Newsletter

🛠️ Your Product Strategy Needs to Say these 3 Things

Published 27 days ago • 3 min read

Linked Better Practices over Stacked Best Practices




May 17, 2024


5 min & 32 sec

​Dear Reader,​

Your Product Strategy is not just a fill-in-the-blanks statement you put on a slide or the canvas you fill out. It’s a powerful tool, the coherent connection of individual patterns and components, that guides your every move, no matter the format in which you display these.

BUT, once you have articulated your choices, you can use concise statements to check if you provide an apparent reason to say no to things:

Our <value proposition or offering> helps <audience> achieve <job>.

We distribute <value proposition or offering> through <distribution channel> to reach <audience>.

<Audience> chooses <value proposition> and not <alternative> to achieve <job> because of <differentiation.>

Watch for these two things to test the quality and effectiveness of these proving statements:

  1. Do they make sense? Is this a straight sentence you can say to someone? Don’t cram it into the structure above, but adjust it to sound natural while still hitting these talking points.
  2. Are they “opposable” (or plain stupid when articulated as the opposite, as Roger Martin says)? Could you legitimately replace the variables of audience, differentiator, channel, job, etc., with different choices that outline a different strategic direction? Only then can your strategy deliver its core value of enabling teams to say no to things. Watch for generic words like “to succeed,” “professional users,” “Marketing,” etc.

Don’t start your strategic thinking with these statements to avoid falling for Alibi Strategy. Treat your Strategy like a Product and focus your formats and activities on the value it has to provide.

You can keep them in the back of your mind when working on individual parts of your strategy (”Does this align with this statement?” or “Can this be opposed?”).


  • Does your Strategy provide Substance? What gaps does your Strategy contain so that you can't articulate your statements.
  • Test for Opposition. For components of these statements, can you find legitimate alternatives so that you make actual choices?
  • Get more Questions. Get inspired to form your own statements with the examples provided in the Product Field Reference Guide.

Did you enjoy this one or have feedback? Do reply. It's motivating. I'm not a robot; I read and respond to every subscriber email I get (just ask around). If this newsletter isn't for you anymore, you can unsubscribe here.

Thank you for Practicing Product,


How to Dive Deeper into Product Strategy

Learn how I helped companies like Chrono24 hone their Product Strategy practices. I closely work with product organizations through workshops and coaching to introduce and adapt Product Strategy.

Content I found Practical This Week

If Strategy Is So Important, Why Don’t We Make Time for It?

Even with limited time and the same amount of responsibilities, it’s far easier to think strategically if you can clear the decks by doing simple things such as writing down all of your outstanding tasks in one place, so you can properly triage them and aren’t constantly interrupted by the feeling that you forgot something.

3 Product Vision Formats That Aren’t Boring!

I wrote this because, I hear regular criticism that Product Visions aren’t valuable and a waste of time. And in many cases that’s true, in their context because it’s something that is quickly shelved, left to gather dust. But was that the fault of Product Visions or was it the context and environment? My experience (working with over 100 different product teams and companies all over the world) is that it’s often the latter. There’s a few dynamics at play. The first is the classic feature factory, where visions fall flat because they're fixated on specific features and not the future. The second common scenario I see is how we format and communicate our product vision.

Strategic Thinking for Product Managers

A good decision is not necessarily a “right” decision — that is, a decision that has a successful outcome. We’re predicting the future, and we can’t ever know for certain whether we’ll be right. Every decision involves risk — and sometimes more risk means more opportunity for upside. So a good decision is one that strikes the right balance of risk and reward.

What did you think of this week's newsletter?







Who is Tim Herbig?

As a Product Management Coach, I guide Product Teams to measure the progress of their evidence-informed decisions.

I identify and share the patterns among better practices to connect the dots of Product Strategy, Product OKRs, and Product Discovery.

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