As the role of product manager evolves, so does the need for a strategic thinker to help companies create products that meet customer needs and achieve business goals. The product strategist is a new and developing role that fills this need. So what is a product strategist, and how can you become one?
Product strategist definition
As a product strategist, you will need to understand the role and purpose of all parts of the product development process. You will be able to use those insights to create new processes and tools that allow companies to build high-performing products faster.
Therefore the product strategist definition is someone who works across the product development process to create new ways of working that allow companies to build innovative, engaging, and high-performing products faster.
What does a product strategist do?
Okay, so you’re across the product strategists definition – but what do they do!!? A product strategist is someone who works with multiple departments in their company, along with customers and end-users, to understand what features those team members need now and into the future. This person is able to use those insights to build a comprehensive feature list for their product.
They work on establishing business goals and KPIs for their projects and prioritize them against other projects. They make sure all teams involved are aware of each goal and these priorities by creating accurate project plans which they all buy into.
How to succeed as a product strategist?
To succeed as a product strategist you will need strong analytical skills and a detailed understanding of what tools can help you accomplish your product development process. You will need to be able to work autonomously and possess good time management skills, as the role is often fast-paced and demanding.
The product strategist does all this by:
Liaising closely with product managers. This is important because product managers are responsible for the product delivery, while the product strategist needs to understand what new techniques or tools they need to use in order to develop that product.
Working with engineers and developers on their new feature list is also important. These are essential members of your team since they will help you build all these features. The relationship between the engineer/developer is key here – so make sure you get it right!
Let’s not forget marketing! Liaising closely with marketing teams – this is important because they will need to devise a marketing strategy and launch plan for the product. They will also need your input on key messages, messaging hierarchy and so much more.
Collaborating with finance teams is important too! Why? Because it’s important that all investors and stakeholders understand what you’re doing and how it contributes to the business and its success. If they aren’t clear about what product strategists do, then they’re not going to be as supportive of their work!
Strategic product thinking
Promoting strategic thinking across teams. Product strategy touches upon every aspect of a company and its processes, not just development: marketing, sales, customer service and so much more. You could be working in any department within an organization – so ensure everyone’s on-board with this mindset change by reporting back frequently and making recommendations when necessary.
Collecting data from end-users – this is critical because their feedback will be used to inform product strategy and development. You should be using this as a way of gauging their pain points and how they feel about existing features/products too.
Identifying what success looks like for your product, as well as what KPIs need to be achieved in order for you to consider the project a win – this is important! At the end of the day it’s all about results and checking those KPI boxes – so make sure you factor these into every conversation and decision you make.
Don’t forget about analyzing information and making decisions based on that analysis (in order to prioritize projects). As we all know, this is integral because it’s at the heart of good project management.
Forward and future thinking!
You’ll need to identify gaps in tools or processes. We live in an era where there’s a tool developed every second day to aid our workflow… But which ones actually make a difference? You should be identifying what those are as well as any deficiencies or redundancies within the process.
You’ll also become an evangelist for new tools/technologies/processes that haven’t been employed within the business before. Demonstrating how they can benefit from process implementation is critical here but also making sure everyone understands why they’re essential to progressing toward their product goals.
Product strategists career path
So now we know what a product strategist’s definition is and what they do… But how does one become a product strategist? The first step toward becoming a product strategist is by asking yourself why you want to become one?
How to position yourself well for a product strategist role?
The first step is to identify if you have the skills required for the role. Product strategist jobs often require strong business acumen, product management skills, communication skills, change management experience and technical skills. If you don’t have all of these skills, then you can start by developing them.
Secondly, start following thought leaders in this field and read up on their work. This will give you a good understanding of the latest trends and what’s important to product strategists right now.
Thirdly, attend product strategy-related events and networking events. This is a great way to meet other professionals who are working in this field and learn from their experiences.
Lastly, start practicing! Try applying the skills that you’ve learned.
How do I pivot from a product role to a product strategist?
Let’s say you’re already a product manager and want to become a product strategist – how do you do that?
First, take stock of what you’re already doing in your product manager role. Are you responsible for the strategic development of the product? Do you work with external stakeholders to prioritize features and backlogs? Are you gathering insight from users or customers?
All of these are tasks that a product strategist would also be responsible for so it’s important to establish what you’re already doing and establish whether it’s in line with product strategy.
Secondly, think about the projects you’ve taken on recently. Have any of them involved forecasting the future? Have they required prioritization or research into new features/tools that you could use to innovate your product offering?
Thirdly, take stock of the skills you’ve developed. Did you develop any of the skills listed above during your product manager journey? Have you attended events and networking functions to meet and network with other professionals within this space?
Lastly, start practicing! Try applying the skills that you’ve learned to every project that you’re involved in.
Now the good stuff: Product strategist salary
A product strategist is a relatively new role – but that doesn’t mean there is no salary information available about it! A product strategist’s salary is typically in the range of $90,000 to $150,000.
That’s a lot of burgers!
How to be a successful product strategist?
So, you’re about to become a product strategist or, you’re already a product strategist and you want to be the best one possible! Great! Here are some tips to always continue to learn and grow.
First, read! You’ve probably already started by following thought leaders in the field and reading their work. Now that you’re doing it regularly, continue to do so.
Next, attend product strategy events and networking functions. This will help you meet other product strategists but also learn from them what they would do in certain situations or how they implement certain strategies.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to fail! The only way you’re going to learn is by trying things out yourself and what better way to do that than in your product strategists role?
Always keep in touch with your customers. Attend UX research meetings, go over customer success insights, and read over customer feedback surveys. Our hot tip is to always record your customer meetings, so you can forever have a catalog of customer insights on hand.
Final thoughts on becoming a product strategist
So there you have it – your guide to what is a product strategist and how to become one! As mentioned above, being a product strategist is a relatively new role but it does exist. We believe that this is the perfect time to get involved because there’s so much opportunity for growth and expansion within this space!
Our final thoughts are – don’t be afraid to fail, always keep learning, meet as many people in your field as possible, and start practicing what you’ve learned through real – We hope you found this article helpful.