David Pereira Product Leader with 15+ years of experience. Partner at Value Rebels and interim CPO at omoqo. Almost every product team is trapped somehow; untrapping them is what drives me.

4 templates to uplevel your product strategy

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4 product strategy templates

When I first started my product management journey, I often got stuck in discussions around what to do, who to serve, and how to prioritize time. Month after month, I argued with business stakeholders around the same topics.

At some points, people asked me so many questions that I felt like I was a meeting manager instead of a product manager. The following haunted me the most:

  • Who should we prioritize, buyers or sellers?
  • What matters most, growth or retention?
  • What’s for now, later, or never?
  • How do I know if we’re successful?

If any of these questions ring a bell to you, you may be suffering from a lack of a clear product strategy.

In this article, you will learn what a product strategy is, the challenges you might face creating one, and four templates to get you started.

Table of contents

What is product strategy?

Product strategy is a high-level product management and marketing plan that outlines what a team aims to accomplish with its product and how it will get there. The plan serves as a living document to guide decision making regarding the direction of the product.

A clear product strategy plan enables teams to focus and make daily decisions. This will allow your team to know what and what not to do, who to serve, and what success looks like.

Product strategy isn’t a plan you blindly follow. It’s a set of constraints defining how to conduct business. It doesn’t limit you, but instead guides you in the right direction.

Challenges of setting a product strategy

The most difficult part of setting a product strategy is knowing where to start and what to use. If you try googling product strategy, you’ll find hundreds of posts about it. However, no single article will provide you with a foolproof template for success.

Part of product management involves seeing what works for others and adapting these formulas to your own team. So much depends on your particular use-case that I can’t say that one strategy or tool will always work, but I will share what works for me and hundreds of others in the field.

4 templates to uplevel your product strategy

Although there’s no one-size-fits-all template for product strategy, I find that successful teams often utilize variations of the following four:

Product vision: Where to land

To develop an effective product strategy, you need to nail your product vision. Your vision is the big picture goal that you have for a product. You can think of this as where you want your product to go.

When you get the vision right, you put people on a mission. A great vision is inspiring, audacious, achievable, and focused.

To help you craft your product vision, start with some structure and then you can always riff off the ideas that you generate. A classic template is:

Product Vision Template

I like this format because it makes the characteristics clear and it provides guidance. From this, you will have a clear sense of who will interact with your product and how you will carve out a market niche.

You can use this template with your team to work towards a vision statement that accurately represents the direction of the product and its customer fit.

Strategy: Context and constraints

Product vision helps with direction, but you need more than that to provide enough guidance to your team. How do you set this correctly? This is where developing strategy comes into play now that you know what you want your product to accomplish.

There are many templates to help develop strategy, but I’d recommend Lean Canvas by Ash Maurya, Founder/CEO of Leanstack:

Lean Canvas

The Lean Canvas breaks down your product into individual boxes that allow you to arrive at a deeper understanding of your product, so that you know exactly what you need to accomplish. These boxes are

  1. Customer segments — Start by defining the target audience you serve. You can have different levels. Keep them clear and start with your earliest adopters
  2. Problem — What problems do your customer segments face? Make the problems concise and easy to understand
  3. Unique value proposition — What’s your value proposition? In other words, make it clear how you create value by addressing the problems of your customer segments
  4. Solution — Elaborate on how you solve the problem by describing your solution in a high-level way
  5. Channels — How do you get to your customer segments? Describe your channels
  6. Revenue streams — What sources of income do you create? Typical examples are subscriptions, premium subscribers, ads, commission, etc. You can combine multiple revenue streams
  7. Cost structure — What do you need to keep delivering your solutions? Likely development, marketing, and payroll costs
  8. Key metrics — How do you measure success? Define three to five key metrics that ensure your business is booming
  9. Unfair advantage — Unfair advantage reflects what you have that others cannot easily copy. The more complicated it is to copy, the stronger your unfair advantage is

To fill out the Lean Canvas, you need to involve management, business stakeholders, and product leaders. Keep it simple, and continuously evolve it as you gain evidence from experiments. You can find the template here.

Value curve: How to differentiate

Alongside Lean Canvas, I like to run competitor analysis. Competitor analysis involves coming to an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of rival products in your market. To do this, you need to know your competition and what you want to focus on differently.

Blue Ocean strategy developed an effective strategy for competitor analysis. It has four aspects:

  • Stop — Define what your product doesn’t offer
  • Reduce — Select a few product attributes emphasize less
  • Increase — Determine the features you want to increase the value of
  • Create — Start doing something unavailable in the market

To clarify, let’s compare a traditional bank with a digital one:

Traditional Digital

As you’ve defined what to stop, reduce, increase, and create. Define how you distribute your value curve. For each attribute, assign a value from zero to ten, where zero means it’s not in the product, and ten means it’s the best in the market:

Value Curve Chart

To illustrate your value curve, you can create a simple graph:

Value Curve

Creating a value curve allows you to clearly see where your product differentiates itself from its competitor. You can use this template with your team.

Roadmap: What to focus on when

Once you have a clear understanding of your vision, strategy, and value, turn your attention towards creating a roadmap for your product. After experiencing different roadmaps, I came up with one that worked the best for me. Let me share it with you:


This format is simple, and it utilizes the following:

  • Now — What matters most right now. This should provide the focus for one to three months
  • Next — This column represents aspects you know are relevant and will work on right after you finish the critical ones
  • Later — You cannot predict more than six months. Whatever enters here means you’re considering working on it only after you finish the other parts
  • Trash — This is the most critical part. You need to agree on what you won’t do and put that in the trash. Sometimes I say that greatest product managers increase the size of the trash bin instead of the product backlog

Let’s move from abstraction to something concrete. The following represents an example of a roadmap using this template:

Roadmap Example

This is a real roadmap from one of the companies I worked for. Back then, I struggled to balance customer lifetime value and acquisition cost.

After working with my team, we argued on the following roadmap answers:

  • Now — Increasing basket size was our ultimate goal. We came up with two targets: reduce no-result searches and increase recommended products added to the cart
  • Next — We wanted to return to growth while keeping our customers satisfied
  • Later — Growth would become our focus and we wanted to continue exploring it later
  • Trash — We agreed on dropping some of our topics to ensure we would not get distracted. We concluded that promoted products and free vouchers weren’t part of our identity, so we trashed them

You can use this template with your own team to create a successful roadmap.


Effective product strategy allows teams to generate value products. Without meaningful strategy, teams get lost and fail to deliver successful products.

By leveraging vision, strategy, value, and roadmap templates, you can ensure that your team remains on track to deliver on its objectives.

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David Pereira Product Leader with 15+ years of experience. Partner at Value Rebels and interim CPO at omoqo. Almost every product team is trapped somehow; untrapping them is what drives me.

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