This is the first post in my product strategy brief series. This series aims to stress-test a product strategy brief. I hope the product strategy brief can be the strategy-level equivalent of product briefs.
In part 1, I will try to apply this product strategy brief to a video game my brother and I have been playing on during quarantine. The video game is Rocket League. Basically, it is rocket-boosted remote control cars playing indoor soccer.
The Strategy Brief can be broken down into a few sections. To start, it is helpful to detail the current situation (Good Strategy / Bad Strategy calls this the "Diagnosis"). Not only does this detail the main challenges to overcome but also outlines any competitive advantages. After assessing the situation, it is important to outline the customer segments thee strategy will target. Finally, we can define the guiding policies. This strategy breakdown was influenced by Good Strategy / Bad Strategy and Shreyas Doshi.
The Diagnosis is an honest assessment of the current situation. What core challenges does the product/team face? What are the current advantages to leverage?
What are the top structural things that make your situation challenging? Challenges could come from anywhere (market, product, customers, technology)
What are the top attributes of the situation that are suited for you? These could be changing market conditions, a unique insight, distribution channels, partner relationships
A short statement incorporating both hurdles and advantages.
Our gaming console and lack of experience put us at a distinct disadvantage when playing Rocket League, which requires quick, precise input. How might we use our superior teamwork and patience to uniquely overcome the hurdles we encounter?
What are the different dimensions of segmentation that this product or service will focus on? What segments of customers will you ignore?
This section is not applicable if the strategy is not being applied to a product or service. Our Rocket League team does not have any customers (yet).
Given the situation and target customer segments, what are your core strategic principles? These policies should take a stance. The opposite of each policy should also be a viable policy.
Since we do not have the dexterity of gamers with more real-time experience and playing on a Switch we have opted to focus on defense.
By focusing on defense we are allowing our opponents to occupy our half of the field most of the game. As they fail to score for longer periods of time, most opponents sacrifice positioning to be more aggressive. This aggressiveness causes more mistakes and we need to capitalize on those mistakes.
This guiding policy helps us focus the little practice time we have. When practicing offensive skills we prioritize hitting long balls from our defensive end correctly over trying closer range precision shots.
Ariels are seen as very important to Rocket League players, but also require very precise joystick position and
Guiding policies make decision-making easier. By clearly defining the policies we are using while playing Rocket League, when
Question: Should I go get boost (makes the car faster) and risk being out of position? Answer: No
Question: The ball is in the air (would require an aerial to reach) not in a threatening position. What should I do. Answer: Do not challenge the aerial. Position yourself well to react to a hit by the opponent.
Question: The ball is in the air (would requiree an aerial to reach) and there is a large risk of it going in our goal. How should I respond. Answer: Go for the ball, but be sure to take advantage of our realtime communication and let your partner know (so they can continue focusing on their defensive position).
Defining this strategy and discussing it with my brother has helped us rank up in Rocket League even though we lack a lot of the flashy moves of our opponent. Strategy lays out where to focus (and where not to focus). Having a clear strategy helps us compete with much more skilled competitors and makes the game more fun.