How to Define a Product Strategy: The Value-Based Approach

Luke Galliwade
9 min readSep 4, 2019

In my article on why Product Management is so misunderstood, I described how the discipline is structured around two core tenets:

  1. Define a clear, value-based product strategy
  2. Create and manage a healthy roadmap

In this post, I’m going to go into depth on the first — why I believe a ‘value-based’ approach to defining a product strategy is most effective and what that actually looks like.

Why value-based?

How do you know if you’re a good person? Most people think about the answer to that question in terms of their values. Values are themes which describe the kind of thing you tend to do over time — how you behave. Are you brave, kind, honest? Values are also used as north stars, which help you guide your actions to be better. They are an ideal that you strive for.

How do you know if you’re a good person?

What is the difference between a value and a goal and how do the two relate? Here are some rough-and-ready definitions to start with:

  • Value: An ongoing and lifelong process that defies completion, but provides direction on how you act and behave e.g. be brave
  • Goal: A finite, short term object of satisfaction which is helpful for gaining quick benefits e.g. go to the dentist and get a check-up

I’m really scared of the dentist. So when I arrive at the dreaded surgery, I am guided by my value — be brave. Therefore, I know what my goal ought to be; sit down and have a check-up. Don’t run away (again).

Through practising brave acts (completing goals) over time, I will become brave.

Is that goal worthwhile? What do your values say?

In this example, my goal is driven by my value. However, the goal doesn’t explain the big picture. In order to understand a goal (and if it’s actually worthwhile or not), it needs to be rooted in a worthwhile value.

If your values are worthwhile, then it follows that your goals will be too.

Good values = good goals = good person

So, how do you know if a product is good?

Luke Galliwade

Principal Product Manager at ustwo, London. Award-winning writer on product. Find me on twitter @luke_gallimore