Portfolio Vision and Product Strategy

When you set off on a road trip, one of the most essential tools you carry with you is a map (even in todays age of smartphones, you still rely on Google Maps or any other mapping app; or if you’re traveling with a co-pilot, there’s the dependency on the map).

Maps are essential because they help guide you towards your destination, without them it can be nearly impossible to journey to an unknow/unfamiliar area.

In a business environment, maps can help formulate strategy. Maps can enable everyone within the organization to understand what the journey to success looks like and what the turn-by-turn directions are to formulate the strategy.

The Portfolio Vision is the map for organization to define and increase its business value in a way to promote organizational efficiency and achieve sustainable growth. Like a map, the Portfolio Vision shows the big picture (the destination) as well as the details (the turn-by-turn directions) needed to achieve the objectives and the broader aim of the organization (a future state).

It is the Portfolio Vision that describes how the portfolio’s value streams and solutions are coordinated to ensure success, which is accomplished by examining both an internal and external perspective. From an internal perspective, the focus is primarily on financial performance, specifically the profits. An external perspective examines the intangibles – people, technology and culture, that resonate with the developed, or proposed, solutions. A Portfolio Vision defines the connections between the internal and external perspective, affording organizations the ability to develop a balanced strategy taking in both the near-term results and long-term goals

Strategizing

The Portfolio Vision is not only useful in managing the day-to-day interactions between the various interconnected products, it also functions as a bridge between each product and the overarching corporate strategy.

The Portfolio Vision in its entirety represents the alignment of the products toward the corporate strategy, the individual components of the Portfolio Vision provide the clarity and ensures the agendas are aligned across the products.

Agreement on the individual components, how they are defined and prioritized, can take time. Typically, this can be achieved through various workshop initiatives using a mixture of Affinity Mapping to define, and Balanced Scorecard to assist in the prioritization. This process requires organizations to clarify their goals and short to midterm objectives. The outcome will also identify any gaps in the strategy that will need to be addressed in the Portfolio Vision.

Synergizing

The Portfolio Vision unites teams across departments by providing a single, comprehensive view. By establishing the Portfolio Vision as the source of truth you can avoid duplication of efforts that may disrupt the strategy while ensuring the teams as well as the departments are aligned in their various initiatives to achieve the desired outcomes.

On the team level, the Portfolio Vision gives individual teams awareness of what the other teams are working on so they can better understand their work’s impact on others and build on one another. On the program level, the Portfolio Vision establishes a synergy (much like project portfolios)  that pulls in the diverse perspectives and ensures everyone is working towards the same goals and objectives. And on the portfolio level, the Portfolio Vision establish a single comprehensive view that guides the organization.

Signaling

At the end of the day the Portfolio Vision is a map, it is a visual representation of the journey; it illustrates how the individual components of the portfolio contribute to the strategic objectives and overarching goals the organization has. The Portfolio Vision enables one to fully comprehend the scope, reach, and role they have regardless of whether they are working on team level, program level, or portfolio level.

Like the BMC (The Business Model Canvas) and VPC (Value Proposition Canvas), the Portfolio Vision must clearly articulate the end goals, the destination, and can help identify the risks along the way. It shall translate the strategy into operations and help everyone understand the value creation process.

 

Want to learn more? Check out Product Strategy Knowledge Hub, where you can find other product strategy resources.

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About Shreyas Pandit

Insightful product manager with expertise in Agile methodology and a talent for balancing business acumen with technical expertise to interpret client needs, propose and develop fresh solutions, and deliver solid user experiences. Excels at identifying inefficiencies and developing process improvements that cut down processing time and operating costs. Thrives in an entrepreneurial environment and is respected for a calm demeanor and an ability to lead and motivate cross-functional teams.

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