When you combine strategic and tactical requirements, you can end up with a bowl of spaghetti or a layer cake. The layer cake approach makes the relationship between strategic and tactical requirements simple for everyone to understand and, believe it or not, a more appetizing dish for the masses. The Playbook:

Define requirements using a layered approach to ensure high-fidelity context that makes the WHO, WHAT and WHY elements perfectly clear before you define the technical HOW product requirements.

  1. Market Dynamics – macro level market trends that shape the strategy of your target customers.
  2. Strategic Initiatives – the strategic priorities of your target customers that are dictated by the market dynamics.
  3. Operational Initiatives – the operational and departmental priorities of your target customers (department heads) that collectively support the customer’s strategy.
  4. Tactical Initiatives – the specific job tasks of customers doing the work in the trenches that need to be improved to make them better at their job in a way that’s valuable to their department and the organization.
  5. Product Requirements – functional and technical descriptions of “how” the product should work to make people better at their job.

The layered approach to strategic and tactical requirements creates a simple narrative that separates the WHO, WHAT and WHY (1-4 above) from the HOW (number 5). Try it when you present your next product roadmap and take notice of how engaged your audience is when you speak the business language of the customer instead of the technical language of your products.