There are two issues with the labels of strategic and tactical product management:
- The tactical label lacks the glamour of a strategist, not to mention all the hard work that goes with it.
- Neither label is conducive to market/customer focus.
Forget about strategic and tactical. Think about strategy and execution.
- Strategy is everyone’s job — deciding what you’re going to do and why it’s valuable to the market.
- Execution is also everyone’s job — executing the strategy.
Strategic product management implies that the people best suited for the job are capable of thinking at a higher level, a label that all too often creates a perception that strategic people have more value to the organization than those who are not strategic. Right or wrong, it’s a reality.
Conversely, tactical product management implies that the people best suited for the job are doers rather than thinkers. In most people’s mind, it’s less desirable than strategic.
It’s not really a question of which tasks are strategic and which are tactical. It’s more a question of how much time you should spend deciding what to do (strategy) versus doing it (execution).
To that end, the strategic component of product management and product marketing is answering the WHO, WHAT & WHY questions as it relates to the market.
- Who are our target customers?
- What are they trying to accomplish?
- Why are those goals important to their business success?
The execution side of the equation is answering the HOW questions.
- How will we grow short-term revenue by marketing and selling solutions we have?
- How will we build and deliver solutions necessary for longer-term growth?
The problem with labeling tasks strategic or tactical is it creates a perception that some people just have to think while others get to do all the work. Unless you’ve got an army of people to do the grunt work, these perceptions can become the root cause of poor execution.
Instead of thinking about which tasks are strategic and which are tactical, think about how much time you should spend deciding what to do versus doing it, and manage your time accordingly. A good rule of thumb: spend 20% of your time deciding what to do (strategy) and spend 80% of your time doing it (execution).
Need to get rid of the strategic and tactical labels in your organization? Contact Proficientz to discuss the benefits of our Product Management Framework and B2B training programs that up-level everyone’s skills by making the customer’s goals the center of everything.