Strategic context

In order for our product teams to be empowered and make the right decisions, we need to make sure they have the necessary context to make these decisions.

Our strategic context consists of the following:



  3. (company) &

  4. Yearly targets

  5. (company) &

Top-down vs bottom-up

While the strategic context is defined by leadership and is top-down, the product team(s) defines the “how” to contribute to reaching the company’s mission, vision, and yearly targets (in line with the strategy). However, this does not happen in isolation but rather is a continuous back-and-forth with leadership and the rest of the company.

There are a couple of frameworks that make this bottom-up input & continuous back-and-forth possible:

  1. Our Quarterly Objectives & Key Results.

  2. Our product development methodology, Shape Up, with concepts like “Shaping” (which is a team-driven effort) and the “Betting Table”.

  3. Insight-driven decision-making processes where insights can come from any team in the company (not only product).

Translating strategic context into Actions

In the end, we are a technology/product company - so we need to translate our strategic context into concrete actions. This is where (how) and (doing it, execution) comes in.

At this point, we focused on a limited number of critical problems - defined by our product strategy - so now it’s time to leverage insights into actions.

Problems, not features

We want to have empowered product teams that solve problems and not just build features. The latter is an output and usually the means to an end but it’s important that we are outcome driven and only go into the nitty gritty details at the right level.

We want our teams to feel ownership of a problem and take responsibility for discovering and delivering a solution that provides the necessary results. We want to give the teams as many degrees of freedom to come up with an effective solution.

To make this concrete, see the below (hypothetical) example:


Responsible person or team


Not good


Responsible person or team


Not good

Mission, vision, …


For the purpose of the example, I am leaving this out but remember there’s a higher strategic context in which we operate.

Company strategy


Build breadth with the product for the different CareOps stages.

Invest time in A/B testing of care flows (feature driven, too specific).

Company (yearly) target


Have 5 reference customers by the end of the year.


Product strategy

(but w/ cross-fx input)

Based on (cross-functional) insights, we understand that our data capabilities are an important contributor of why people are failing to capture the value of Awell.

Ideally with a corresponding OKR, eg: 5 customers acknowledged that their data needs are covered.

Move our data stack to Google BigQuery (too specific, already answering the “how”).

Product discovery & development (tactics)

Product teams or pods
(consisting of engineers, product manager, and product designer)

Move our data stack to Google BigQuery.

Anything that is too vague. At this point we should have narrowed down the problem and be very specific on how to solve it.