Strategy is Not Just Repeating the Current Buzzwords

Strategy is an essential part of the business, however, to do it right, requires insight, data, and leadership. Unfortunately, it often devolves to buzzword

The Dude is back for today’s installment. He has just been instructed to generate the product strategy and present it at the January planning meeting. It truly came out in a meeting, a flippant comment. Sounds like a great job, right? Well, it has some wrinkles.

I should point out that we do communication software. Enterprise focused. We are really good at what we do, and we lead the market.

In the bad old days, we made several attempts to re-invent ourselves. Like Don Quixote, tilting at windmills, we believed that we could change our DNA, and really do something totally different.

Multiple acquisitions, literally $100’s of millions of dollars pissed away. And our quest to be like the current GOP Presidential nomination process, and find anything but our core competence failed.

We were days from going belly up. Real risk of failing to make payroll. And a white knight swoops in and buys us. They saw our distinctive competence (and an amazing Support business), and adjusted our attitude.

Now we are +3 years post acquisition. And we are once again trying to be anything but what we really are.

Now the Dude doesn’t fall for the fad of the day, he knows and feels deep in his heart that we should be building around our distinctive competence. Adding to the ecosystem. Embracing extensions to the technology. Broadening the available market. Identifying new verticals that can be exploited. Extending the technology in the context of our strengths.

Alas, all is not well in product management land. The Dude’s boss bounces from one buzzword to another. Cloud, services, hosting, internet telephony, virtualization, appliances, hybrid, mobile applications. Every friggin week, what was hot is not, and now we have to embrace something new. The Dude is definitely getting whiplash. The Dude often finds out that our operations team has spoken to development, and a project is underway that was off the radar. How the fuck is the Dude supposed to execute if his resources are surreptitiously being usurped? Answer me that.

The Dude has 3 weeks to prepare a decent strategy. He knows that he will pull together a strong plan, but whether his boss will be receptive remains to be seen.

Oh, and for the record, all voice of the customer work has pretty much put to rest the mobile strategy. Wish the Dude strength to keep that at arm’s length.


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