Butler presents strategy kernel for product development

NEW YORK—“Strategy isn’t just something you create, you iterate on it.” That was Chris Butler, senior product strategist at Philosophie, formerly with Microsoft, talking about how to build strategy in an agile environment at the Product School meetup last October 12 at Grind near Times Square.  

Butler went about his presentation talking first about what makes a strategy a bad one. “Failure to face the challenge, mistaking goals for strategy, just having a list of things to do,” he said.

Having that out of the way, he proceeds to explain why “having the conversation about strategy, writing it down, and making it part of your process every day” is important. It certainly helps the group fine tune a strategy, a good one that can be the key to the agile group’s success.

Butler proceeds to show his own model canvas for strategy—a strategy kernel if you will. It has a diagnosis, a guiding policy, a coherent action.  In diagnosing a strategy, it has to have an explanation of the nature of the challenge.

“A good diagnosis simplifies the often overwhelming complexity of reality by identifying certain aspects of the situation as being the critical ones.

A guiding policy is an overall approach chosen to cope with or overcome the obstacles identified in the diagnosis.

Coherent actions are steps that are coordinated with one another to support the accomplishment of the guiding policy.

For Butler, strategy comprises the following:

  • Largely or entirely drive most of the subsequent decisions and actions of the business
  • Not easily changed once made
  • Have the greatest impact on whether the objective will be achieved
  • Combines your assets and capabilities to deliver value to customers
  • Creates a sustainable advantage based on doing something differently from your competitors
  • Leads to superior growth and profitability