Developing a new product is like going on an epic journey.  There’s the promise of a great reward, but along the way there will be grave dangers that will test your resolve.  If developing a product is a journey, then you, the product owner, are the hero.  If movies have taught us anything, it’s that every hero needs a wise old elder to help them achieve greatness.  Frodo needed Gandalf.  Daniel-san needed Mr. Miyagi.  And you need a product strategist.  But what separates a genuine product strategist from a deranged old man in a wizard hat?

Holder of Historic Happenings

The right mentor has to be wise beyond their years.  You probably have a gap in knowledge, and it’s their job to fill in those gaps.  A good mentor has been through it.  They are battle-hardened.  They have the scars and each one tells a story.  That knowledge can be passed on to you and applied to the development of your product.

They have techniques that work based on previous experiences.  Just like Luke Skywalker needed to see Yoda levitate the x-wing to know he was legitimate, you’ll want to see your strategist’s portfolio.  Not quite as impressive, but you get the idea.

Fantastical Foresight into the Future

A good mentor doesn’t just understand the past — they can look into the future.  The key difference here is that in the tech industry wisdom doesn’t necessary come with wrinkles or a long white beard.  Your strategist does need experience, they should have been through this before, but they also need to know exactly what is working in the now, on this day, at this instant.  Hell, even a few steps ahead.  They have to know where the market is and where it’s going.

They’ll help you and your product find its true potential.  For Rocky it was a training montage with Mick.  For us, it’ll be a three day storycarding session.  There’s a lot less cardio involved, but it’s still effective.

Mythical Tales Told Over Time

As the hero of the journey, you’re the one seeking out the mentor.  Where do you start?  Maybe you’ve heard whispers, fabled stories told by others.  In the mythical sense this would likely be happening at some sort of grungy tavern, but in the case of finding a product strategist, you can skip the tall tales told by the town drunk and just go straight to past clients.  You’re going to want to hear from people they’ve worked with.  Nothing is more powerful than an honest testimonial.  If your product strategist is worth their weight, others will already be singing their praises.

The Journey Home

So, what does all this mean?  Does it mean we’re conflating our importance to put us on the same level as Dumbledore?  No.  What we’re saying is that having a product strategist can help your product find success.  We can lead you down the right path.  We don’t have magic beans, but we have user stories, wireframes, market analysis and all the things that any product owner needs to have with them on their journey.  Contact us is you want to learn how Rootstrap can bring your idea to life.  Better yet, talk to those that we’ve already helped.

Author

CEO and Co-founder of Rootstrap Ben Lee is the co-founder and CEO of Rootstrap, a digital development agency with a mission to destroy the development model and rebuild it from the ground up. After a brief correspondence with Fidel Castro at age nine, Ben decided to start doing things his own way, going from busboy to club manager at a world-class nightclub before he turned 18. Since then, Ben has founded or taken a leading role in 5 businesses in everything from software development to food and entertainment.