Defining your product objectives and initiatives

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Objectives and initiatives are clear, measurable, inspiring goals aligned with specific outcomes you're striving to achieve — for your customers, product, or business.

For example:

  • Help users perform core job-to-be-done X
  • Grow our impact on the world by expanding to customer segment Y
  • Close core feature gaps experienced by user role Z

Product objectives and initiatives

When objectives and initiatives are really broad, we might call them company objectives and initiatives:

  • Expand internationally to increase the total addressable market

But here, we'll be focusing on more specific product objectives and initiatives:

  • Expand customer base to 3 new regions

In this case, our product objectives and initiatives were derived "top-down" from our company objectives and intiatives. It makes sense that the product team's work should be aligned with the company's current goals.

Other product objectives and initiatives may be derived "bottom-up", based on user insights you've received, market intelligence you've gathered, or your own product strategy.

How can you tell if an objective and initiative is a product objective and initiative? Use these guidelines:

  • Is it high-level enough to represent a worthy goal/outcome for customers or your product? Something that could only be achieved by building a handful of supporting features?
  • Is it specific enough to help guide your prioritization decisions around which features to build next?

If so, chances are you've got yourself a product objective and initiative.

Quantitative objectives and initiatives

Does your team eat, sleep, and breathe certain KPIs? In that case, these can be incorporated directly into the objective and initiatives themselves:

  • Increase the number of videos viewed per session by 10%

Otherwise, define objectives and initiatives qualitatively, but for each one, specify measurable "key results" in the objectives and initiatives description (accessible in the side pane).

Defining key results

Key results are simply success criteria: an exhaustive list of the measurable/verifiable conditions that, if met, allow everyone to agree the objective and initiative were accomplished:

  • Product fully localized for languages x, y, and z
  • At least 20 new customers in each region by the end of Q3
  • Within 3 months, MAU for users in all new regions is 30% or higher
  • For the first 100 NPS results from each new region, the average score is > 25

By including key results for each objective and initiative, you help to clarify what the objective and initiative really entail while baking in accountability that focuses and motivates you and your team.

Objective and initiative cadence

Smaller teams at fast-moving startups may set new objectives and initiatives every 4-8 weeks. More established product organizations often set new product objectives and initiatives once a quarter.

Some objectives and initiatives may be relevant over the long term. But it may still help to represent these with multiple sequential objectives and initiatives,  each with its own scope, key results, and features. In this way, objectives act a bit like initiatives, large units of work that you can mark "done" before moving on to the next one — even if you'll still be focusing on advancing the same high-level objective.

Naming objectives and initiatives in Productboard

When naming an objective and initiative in Productboard, it's up to you whether to use the objective and initiative's full name, an abbreviated version of its name, or a secret code name. You can always give an objective and initiative a shorthand name and add the full one to its description field.

What really matters is how the objective and initiative look once they're added as a column on your Features board...


how it looks on your Roadmap...


and how it appears in the feature details side pane (where long names may be truncated, though accessible in full on-hover)...


See also

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