Strategy vs. Execution

Strategy vs. Execution

战略VS执行

It is funny how often I am asked whether I am a strategy guy or an execution guy. I completely understand the reason for the question, as I think it is true that most people prefer one or the other; in fact, they often very strongly prefer one or the other, or regardless of their preferences, their personality is only suited to one or the other. Yet for product leaders, it has always been very clear to me that you must be skilled in both in order to actually get good products launched.

有趣的是,我经常被问到我是一个负责战略的家伙还是一个负责执行的家伙。我完全明白为什么会问这个问题,因为我知道确实大多数人只喜欢其中之一,事实上,他们经常更强烈的偏好其中之一,或者不考虑他们的选择,他们的性格也仅仅适合其中之一。然而对于产品领导者来说,我要清楚地说明你必须在两者中都具备技能,这样才会launch出好的产品。

In my mind, software projects can be thought of at the highest level as two phases: first figure out what to build, then build it. The first phase is dominated by strategy, and the second phase is all about execution. During the first phase, you welcome and explore new ideas, you talk with scores of users and customers, you learn how you can apply new technologies, you flesh out your product concepts and test them out, and you spend a lot of time thinking about the overall product direction, both immediate and longer term. it is all about discovering that mix of functionality and design that results in a winning product.

在我的认识中,能够想出最高水平的软件项目其实就是两个工作:第一,知道要做什么,第二,做。第一个工作由战略支配,第二个工作完全就是关于执行。在第一个工作期间,你迎接和探究新的构想,和大量的用户和客户交谈,学习如何应用新的技术,具体化你的产品概念并对其进行彻底测试,花费大量的时间思考产品的整体方向,包括短期和长期的,这就是形成一个取胜产品所要知道的职能和构思工作的整合。

However, once you out this product, and your engineering team begins the process of building this product, a very profound and important shift needs to take place for the product team. Now the game is all about execution. Getting this product built, tested, and delivered to market. In this phase you spend your time keeping everyone focused, chasing down the countless issues that arise, and getting these resolved immediately. Acquisitions, competitors, organizational and management changes; these are all distractions, and your job is to keep the team on track so this product can get out there when it needs to be.

然后,一旦你确立这个产品,你的工程师团队就开始了构建这个产品的进程,一个非常深刻和重大的转变需要在你的产品团队中发生。现在,活动的一切就是执行。产品被构建,测试和交付给市场。在这个工作中,你花费时间让每个人保持一致的关注,在逐渐发展的过程中找出不计其数的问题,并且立刻得到解决。兼并、竞争者、组织和管理的变化,所有这些都会产生干扰,你的工作就是保证团队按照轨迹前进,为的是产品能够在需要的时候发布。

In countless product teams, this shift in mindset doesn’t actually happen, or at least it doesn’t happen until much later, often as late as entering QA. Instead, the product managers continue to explore new ideas, and company execs continue to view the product spec as malleable, and what results is euphemistically referred to as churn. Essentially, the product spec continues to change is significant ways, impacting engineering and the rest of the product team, and typically the release dates push out, or features get cut, or the quality gets compromised.

在不计其数的产品团队中,这种心态的变化事实上并没有发生,或者至少发生时已经太晚了,经常晚到都进入到QA中了。与之相反的是,产品经理持续在探究新的构想,公司管理者继续视产品规格是可塑的,结果就是被委婉的称之为churn。从根本上说,产品规格持续被改变是需要高度关注的,这会影响工程师和产品团队中的其他人,典型的就是发布日期的延迟,或者特征被缩减,或者质量打了折扣。

If you are lucky enough to have a great project manager, then you probably have help keeping everything on track during this implementation phase. But even if you do, as a product manager you will need to be cognizant of this necessary change in mindset, otherwise it is all too easy for the product manager to be the source of the product is inability to get to market.

如果你足够幸运有一个了不起的项目经理,那么,你就很有可能在整个实施阶段保持每一件事沿着轨迹在走。但是,即使你做了,作为一个产品经理,你还需要认识到心态改变的必要性,否则,对于产品经理来说,这一切都太容易了,以至于产品将缺乏进入市场的能力。

But it is important I think to recognize that we all have our own preferences and different skills.  If you are naturally a strategy kind of person, preferring the freedom and creativity of the invention process, then you will have to work extra hard to contain those urges during execution.  On the other hand, if you are more naturally the project manager type that loves getting things out the door, then you will need to work on your strategic thinking and design skills, and remembering that what matters is creating a product that your customers love.

但是,我认为确认我们自身的性格和不同的技能是重要的。如果你天生就是一个战略性的人,崇尚自由和创新过程中的创造力,那么,你将不得不在整个执行过程中付出额外的努力来压制这些冲动。另一方面,如果你天生更多是项目经理类型的,喜欢getting things out the door(不解?求翻译),那么,你需要基于战略思考和规划技能来工作,并且记住所有的一切都是为了创造出一个你的客户喜欢的产品。

One technique that I have found very useful is to always keep two versions of product going in parallel. In other words, as soon as you start the engineering for release 1.0, and you switch into execution mode for that project, then you can start up the strategy/design phase for release 2.0.  Always keep that innovation engine working, just know that once a given release goes to engineering, you redirect your creative urges to the next release.

我曾经发现一个非常有用的技巧来保持两个版本的产品实现平行。换句话说,当你开始为发布1.0进行设计,并且这个项目已经进入的执行模式的时候,那么你就应该开始2.0的战略和规划工作了。永远保持创新引擎工作着,只需知道一旦确定的版本开始技术化,那么,你就要改变你的创新方向到下一个版本上了。

You do need to be careful that this doesn’t detract from the execution work for the current project, but overall I have found that having this outlet is a good thing. The next time a company exec drops by with a big new requirement, rather than impacting the product you have in the oven, you already have the next release in the design stage and you can accommodate the new requirements there.

你需要注意的是,这并不是贬低当前项目的执行工作,而是从整体上来说,我发现这样安排是一个好事情。下次公司管理者提出一个大的,新的需求的时候,也就不会对你已经开工的产品造成影响了,因为你在规划阶段已经有了下个版本的计划,你能够把这个新的需求放到那里。

I don’t mean to mean to make this all sound easy, but I do believe that with discipline it can be managed. Just remember that it is essential that you develop both your strategic skills (to ensure you are coming up with winning products) as well as your execution skills (to ensure that these great ideas actually make it to your customers).

我不想说这听起来很容易,但是我相信这个规则是能够被管理的。只要记住提升你的战略技能(保证你能找到取胜的产品)和执行技能(保证这些伟大的构想真的能够为你的客户实现)都是必要的就可以了。

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