Product Strategy


What is a Pivot?
Definition of Pivot
A pivot represents a sizable evidence-backed strategic business model change decision shifting some or all organizational product development resources, staffing efforts and investments rationally in an entirely new direction purposefully based on emerging quantitative market learnings discarding invalid assumptions previously held. It involves a combination of key adjustments qualitatively transforming operating models intentionally seeking to regain genuine, sustainable product-market fit momentum and growth trajectories recalibrated after carefully evaluating initial minimum viable experiments market results as clearly not meeting original expectations, thresholds warranting continuations without alterations.

In the world of product management and operations, the term 'pivot' holds significant importance. It is a strategy that is often employed when a product or service isn't meeting the expected goals or the market needs have changed. This glossary entry will delve deep into the concept of 'pivot', its implications, and its role in product management and operations.

Understanding the concept of a pivot is crucial for anyone involved in product management or operations. It is a decision that can drastically alter the course of a product or service, and therefore, requires a comprehensive understanding. This glossary entry aims to provide that understanding by breaking down the concept of a pivot into its various elements and explaining each in detail.

Pivot: An Overview

In the context of product management and operations, a pivot refers to a fundamental change in strategy that is made to address a key challenge or to capitalize on a new opportunity. It involves changing the direction of a product or service while still maintaining a firm grasp on the core vision or goal.

The term 'pivot' originated from the startup world, where it is often necessary to change direction quickly in response to market feedback. However, it has since been adopted by larger organizations as a strategy to stay competitive in rapidly changing markets.

Types of Pivots

There are several types of pivots that a company can make, each with its own implications and considerations. The type of pivot chosen often depends on the specific challenges or opportunities that the company is facing.

Some common types of pivots include customer segment pivot, customer need pivot, platform pivot, business architecture pivot, value capture pivot, engine of growth pivot, channel pivot, technology pivot, and zoom-in or zoom-out pivot. Each of these pivots represents a different strategic shift and requires a different approach to implementation.

Role of Pivot in Product Management

In product management, a pivot is often used as a strategy to address a product that is not meeting its goals. This could be due to a variety of reasons, such as a lack of market fit, changing customer needs, or new competitive threats.

A pivot in product management involves changing the product strategy while still keeping the overall product vision intact. This could involve changes to the product features, target market, pricing strategy, or distribution channels, among other things.

When to Pivot

Deciding when to pivot is a critical decision in product management. It requires a deep understanding of the market, the product, and the company's capabilities. Some common triggers for a pivot include poor product performance, changes in market conditions, new competitive threats, and changes in customer needs or behaviors.

However, a pivot should not be seen as a failure, but rather as a strategic decision to better align the product with the market. It is a proactive move that can help a company stay competitive and achieve its goals.

Role of Pivot in Operations

In operations, a pivot often involves changes to the operational processes, systems, or structures to better align with the company's strategic goals. This could involve changes to the supply chain, production processes, organizational structure, or technology systems, among other things.

A pivot in operations is often driven by a need to improve efficiency, reduce costs, or improve quality. It requires a deep understanding of the operational processes and systems, as well as the ability to manage change effectively.

How to Pivot

Pivoting in operations involves a series of steps, starting with identifying the need for a pivot. This is often driven by performance metrics, customer feedback, or changes in the market or competitive landscape.

Once the need for a pivot has been identified, the next step is to define the new direction. This involves setting new goals, identifying the changes needed to achieve these goals, and developing a plan for implementing these changes.

Examples of Successful Pivots

There are many examples of successful pivots in both product management and operations. These examples provide valuable insights into how a pivot can be effectively implemented and the potential benefits it can bring.

Some notable examples include Slack, which started as a gaming company before pivoting to become a leading collaboration tool, and Twitter, which started as a podcast platform before pivoting to become a social media platform. In both cases, the pivot was driven by a need to better align with market needs and opportunities.

Lessons from Successful Pivots

Successful pivots provide valuable lessons for companies considering a pivot. One key lesson is the importance of being flexible and adaptable. This involves being willing to let go of existing plans or ideas and being open to new possibilities.

Another key lesson is the importance of customer feedback. This involves listening to what customers are saying, understanding their needs and behaviors, and using this information to guide the pivot.


In conclusion, a pivot is a powerful strategy in product management and operations that can help a company stay competitive in a rapidly changing market. It involves a fundamental change in strategy, but with a firm grasp on the core vision or goal.

Whether in product management or operations, a successful pivot requires a deep understanding of the market, the product or processes, and the company's capabilities. It also requires the ability to manage change effectively and the willingness to adapt and evolve.