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Create A Product Vision & Keep Your Product From Spiraling Out of Control

What is a product vision? A product vision is a short summary in which product managers communicate how their proposed product solutions will effectively support a company's goals. Why does every product manager need one? It's imperative because the lack of a product vision creates a cycle of uncertainty and produces a product that no longer meets the needs of the stakeholders or consumers. A product vision clearly articulates the core objectives of the product; however, most product development teams kick off the product lifecycle without a product vision and find themselves spiraling out of control somewhere between requirements and stakeholder demands. Creating a product vision will help keep your product on track. A great product vision requires three key components (1) understanding the product's objectives (2) shaping your vision for your product and (3) reviewing and revising your product vision with stakeholders, development team, and other key contributors.

1. Understanding The Product Objectivities

To develop a great product vision statement, you must understand your product's objectives. The product's objectives help to connect the dots between the stakeholder's expectations and the actual end product. The objectives help to convey:

  • Who the target audience is

  • How the product will satisfy the need of your consumer and what features are critical to the consumer's experience

  • The competitive advantage of your product versus other products in the market

  • Key differentiators that make the product unique

Once you have a clear understanding of the product objectives, you will have the necessary information to develop your product vision.

2. Shaping Your Vision

You should clearly articulate your desired goals for your product. Be sure to write the product vision in the present tense. It will help your stakeholder and cross-functional teams visualize the end product. Remember, a product vision is similar to an elevator speech, so it should only take 30-45 seconds to communicate it to your intended audience.

To effectively construct your product vision statement, try the following:

For (state your target audience)

Who (state the need or opportunity)

The (product name) is a (category)

That (key benefit) unlike (primary competitive advantage) our product (state key differentiator)

Avoid generalizations in your vision statement such as 'beat our competitors' and 'make more money'. Remember, it is important to convey the desired direction of the product because your product vision statement will influence cross-functional teams to deliver a great product and make your stakeholders happy.

3. Reviewing And Revising Your Product Vision

Once you have completed the initial draft of your vision statement, share it with others. Obtaining feedback from others will ensure that you have a clear and comprehensive message. Review and revise the vision statement, as many times as needed until the stakeholders, development team, and other key contributors fully understand the vision.

After you have completed your product vision, post it in a common work area or the scrum room to keep the vision in the forefront of the team's mind. As the project progresses, you will start to see development teams and other key contributors may reference the product vision in your daily scrum meeting.

If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you. – Steve Jobs

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