Scrum framework is one of the most implemented frameworks among Agile organizations as it is easy to understand for the members of the company and efficient for the business. Whenever a new product starts, many processes go on simultaneously which a beginner in Scrum has to understand. Two terms that are associated when a product begins and stays highly significant throughout the product, are Product Vision and Product Goal. While both the terms may sound similar and may be used synonymously by many individuals, one must understand that they are distinct terms and have completely different meanings. Individuals who are getting started with Scrum and also a few experienced professionals still have some issues understanding both terms. This article intends to provide a clear idea of the meaning of both terms and also brings out their differences.
Product Management using Scrum
The product in Scrum begins when a client who may be an individual or group of people (stakeholders) comes up with an idea that a particular problem could be solved or a requirement could be filled by developing a product. In this scene, the client comes up with an idea or a vision of how they predict the product should look like and what are the features that they expect to be. The Scrum Team needs to understand what is expected by them by understanding the vision of the client. They have to know what the ideal product needs to look like and based on that they build their product. During this process, the team also needs to look over the expenses incurred and have to reduce operational overheads such that they earn a monetary value from the product being developed. The Scrum team creates the products according to the client’s request and keeps delivering increments continuously. Scrum allows the client to give feedback to the team which helps to develop customized increments in the next iteration. The involvement of the client in the process of development helps the company to keep the customer satisfied with their services and products. The Scrum Team also looks out for the features which are trending on the market and adapts accordingly. The Product Owner evaluates which features have a high market value, would gain an early return on investment, and also increase the business value of the company.
Every product has a vision that helps the team steer in the correct direction. This vision provides a purpose to the team members and helps them navigate a definitive path. When a product does not have a definite vision, it may not provide the expected returns as it does not qualify according to the client’s needs. A proper Product Vision fulfills all the project’s objectives and goals. The vision of the product could be thought of as a reflection of the thoughts and are abstract. It is more of an aspiration of what you want your product or organization to achieve in the short or long term period. A Product Vision gives an idea about what the product will accomplish in the future. The current and the future course of action would be selected by the Product Vision.
Often, the client is a market-oriented person which has a clear understanding of what they want from a certain product. They think from the perspective of an end-user and give an idea about the working requirements of the product. The “vision” of the product is given by the client which is merely an idea of how they envision the product to be working and solving the issues of the end-user. The abstract idea or vision is then explained to the Product Owner who anticipates and understands the client’s needs. The Product Owner explains the client’s needs and helps the Developers to build a product that would closely resemble the client’s “vision” of the product. Hence, Product Vision indicates the idea of the product developed by the client which guides the team to design and develop the product.
Product Vision Requirements
A Product Vision is an idea that lasts throughout the product, hence, it needs to be a sustainable idea continuingly. Here are some features of a sustainable Product Vision:
- The Product Vision should be visible and transparent such that everyone on the Scrum team could “see” it and understand it whenever needed.
- The Vision should be reviewed periodically so that they could evaluate whether whatever was envisioned in an earlier time, is still relevant, practical, and viable now.
- Can the Product Vision change itself or adapt to the growing market conditions, or does it have enough scope to change itself?
The Product Goal is a measurable and observable result or outcome which has one or more objectives that have to be achieved within a certain timeframe. The end destination of a vision is the goal, where the vision focuses on achieving something and establishes a path, the goal is the destination which the path takes the team. The Product Goal describes the future of the product and serves as a target against which the Scrum Team plans. The new Scrum guide 2020 describes the Product Goal as the commitment to the Product Backlog. The Product Backlog will contain the items that will define the requirements of the Product Goal. A product could be a physical product, a service, or anything abstract which would deliver value to the end-user. The long-term objective of the Scrum team for the product could be defined as the Product Goal. The team should fulfill one objective of the goal before they move on to another one. The Product Goal could be changed according to the needs of the customer. If the team feels that the goal is no longer relevant to the current requirement, it could be easily eliminated.
Examples of Product Goal
- To improve the customer experience by next year improving the NPS.
- Reaching 5,000 new users by the next 6 months.
- Increasing user retention by at least 20%
The Product Goal is a single goal that each Sprint Goal is oriented towards. It is measurable, short, and easy to understand. The organization along with the Scrum team should understand how the work should be done based on the Product Goal. A visionary goal that a person looks forward to achieving in Scrum is called a Product Goal. The product contains a master list that contains all the requirements that have to be fulfilled for the product goal to be achieved which is called the Product Backlog. The backlog reflects the vision and becomes the backbone of the product. The items on the list that have the highest business value and which would act as an increment to the product are added to the product.
Characteristics of Product Goal
The product features and goals have to be very clear for the product to be effectively developed. The ideal goal in Scrum should be SMART so that the finished product satisfies the objectives of the project. SMART is an acronym that stands for Sustainable. Measurable, Attainable. Realistic, and Time-based. In Scrum, any project could only be a profit-based product when the team can see the Product Vision clearly and can define the Product Goals.
The Product Goal should be sustainable, which means that it should be relevant throughout the project. The team should check whether the goal could be followed and sustained throughout the product development. They should also check if the goal could be broken down into smaller sections or could be changed if necessary.
The Product Goal should be visible and should be measurable. The team should be able to count how much of the goal is being achieved by using a tracking system or a check-in system. Hence, the team should be able to see the progression in the goals by measuring them periodically.
The Product Goal should be attainable and should not be made based on abstract thoughts and desires. The team has to think about whether they could develop the product features effectively without any bugs. All of the obstacles that they might face while attaining the goal must be listed and discussed.
Getting a hundred million followers within the next week of a product launch of a social media app could be not possible at all if the company does not have the sources of marketing and other obstacles. Hence, the Product Goal should be designed in such a way that it is humanly possible to achieve it.
The period allotted for the goal to complete should also be taken into consideration and whether it could be achieved in the given time. Lesser time to achieve bigger goals may not be possible and would put undue pressure on the Scrum Team members.
Difference between Product Vision and Product Goal
|Product Vision||Product Goal|
|Abstract thought or idea from the client before the development of the product.||Measurable, and sustainable result or outcome which the product has to accomplish|
|It is a statement that lays the purpose on which the Product Goals are decided.||It is derived from the Product Vision which is designed for the team members to achieve.|
|It is an overall picture of what the product intends to achieve.||It is many smaller objectives the product has to fulfil for the Product Vision to be achieved.|
|It is not evaluated based on a given time period.||It has to be completed within a time-period such that the team moves on to the next goal.|
|It is the client’s version of the idea of the product and could be high-end and abstract.||It has to have five elements of SMART- Sustainable, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-based.|
The Product Vision and Product Goal go hand-in-hand in any Scrum-based Product Management. The vision of the product helps the team members formulate various Product Goals which bring them closer to the Product Vision. The Product Vision would establish what the product intends to solve for the end-users in the long-term future whereas the Product Goals are more measurable and sustainable objectives that when achieved, the team moves further towards the Product Vision. Any company starting to create a new product would need to clearly understand the vision of the product and then build Product Goals based on it. We see that production goals are a new update in the Scrum guide and are described as the commitment of the Product Backlog. Hence, when one gets a clear idea of both these terms the development process would become less challenging and more meaningful.