A product vision summarizes the real objective of the product, the purpose and the intention of creating the product, and what the product plans to solve the user’s problems. So, you can expect the product vision to visualize the future state of the product.
In other words, it is creating the big picture just like a business needs a vision; similarly, a product needs a vision. It is the first step towards making a successful product.
What is Product Vision?
This is where the objective of product development is mentioned and what it aims to fulfill. The vision answers three questions – why, what is the problem we are trying to solve, and who will be impacted.
To create the product vision, it is essential to identify the goal of the development, who the customers are, and who the competitors are. A product vision should not just be about the objectives of the product, but the aims should be actionable, practical, relevant, and should be in line with the overall organizational goals.
The importance of product vision is that it describes a story that you need to work upon to achieve the result. It motivates the product Development Team. It mentions the timelines and the budgets within which the vision can be achieved and launched.
Tips to Create a Product Vision
Here are the top ten tips on how to create a product vision that is effective, motivating, and realistic.
Tip 1 – As the Product Owner, the Product Vision is your ownership too
A Product Owner’s role should start from owning the product vision – after all, it is the starting point for the creation of a successful product. When the product vision excites you because you have played a crucial role in creating it; you can be sure that you will be able to create a similar level of enthusiasm amongst the team members too. On the other hand, if the Product Owner is handed over a readymade vision, the involvement generally is much lower because it is someone else’s vision.
Tip 2 – Go back to find the real motivation
There has to be some reason or motivation behind making the product. The product vision will come from this reason or motivation behind creating the product. So, you do not have to find other reasons to define the vision; but, rather, ask yourself what excites you about making the product. The other important aspect is that it should not excite you or your team, but also deliver some distinct and unique experiences to your customers. Until and unless, the product adds value in any which ways to the customer, it is not worth developing and a vision being defined for it.
Tip 3 – Product vision should be developed iteratively and gradually
Your product vision is drawn up at the onset. However, developing a vision is not a simple task. There are chances that you may not get it right the first time, or the second time, or even the third time. So, you should involve the Scrum Team and collaborate with them. Involve the end-user and other Stakeholders. You need to iterate the vision a few times to get to that great vision.
Tip 4 – Treat the vision as a guide but not as a strategy
The product vision is your guide – however, it is not and should not be the plan to reach the goal defined in the vision. The product strategy should be different from the vision. The vision will precede the strategy because the latter cannot be done without the former. Product Owners use the Product Vision Board to aptly envision the Product Vision and the Product Strategy.
Tip 5 – Share the Product vision with every concerned Stakeholder.
This effectively means that every Stakeholder who has something to do with the product should have the same vision. This is called a shared vision. Only when each member has the same vision, will they have the same levels of commitment to achieve it.
Tip 6 – When creating the vision, focus on what can inspire you and the team
Since we are talking of a shared vision, it needs to be inspiring and motivating for all involved. The logic behind this is simple psychology. Anything that excites you or motivates you will not act as a burden on the shoulder. You and your team will look forward to working on the vision, day in, day out, and deliver the best.
Tip 7 – Keep the vision simple and easy to understand
Keep it short and crisp, simple, and easy to comprehend. Remember, the vision is for every key Stakeholder and not only for your reference. Make it visually appealing and strong; convey the main information in a grasping manner and use actionable data to do so. In the end, the product vision should be visually engaging and clear.
Tip 8 – More than technology, the product vision should be about end users and customers
The use of technology is undoubtedly going to be there – but, when you create the product vision, focus on the end-user, and not the technology that you would use to create the product. Your product should be able to resolve issues of your customers; hence, the vision needs to be relevant to the same.
Tip 9 – Align the vision with the company vision and business objectives
Do not keep both these visions separate – in the end, you need to meet the organizational goals with the product development. So, align the two. In case you feel that the product vision needs to be differently placed from the company vision, it is a good idea to speak to key players in the company to initiate a change in the company vision too.
Tip 10 – When focussing on how to create a product vision, you need to go in for a broad vision
While it is important that the product vision is specific and actionable, it is also equally important that it is not narrow, or mean. The vision should be big – look at the bigger picture and have a broad base. If you have a limited scope, the vision drawn will be short-term and restricted. Going ahead on developing a product based on this limited vision will finally result in a product that has limited features.
Tip 11 – Product vision should be more than the product only
Yes, the product vision is about the product; but, it should also have the potential to look beyond. The vision should be about the essence of the product – about the objectives that the product would meet and not merely deal with the product, its features, capabilities, look and feel, and so on.
Tip 12 – Review the vision
Once the vision has been made, do not be tempted to think that this is the be-all and end-all of the process. There is way more to do before the vision is finalized. Remember to go through the vision time and again, at your level, so that you are thoroughly confident of your thoughts and ideas before you share the same with others. It is only when you have evaluated the same diligently, you should share the same with others in the internal and external team.
Tip 13 – Product vision should be defined in a way that it becomes your guiding light for product creation.
The product vision should be such that it becomes the guiding light for your product development activities. Of course, there will be a product strategy and a plan of actions that would eventually get prepared in the next few steps to create the product, the vision is the first step towards achieving the product goal. So, ensure that it becomes the breeding ground for a sound action plan and strategy based on which the product will get created.
These are the top thirteen simple and practical tips to answer the question, what is a product vision and how to create it effectively. Following these tips can help Product Owners create achievable and realistic visions – one that is synced to address user problems and offer them value, while ensuring that the business bottom line is met effectively. Using these tips, you can look at the development of powerful products meeting customer needs and wants; providing them unparalleled experiences. This also lends an enviable competitive edge to the product, eventually.