Product Vision at the Project’s Core
Many times in the development process, the entire team is pushed to “get to market fast” and to “get work done quickly,” but no one really has an overall idea of the product vision. This is a typical problem that occurs during the Scrum process, where the rush to finish the product overtakes understanding product goals. The product vision, however, is instrumental in producing a successful final result, so teams should not forget this step.
The product vision not only organizes the project’s direction, but it also helps to set team roles, guiding each member along the path to a great final product. All team members should be part of the product vision process – from marketers to sales to developers – each person should have a say. Furthermore, it’s vital that once the vision is complete, each team member knows it and understands not to stray from it. If your team is ready to create a product vision, then follow these five steps.
1. Define why you are making this product
Why should this product even exist? What is the motivation behind its development? Just because you think it’s a good idea, doesn’t necessarily mean it should be made. Defining the reason behind why this product is necessary will help shape the development process, as well as mold the management, sales, and marketing strategies.
2. Understand who will benefit from the product
Who’s life will get better because of this product? What need does the product meet in this person’s life? It’s important to take a look at the target market and identify exactly which needs or pain points are being addressed by the product. This will help create a list of requirements the product must have in order to meet these needs.
3. Look at the competition
A product vision is probably starting to come through, but it’s crucial to look at the competition and understand why your product’s vision is different. What needs does this meet that the competitor’s do not? What is unique? Answering those questions can help to shape the vision and pivot away from already existing products.
4. Try to inspire
When the customer reads the product vision, ideally they are motivated to buy your product or service. Here are some examples of product visions that do just that:
- American Express: “We work hard every day to make American Express the world’s most respected service brand.”
- Honest Tea: “to create and promote great-tasting, healthy, organic beverages.”
- IKEA: “To create a better everyday life for the many people.”
5. Shorter is usually better
It will probably be difficult to cut down all of the words you want to use in the product vision, but something short and sweet usually goes over better with customers. Plus, people are more likely to remember something that is a sentence or less, rather than a wordy paragraph. Your team will most likely end up with different varieties of product vision statements, so try to combine them and eliminate elements or ask outsiders which resonates with them better.
If you’re truly struggling to create a product vision, try using this template to kick off the brainstorming:
- For (target customer)
- Who (statement of need or opportunity)
- The (product name) is a (product category)
- That (key benefit, a reason to buy)
- Unlike (primary competitive advantage)
- Our Product (statement of primary differentiation)
Once the product vision is complete, be sure to allow it to guide decision-making. Any change requests, pivots, or alterations should first be run through the vision to ensure they do not stray from the reason you are making this product. If the change makes the product even closer to the product vision, then you should move forward; however, if the change shifts the product away from the vision, then don’t do it.
A product vision helps customers build loyalty with a brand because it exemplifies the company’s values. A vision can elicit a connection between the company and customer, so it’s an important step in any product creation process.