Product Vision as the Cornerstone

By Roberto MachadoOn March 22, 2017

It always strikes me when someone has to explain what product they are working on and struggle to formulate a concise sentence that is easy to understand. Being an Elevator Pitch or a more techie product explanation, you should instinctively be able to explain what you are doing. Usually, this is a smell for the lack of direction in the team. If you start asking a question, you will notice the absence of a product vision.

The product vision should be the cornerstone of your product strategy. Every stakeholder should know it from the back of their head. It should be visible at all time and revised any time that the direction for the product is questioned. The product vision is essential to inform your daily actions and decisions as a product team.

Having one by itself isn’t enough as well. You need a product vision statement that actually follows the current vision for the product, that is accessible and drives emotion into everyone on the product team. Like Roman Pitcher puts it in his article about product vision:

Like any important goal, a good vision equally appeals to our intellect and our emotions. It should motivate and inspire people. The product vision should be clear and stable; broad and engaging; and short and sweet.

But what should compose a good product vision? How do you make it short but insightful?

I particularly like the version that C. Todd Lombardo shared at ProductCamp Boston last year on his talk on product roadmapping.

We tried a similar version at Subvisual and have been using for a while. It is simple but includes all the moving parts for a compelling product vision. It mentions who the customer is, what is the opportunity, describes the product and what purpose he serves, and lastly show what the differentiator factor from other solutions is.

Here is our template to help you define a product vision:

Product Vision Template

The important part is that the vision stays relevant in the talks that you have with the product. It should serve as the lighthouse when favoring or turn down features. Make sure that the team is driven by the same product vision and everything will run smoothly. The next time they are asked to share the product they are working on it should be clear and exciting to hear.