Product Vision – why you need it and how to make it in a pragmatic way
From this article, you will learn why you need a product vision and how to prepare it. We will also show you an interesting experiment that we have conducted in our company. It proves that a simple product vision is really important. Check it out!
What is the Product Vision?
By definitions, product vision is a document that describes:
- the real purpose of the product (why do you make it, what users can achieve using it);
- a problem that it resolves;
- target users
- main advantages (reasons to buy);
- a goal for the future (what it will be like);
The document is the first step you should take when working on a product. Then, refer to it when performing further actions, such as creating a road map.
Why do you need it?
Trust us, we know how important it is to establish a common understanding between the stakeholders and the development team what the product really is, and in which direction they should develop it. This is what the product vision is for. It also helps to prepare a road map focused on achieving the goal, product development strategy, and to decide what would be valuable for the project, and what certainly would not. Moreover, it has an impact on the prioritization of tasks. It tells you, which one will possibly bring you closer to the final destination.
Creating a Product Vision – avoid these mistakes
Unfortunately, a lot of people underestimate the importance of product vision. Some of them completely ignore it, some of them make many mistakes when creating it.
Don’t complicate it
The main problem is the unnecessary complication of product vision and writing in too general a manner. It should be brief and specific. In the further part of the article, we discuss in more detail how to prepare a document that is useful.
Do it for a purpose
It happens all the time that someone creates product vision, but can’t tell us – why? In such cases, people waste time preparing a document that is never useful to them again and they forget about it. Don’t do it because you read that it’s important – it doesn’t make sense. Product vision gives real value only if the team constantly follows it and refers to it.
Don’t be afraid to pivot
Sticking rigidly to product vision does not always pay off. Before you release a product, everything is hypothetical – market demand, customer’s expectations, a niche that you discovered, etc. Only after collecting the feedback from the first paid customers, you are able to decide which way to go further with the product. And this may sometimes require a change of the whole product vision.
Product Vision – keep it simple
As we wrote before the product vision should be short and clear so that every project participant can understand it. Also, it will be easier to use the document prepared in this way. For example, a developer who starts a task can refer to it to be sure that completing it brings the team closer to achieving the goal.
Is your vision simple enough? Find out with these exercises
Have you heard about an elevator pitch? Use it when your product vision is almost finished. Get in the elevator with somebody and try to summarize the document during the ride together. If you are not able to, it means that it is too complex.
Another option is to check if your document is able to understand even five years old. That’s right, saying that the product vision is to be short and clear, we were deadly serious.
Use the Product Vision Template
We said what product vision is and what it should be, now it’s time to move on to action. For this purpose, we have prepared a template that we think is the most pragmatic and will allow you to prepare a valuable document. We focused on the target audience and their need especially. Download the template and feel free to use it.
While creating the template we took inspiration from the book “Crossing the Chasm” by Geoffrey A. Moore.
The ultimate and really cool proof that you need clear Product Vision
As we mentioned, each member of the team must have a consistent idea of the product. To show you why it’s important, we’ve done a terrific experiment. We chose volunteers among our developers and then divided them into two groups.
Each member of the first group had to draw:
- 10 blue flowers with 5 petals each;
- 5 blue flowers with 6 petals each;
- 13 red flowers with 6 petals each;
- 2 cows with 3 black spots;
- 1 cow with 5 black spots;
- 2 cows with 4 black spots;
- 2 birds to reside in the upper left corner;
- 3 birds in the middle;
- 1 sun to the right with 5 sunbeams.
Each member of the second group drew “a beautiful summer meadow with blue and red flowers in green grass, some cows and birds under a shining sun”. This scene had to remind our customers of their childhood growing up on a farm.
See the picture below. On the left side, you see the drawings of the members of the first group (please do not judge our artistic skills). On the right side, you can see the works of the second group.
Which group do you think will work more effectively on the product? We leave the conclusions to you :)