Product Vision Development: When, Why and How
Understanding a product’s big picture has always been helping major brands and garage startups to strive for more extraordinary achievements than just building another product liked by people. One of the key elements of such a big picture is product vision. Read on to learn what it is for and how to figure it out.
Why Product Vision is So Crucial
Before we start, let us quickly explain what the product vision is. So, vision is when you know not only what your product is going to be about, but also how it should evolve in the long term. If everything is done right, creating a vision will help you to develop a detailed strategy. It works like this — first of all, you and your team define why your product actually exists and what state it should reach in the future. Then, this knowledge will help you to create a list of goals. Having goals will allow you to build strategy and tactics to reach them. In the end, you will be able to develop daily tasks which will lead your product to the desired evolution stage and create a detailed roadmap.
Apart from this, product vision will help you to set your priorities — after deciding on goals, you will see what features your product really needs, and which of them can wait a bit. Another important mission of the product vision is motivation — having a clear direction and a detailed list of tasks to be performed will help the team to focus on their work.
How to Move From Idea to Product Vision
Now you know why product vision is important, so it is time to tell you how to create it. Here are six tips for you:
1. Involve your team in the vision development
That’s a pretty obvious thing, but it is very important, so we are still going to include it in our list of tips. So, don’t do everything on your own — involve your team and the software partner in the process of vision development. Invite researchers, developers, designers, and other team members to take part — their experience and skills will help you to make right decisions, so in the end, you will get a clear vision of your product.
While working on the product vision, you and your team will have to answer plenty of questions — they will be provided right in the next paragraph! To make the search for answers more efficient, divide your team into smaller groups. Let all of them have a brainstorm, and then ask them to share their opinions and ideas. As a result, you will have an entire list of answers to each of the questions. Then, you and your team will only have to choose the most suitable options, and that’s it.
2. Define product vision and strategy
Some people think that the vision and strategy are the same things, but that’s not true. The vision is one or a few long-term goals of your product, while the strategy is a path towards these goals.
To define your product’s vision, you and your team will have to define the purpose of creating the product and what positive change it will bring to the world. Here are several examples: “To help people to stay in touch” (for a new social app), “To make users’ homes more secure” (for an app for smart locks), “To help users avoid traffic jams” (for an app like Waze), etc.
To define your vision’s implementation (i.e. product’s strategy), think about the following things:
- Target group. Which market or market segment does your product address? Who are the target users?
- Needs. How does the product create value for its users? What benefits does it provide? What problem does it solve?
- Product. What are the selling points of your product? What makes it special? Is it actually possible to develop it?
- Business goals. How is the product going to benefit your company? What are its business goals? Which of them are the most important?
- Competitors. Is your product going to have any competitors? If yes, who are they? What are their strengths and weaknesses?
- Revenue sources. How is it possible to monetize your product and generate revenue? What will you and your team have to do to open up the revenue sources?
- Cost factors. What are the cost factors to create, market, sell, and service your product? Which activities are the most expensive?
- Channels. How are you going to market and sell your product to users?
A lot of companies cover only the first four sections of the strategy part, but we recommend you to go through all of them. This trick will help you to develop a more detailed and helpful strategy, so your product will have higher chances to succeed.
As we don’t know what your idea is about, we can’t really provide you with more information on the product, business goals, and some other sections. But we can definitely help you with the target audience and competitors — here is a nice guide for you to check! And this article about app development cost can help you to deal with the cost factors section in case you are going to create an application.
3. Work on motivation
A well-defined vision statement can work as a great motivator for your team, so do your best to develop something inspiring! Those examples of product vision which we mentioned before sound okay, but they may be not enough to cheer the team up when they are lost, tired or have some doubts. So, decide on why you and your team actually care about the product, combine the answer with the product purpose and the positive change it can bring, and voila!
For instance, the vision statement of JetBlue is “To inspire humanity — both in the air and on the ground”. Sounds great, doesn’t it? A statement like this reflects the company’s mission, works as an inspiration, and increases customers loyalty. So we highly recommend you to do your best and formulate a statement which will be able to deliver the same functions.
4. Make sure the product vision fits in with the company vision
The company vision reveals what the company wants to be and achieve in the long-term future, and the product vision must fit in with it. Let’s say that your company is all about smart home devices, and its vision is something like “To make people’s lives easier”. Then, the product vision for an app controlling all the devices should be in line with this statement. A statement like “Attract more users and increase the revenue” sounds bad — it contains no positive change for the customers, while the company vision is about simplifying their lives. In this case, it is better to choose something like “To control all our smart home devices with a single app”.
5. Validate your product vision with stakeholders
Involving your team in the product vision development process is a great thing to do, but we also recommend to share the results with your stakeholders. Their experience and knowledge can be very helpful in finalizing your product vision and strategy. Besides, sharing is a good idea in case you are going to attract investments — sponsors are more likely to invest money in a new product when a company provides them with the product vision and a strategy.
6. Don’t be afraid to change your vision
During the evolution of your product, you will collect feedback from your users and use it to make your product better. And sometimes you may see that the desires of your users don’t really fit in with your original product vision. No worries, that’s okay! Trust your customers and, if it is essential, adapt your vision according to their requirements. It is much better to change the original vision a bit and make your users happy than to follow the product vision faithfully and lose the customers’ interest and loyalty.
7. Make your vision short, but special
Product vision is all about how the product is going to evolve in the long term, but the statement itself should be pretty short. Don’t write an entire composition — start with filling this template:
For (target customer) who (need or opportunity) the (product name) is a (category) that (reason to buy).
Unlike (competitive alternative) our product (primary differentiation).
Then, after you are done with the template, you can try to shorten the text to one sentence. Remember, do your best to make the product vision inspiring and memorable.
A good product vision should be insightful, inspiring, easy to understand, and, obviously, achievable. If you manage to create a vision like this, your product will have a pretty high chance to succeed, while your team will have much fewer difficulties with the development process. So, follow our instruction, and good luck with turning your idea into a product vision!