Product visions are mini-vision statements that product managers use to articulate product purpose, and with it, product strategy. Product visions do not dictate ‘how’ a product is going to be built or ‘how’ the product is going to market. They simply convey the essence behind the product being built.
Product vision statements typically reference the product’s target group , identifies pain points and how the product provides a solution unlike competitive offerings. It would broadly speak of the [problem] + [solution] + [point of difference].
Product visions are very similar to positioning statements in how they are phrased. The contrast being, positioning statements are meant to guide branding and marketing decisions while product visions are meant to guide product development.
How do they work in practice?
Consider an in-flight entertainment company that studied commuter satisfaction levels with existing onboard music entertainment. Let’s assume they discovered that listeners didn’t like the limited playlist and were not appreciative of its functionality or interface.
A potential product vision could be, “Build a product that empowers in-flight commuters to exercise personal preference when listening to their favorite music. Our product will offer them an intuitive experience, the ability to integrate their personal music devices and access their favorite tracks unlike existing systems that offer limited choice, functionality and integration“.
These product visions are meant to be shared with all stakeholders, internal and external, involved in building the product. Remember, the Achilles heel in product management is ‘solitude’.
In the case of the in-flight entertainment product, sharing the product vision guides the entire development team when it comes to UX design, interaction, and functionality. It lets the engineering team know where the product is headed and the integration features needed. It could be shared with the sales and marketing team to give them an idea of what’s in the pipeline.
The product vision unifies the entire organization around a central purpose and keeps everyone on the same page. If a feature does not help solve the problem, exclude it and focus on what does.
Qualities of a good product vision
- Specifies the ultimate goal
- Simple to understand
- Addresses the pain point / opportunity
- References the point of differentiation
- Allows for future product developments.
When developing the product vision it is imperative to make it a collaborative effort. When the product vision is finalized, it must be shared with all stakeholders and serve as reminder for all those working on it. This ensures that the teams are focused on what matters most.