Despite being only 10% of a product leader’s time, defining the product vision is the most important responsibility. Without a clear product vision, it is very difficult to work on any other product topic. What are the priorities? What product team structure is needed? Is this request from the sales team important? And this one from the customer support team? And that request from the CEO / Founder? Should we focus on having more customers or retaining the ones we already have? These questions are very difficult to answer if there is no clarity about the product vision.
When I join a new company, whether in a full-time role or as an advisor, my first concern is to understand if there is a product vision and if it is clear to everyone in the company. This is always my first focus, because from the product vision derives all product development work.
The product vision is nothing more than an understanding of what your product will look like in the future. By “the future” I mean mid to long-term, like more than 2 or 3 years. How will it achieve the objectives of the company that owns the product while solving problems and needs for its users?
Building the product vision is a collaborative work done together with several people inside the organization, as well as with input from outside people such as customers and non-customers, suppliers, competitors, market specialists, etc. This is a job led by the head of product, whether he is a VP or CPO, whether he is a GPM. If he is a VP or CPO, the vision will scope all products of the company or area, while if it is a GPM, the focus of the vision will be one of the products, or part of a bigger product, that this GPM takes care of. For the GPM to be able to build the vision, he needs to have a clear understanding of the company’s product vision.
In my book “Product management: How to increase the chances of success of your software”, I explained that to make the product vision it is necessary to be clear about the company’s objectives, as well as to deeply understand the problems and needs that customers have and that will be resolved by the product. Some examples of product visions I helped build:
During my time at Locaweb, we put together the following product view for the Locaweb E-mail product:
Locaweb’s E-mail product will be the most complete and flexible email solution ** in the Brazilian market.
We created the Conta Azul product vision as an image, because with the image it was easier to explain all the elements that we saw as the future of the Conta Azul product.
Again, we prefered a picture over words. The saying a picture is worth a thousand words has a reason for existing.
Here is a step by step on how to create the product vision:
There you go, the steps to make the product vision.
In the next chapter, we’ll look at how to execute your product vision.
So, did you miss something in this chapter? What else would like me to cover?
Do you work with digital products? Do you want to know more about how to manage a digital product to increase its chances of success? While you wait for new book, check out my Digital Product Management bundle with my 2 books where I share what I learned during my almost 30 years of experience in creating and managing digital products.