Here are the key areas discussed:
- Vision: a prerequisite to strategy
- Properties of a vision statement
- How do we get there: Hills and Storytelling framework
- Conclusions: an obsolete search for certainty
Vision: a prerequisite to strategy
Paavan describes the product vision as a key prerequisite to build a solid product strategy. The vision is a high-level statement or slogan that describes the ultimate reason for creating a product.
A clear product vision leads to a coherent product strategy, which results into flexible and adaptable tactics.
3 properties of a vision statement
Diving into the definition of a Product vision he quotes Roman Pichler:
The Vision should describe the positive change that the product should bring about.
There are 3 main properties a product vision should have to be successful:
- Bring out the positive change that your product is trying to make.
- Point to the true north: as product managers your role is to take the team on a journey with a clear and communicated end-goal in mind. Always have something to aim for. Keep your product vision statement succinct so the team can refer back to it easily and it’s easily remembered.
- Be inspiring: your product vision should motivate, resonate and inspire.
What’s key to keep in mind when setting the vision for your product is that the goal isn’t building the product per se, the goal is the outcome the product wants to achieve.
How do we get there?
- Don’ts: Using product vision canvas is a box ticking exercise, which leaves you with a vision statement that is very safe and won’t take you anywhere new.
- Dos: Explore Hills and Storytelling frameworks
Hills is a statement of intent written as a meaningful user outcome, which focuses the team on where we’re going and not how to get there.
Hills tell us what the world would be in our wildest dreams. It should state the Who, the What, and the Wow (gives the hill that something extraordinary and special which inspires and drives the team).
Storytelling: “Everything we do in life is shaped as having a narrative” says Paavan. Humans are storytelling creatures, every story follows the same structure: Exposition to set the scene, rising action, climax (wow), falling action and resolution. We can frame a product vision on this basis, but writing a good compelling story is very difficult.
Here is Paaven’s trick: introduce conflict, and frame your work upon this analogy: hero, conflict resolution = user, challenge, solution. He provides a conflict framework which replaces the wow factor with the ow – tell a sad story about the state of the world and propose your solution (product) for it.
An obsolete search for certainty
2020 has taught us that things are always going to change and trying to grasp certainty is not a successful strategy for this new world. Product visions shouldn’t be static, they should allow for flexibility and change.