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Product vision refers to a clear and compelling description of what a product or service will be, how it will benefit customers, and how it aligns with the overall business strategy. It is a crucial component of product development, as it provides a roadmap for the product team to follow and ensures that everyone is working towards the same goal.
History of Product Vision
The concept of product vision can be traced back to the 1990s, when it was first introduced as part of the product development methodology called “product management.” The goal of product management was to create products that were not only functional and usable but also desirable to customers.
In the early 2000s, the concept of product vision was further refined by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, who recognized the importance of creating a clear and compelling vision for their products. They realized that a strong product vision could help them attract investors, customers, and talent, and differentiate their products from those of their competitors.
Today, product vision is a widely accepted and integral part of product development methodology, and it is used by companies of all sizes and industries to create successful products.
How to have well-defined Product Vision?
A strong product vision should be inspiring, customer-focused, and aligned with the overall business strategy. It should answer questions such as:
- What problem does the product solve?
- Who is the target customer?
- How does the product differentiate from competitors?
- What are the key features and benefits of the product?
- How does the product align with the company’s mission and values?
A well-defined product vision provides a shared understanding of the product’s purpose and direction, and it enables the product team to make decisions that are consistent with the vision. It also helps the team prioritize features and functionalities, as they can evaluate each potential addition against the vision.
However, a product vision is not a static document, and it should evolve as the product and market change. The product team should regularly revisit the vision and update it as needed to ensure that it remains relevant and useful.
comparison of product vision VS product goal
Product vision refers to a clear and compelling description of what a product or service will be, how it will benefit customers, and how it aligns with the overall business strategy. It is a high-level statement that guides the product development process and provides a roadmap for the product team to follow.
On the other hand, product goal, refers to a specific, measurable objective that the product team is working towards. It is a more detailed and concrete statement that defines what the product team wants to achieve in the short or long term. Product goals are often SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) and are used to track progress and measure success.
While product vision and product goal are different, they are interconnected. The product vision provides the high-level direction and purpose for the product, while the product goal provides specific objectives to help achieve that vision. The product team should ensure that the product goal aligns with the product vision and supports the overall strategy.
Converting business objectives, goals and strategies to product vision:
Converting business goals and strategies to product vision involves understanding the high-level objectives of the business and translating them into a clear and compelling product vision that guides product development efforts. Here are the steps to follow:
Understand the business goals and strategies: The first step is to understand the overall objectives of the business and the strategies that have been identified to achieve those objectives. This could involve reviewing business plans, mission statements, market analysis, and customer feedback.
Identify the customer needs and pain points: The next step is to identify the customer needs and pain points that the business aims to address. This could involve conducting user research, analyzing customer feedback, and understanding the competitive landscape.
Develop the product vision: Based on the business goals, strategies, and customer needs, the product vision should be developed. The product vision should be a concise and inspiring statement that describes the product’s purpose, benefits, and value proposition. It should also align with the company’s mission and values.
Converting product vision to product goals:
Converting product vision to product goals involves breaking down the high-level product vision into specific and measurable goals that can be achieved through product development efforts. Here are the steps to follow:
Break down the product vision into key features: The first step is to break down the product vision into the key features and functionalities that will be required to deliver on the vision. This could involve prioritizing the most important features based on customer needs and business objectives.
Identify the metrics for success: The next step is to identify the metrics that will be used to measure the success of the product. These metrics could include user engagement, customer satisfaction, revenue growth, or market share.
Define the product goals: Based on the key features and success metrics, the product goals should be defined. These goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. They should also be aligned with the product vision and the overall business objectives.
Communicate the product goals: Once the product goals have been defined, they should be communicated clearly to the product development team and other stakeholders. This will ensure that everyone is aligned and working towards the same objectives.
By following these steps, businesses can convert their goals and strategies into a compelling product vision and then break down that vision into specific and measurable product goals that guide product development efforts.
2 Case studies of Product Visions
Here are two realistic cases to illustrate how a product vision can be defined:
1- Case study of IBM's Product Vision
Product Vision: “To provide businesses and governments with an AI-powered platform that can analyze vast amounts of data and provide real-time insights, enabling them to make better decisions and improve outcomes for their customers and citizens.”
What problem does the product solve? The product solves the problem of processing and analyzing vast amounts of data in real-time, which can be challenging for businesses and governments. By providing an AI-powered platform that can do this, IBM can help businesses and governments make better decisions and improve outcomes for their customers and citizens.
Who is the target customer? The target customers are businesses and governments that have a need to process and analyze large amounts of data. This includes industries such as healthcare, finance, retail, and government.
How does the product differentiate from competitors? The product differentiates from competitors by providing a comprehensive AI-powered platform that can analyze structured and unstructured data in real-time. IBM’s platform also includes advanced analytics and machine learning capabilities, which enable businesses and governments to gain valuable insights and make better decisions.
What are the key features and benefits of the product? The key features of the product include real-time data processing and analysis, advanced analytics and machine learning capabilities, and a comprehensive AI-powered platform. The benefits of the product include better decision-making, improved outcomes for customers and citizens, and increased efficiency and productivity.
How does the product align with the company’s mission and values? The product aligns with IBM’s mission of providing innovative solutions to businesses and governments, and improving the lives of people around the world. Additionally, the product aligns with IBM’s values of innovation, excellence, and integrity.
The product vision that we ahve written for IBM aligns well with the factors according to the listed checklist, including solving a real problem for businesses and governments, targeting the right customers, differentiating from competitors, providing key features and benefits, and aligning with the company’s mission and values.
This product vision provides a clear direction for IBM’s product development efforts, and has the potential to drive innovation and create value for customers and society.
2- Case study of Google's Product Vision
Product Vision: “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful through innovative search technologies and user-friendly interfaces.”
What problem does the product solve? The product solves the problem of accessing and organizing vast amounts of information on the internet. Google’s search technologies and user-friendly interfaces make it easy for users to find the information they need quickly and efficiently.
Who is the target customer? The target customers are anyone who uses the internet and needs to find information. This includes individuals, businesses, and organizations of all sizes and industries.
How does the product differentiate from competitors? Google differentiates from competitors by providing a comprehensive and innovative search experience that is easy to use and delivers relevant results quickly. Google’s search technologies, such as PageRank and machine learning algorithms, enable it to provide accurate and personalized search results that are relevant to each user’s query.
What are the key features and benefits of the product? The key features of the product include a simple and user-friendly interface, fast and accurate search results, personalized recommendations, and access to a vast amount of information across multiple platforms and devices. The benefits of the product include saving time and effort in finding information, enabling users to make informed decisions, and improving productivity and efficiency.
How does the product align with the company’s mission and values? The product aligns with Google’s mission of organizing the world’s information and making it universally accessible and useful. Additionally, the product aligns with Google’s values of innovation, user focus, and accessibility.
The product vision for Google aligns well with the factors that are listed above, including solving a real problem for users, targeting a wide range of customers, differentiating from competitors, providing key features and benefits, and aligning with the company’s mission and values.
This product vision has enabled Google to become a dominant player in the search industry, and has laid the foundation for its expansion into other areas such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and mobile devices.
- Marty Cagan, “Inspired: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love”
- Roman Pichler, “Strategize: Product Strategy and Product Roadmap Practices for the Digital Age”
- John Cutler, “Product Vision: What It Is, Why It Matters, and How to Get It Right”