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The product vision

What is a product vision?

Transparency is a pillar of Agile maturity. A product vision, when clearly articulated and communicated, gives the team a roadmap of intent that will shape many of their day-to-day decisions.

It is not a detailed plan of how to build the product features but is a statement of what needs to be built and why.

The team is free to make decisions and take actions within the boundaries established within the vision.

A good vision is:

- Set in a way that it is easy to share

- Stays at a vision level (does not stray into a project plan or design spec)

- Creates a shared understanding of what your customers’ needs are and what needs to be done

The vision is not a document but a shared understanding across a team that is understood through conversations and experience. The Product Owner demonstrates their strong leadership through their ability to build this shared understanding with the team.


Start with ‘Why’

Simon Sinek, in his book ‘Start With Why’, introduces the ‘golden circle’. He states that every organisation knows what they do, the products they sell or services they offer. Some organisations know how they do it, these are the things that make them special or set them apart from the competition.

Very few organisations know why they do what they do. Why is not about making money. That’s a result. Why is a purpose, cause, or belief. It’s the very reason your organisation exists. It’s your product vision.


Image of three circles denoting ‘Why-How-What’


A product vision example

A leading car manufacturer recently changed its product vision statement. The new product vision states that they will 'provide premium mobility solutions for our customer's everyday needs'.

This was a move away from their previous vision that focussed on quality automobile manufacturing. The new vision allows the teams to think broader in terms of mobility needs of their customers and how they can incorporate socio-cultural and technological changes to solve these problems in new ways.


All product visions should…

Be customer-focused: Your customers are the whole reason for your product. If you don’t reference them in your product vision, you need to rework it.

Be a bit of a stretch, but not unrealistic: Your vision needs to be attainable. If it’s too much of a stretch, you’ll have a hard time rallying your team around the vision. And don’t say “be the best.” It is non-descriptive and provides no specific motivation. Get to the root of what you mean when you say that you want to be “the best.”

Show differentiation: Something in your vision should explain why your product is different from your competitors.

Look X years down the road: In five years, you want people to say ___ about your product.

Your product vision doesn’t need to state each one of these parts explicitly, but it should imply them to some degree.


Let’s head back and touch base with Sebas at Unilever and see how they define a product vision.


This course will explain what a product vision is, its importance to a Product Owner, and how to create one.

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