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GuidesProduct developmentWhat is a product vision?

What is a product vision?

Last updated

1 May 2023

Reviewed by

Jean Kaluza

A product vision clearly describes what problems a product aims to solve, how it will solve those problems, and how it differs from the products already on the market. It provides a high-level roadmap for the product, guiding its development and the decisions related to that development. 

A well-crafted product vision can mean the difference between the launch of a groundbreaking product and one that fizzles out on arrival.

Importance of product vision

A product vision creates a long-term direction for the product. Doing so helps the product development team create a strategy that aligns with the product vision. By providing clarity of purpose and goals, the product vision helps the team focus on which features and functionalities should come first.

This focus extends to every aspect of the product management lifecycle. Understanding the product's purpose, goals, and value proposition simplifies the decision-making process. This helps keep the product on track when problems arise and guides post-development processes such as marketing and sales strategies.

Finally, a product vision aligns the interests of stakeholders across the company. When all departments agree on a unified product vision, it makes it easier for everyone to understand the product's direction and work together towards those goals more effectively.

Responsibility for product vision

The founder, CEO, or chief product officer is responsible for creating and championing the product vision. When there is no product vision, a senior member of the product development team may assume these responsibilities. 

The person overseeing the product vision must work closely with all stakeholders to ensure the vision aligns with the goals and objectives throughout the company. They must monitor customer feedback, market research, and other metrics to refine the product vision over time.

Characteristics of a good product vision

The product vision will be the guiding light that steers product development. Therefore, it must be well-written and suited to that task. Including the characteristics below in your product vision will provide a good foundation for developing your product.

  • Clear and concise — The product vision should be brief and to the point. It should contain only enough words to communicate the vision without ambiguity or confusion.

  • Inspiring — An inspiring product vision describes the product's impact on the target audience. It will help motivate the development team and other key stakeholders.

  • Actionable — The product vision will guide the direction of the product. It should contain actionable elements that make that direction clear.

  • Linked to corporate goals — The product should always move the company towards its goals. The product vision should outline this relationship.

  • Customer-focused — Without customers purchasing it, the product will go nowhere. The product vision should make clear how the product will benefit customers.

  • Flexible — A good product vision should be flexible so that it can be easily adapted to changes in the market, customer feedback, or problems during the development process

Components of a product vision

With the above characteristics in mind, you can begin crafting a product vision. Although product visions can vary greatly, the best ones have a few common components. You don't need to use all the components below but try incorporating as many as possible into the final version. 

Similarly, the vision needs to stay concise. It should briefly hit on these components but allow them to be fully realized as their own individual deliverable. Still, each of these components can be created based on the product vision.

Purpose

Your team can't design a great product if they don't know what it does. The product's purpose defines how it will function, what problems it will solve for the target audience and the impact you imagine it having. 

The purpose provides the most high-level look at the product's direction but creates an important north star in the product management cycle. It’s the core of your product vision statement.

Target audience

A product designed for children will be designed much differently than one designed for doctors or other high-level professionals. 

Knowing your target audience's demographics, behaviors, and needs will provide focus to the product vision. This information can be gathered from a combination of market research and knowledge of your existing customers. Your vision statement should mention your target audience but leave thorough ethnographic studies and reports out.

Value proposition

Unless your product is the very first on the market, it will struggle to gain traction without some unique value proposition.

Achieving this proposition is just as important to the product's success as any other factor. As such, time should be taken to understand what benefits and advantages your product offers the target audience that competitors don't. This proposition could be set to very general in a vision statement as more in-depth research can uncover more specific value opportunities to explore.

Goal and objectives

The goals and objectives of your product vision statement can be more universal than a measurable metric typically used.

Features should be designed with improvement in metrics such as revenue, market share, customer satisfaction, etc. In addition, those should be based on your product vision's general objectives. This allows for metrics created against the overall product vision easily and consistently throughout its life cycle.

Roadmap

The product vision is not the place for a detailed roadmap. That will come later in the development process when more details about the product and its implementation have been fleshed out. 

Based on your product vision, stakeholders should be able to start on a high-level roadmap that outlines board features and milestones. This high-level roadmap will serve as a guide for the planning process and for creating a more detailed product timeline.

Steps for creating a product vision

With all the preparatory knowledge out of the way, it's time to get down to the task of actually creating the product vision. Different people will have different processes. However, the six steps listed below make for a good foundation to use as you discover which specific workflow works best for you.

1. Understand the market 

Conduct market research to discover the needs and desires of your target audience. Examine what products the competition offers and identify areas where they don't meet customers' needs. Analyze current market trends and identify any gaps in the current product offerings.

2. Define the problem

Based on the market research, define the problem that your product will solve. Develop a value proposition that sets your product away from the competition and addresses problems and pain points that aren't currently being addressed.

3. Identify the solution

Brainstorm and identify potential solutions to the problem. Evaluate the feasibility, viability, and desirability of each solution. Keep your company's goals and objectives in mind while brainstorming and guide the solutions toward alignment with those goals.

4. Refine the value proposition

Take the basic value proposition you developed when defining and refining the problem to be solved. Take a closer look at where the existing solutions fail. Then, develop a plan to address each one of those to create a product that stands out and is easily marketed.

5. Create the product vision statement

Use the information you've gathered so far to create a product vision statement that summarizes your vision for the product. The statement should inspire and guide the product development team and align with the company's overall strategy.

6. Refine and test the product vision

Share the product vision with your stakeholders. These include the product development team, leadership, and customers. Gather feedback and use it to refine and improve the product vision.

Communicating your product vision

Sharing a product vision with stakeholders ensures that the vision aligns with the goals and objectives it needs to align with. Sharing the vision provides the opportunity to get buy-in from those affected by it. The vision should distill company objectives and strategies into a simple, easily shared statement.

For all stakeholders to get on board, you may need to explain to them how your product vision will help the company meet its goals through a more formal presentation. This presentation should match the target, i.e., if it’s for investors vs. consumers vs. your internal team. 

When necessary, jargon and technical terms should be avoided to make the vision easy to understand.

The presentation should be a two-way conversation, depending on where you are developing your vision. Without full buy-in from all stakeholders, the product vision has much less chance of forming the basis for a successful product.

Listen to and incorporate feedback, making refinements and adjustments as necessary to craft a vision everyone can agree on.

Real-world examples of product vision statements

The product vision statement distills the essence of the product vision into a single sentence or phrase. It's short and memorable and can be easily shared and communicated with all stakeholders and placed on product development documents. It should provide guidance to all who memorize it.

Examples of real-world product vision statements include the following:

  • Disney: To be one of the world's leading producers and providers of entertainment and information.

  • Amazon: To be Earth's most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.

  • IKEA: To create a better everyday life for the many people.

Other examples of product vision statements

Below, we've assembled a few product vision statements to help you understand how they are created and what they include.

We’re building a new kind of language-learning product:

"To help travelers communicate with locals, discover new cultures, and make happy memories through a language learning app that's fun, engaging, and effective."

We’re building a different kind of clothing brand:

"To redefine sustainable fashion by creating stylish and high-quality products made with 100% recycled materials, and inspire people to be more environmentally conscious in their fashion choices."

We want to differentiate our new food delivery app:

"To provide a meal delivery service for people with specific dietary needs that's both convenient and personalized, making it easier for them to eat healthy and enjoyable meals with no compromise on taste or quality."

We’re defining a new fitness app:

"To redefine the fitness industry by providing a workout personalized through AI technology, allowing users to get more from their workouts, improve their performance, and achieve their fitness goals."

We’re creating a new kind of technology for home use:

"To provide a secure smart home experience using facial recognition technology that identifies family members and trusted visitors while enhancing home security with features that are easily used and tightly integrated with other smart devices."

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