The goal of a product vision is to provide a clear and compelling picture of the future state of the product, including its purpose, value proposition, and long-term goals, that guides the team's efforts and decision-making.
In this post, we'll look at how your team can collaborate to create a clear, concise product vision. Then, we'll walk through some examples of effective product vision statements and a template you can use to create your own.
What is a product vision statement?
Product vision statements define why a product exists, what problems it solves, who it serves, and how it's different. Product visions serve as a framework for product teams to understand what they are working on and why it matters.
Consider your product vision your North Star, guiding your product team as they ideate, prioritize, design, develop, test, and iterate. It's the overarching, future-facing mission that everyone — the product owner, product managers, designers, engineers, and beyond — is on together.
Product vision statement format
This is a classic, fill-in-the-blank format you can use to guide your thinking:
[Product] is for [Target Customer] who [statement or need of opportunity]. The [product name] is a [product category] that [key benefit, reason to buy]. Unlike [primary competitive alternative], our product [statement of primary differentiation].
How your product vision statement fits into the larger product strategy
Your vision also serves as the cornerstone of your product strategy. But while your product strategy should be resilient, adapting to the market and your customers' needs, your product vision will remain relatively static to keep your team oriented in the right direction.
What makes a great product vision?
A purposeful and aligned product vision statement helps to ensure that the product team is working towards a meaningful and valuable goal, that the product is well-integrated with the company's overall strategy, and that the product is positioned for long-term success.
It orients your team to the future and paints a picture of what your product aims to achieve. It should articulate the product's mission and how it will change the lives of its users. When the vision is aspirational, it energizes the team to push beyond their comfort zone and pursue bold ideas.
Making your product vision statement achievable is critical for ensuring that the team stays motivated and focused, building credibility with stakeholders, and ensuring the long-term sustainability of the product.
While it is important to have a bold and ambitious vision, it is equally important to ensure that the vision is grounded in reality and achievable given the resources and constraints of the team and the market.
A customer-focused product vision statement helps to ensure that the product team is always thinking about the customer first, that decision-making is guided by a clear understanding of customer needs and desires, and that the product is positioned for success in the market.
Pro-tip: Try mapping the customer journey to understand the needs, motivations, emotions and actions a user may experience while learning about and interacting with your product.
Writing a concise product vision makes it easier to remember and communicate, helps to focus the product team's efforts, and prevents any confusion or misinterpretation.
Creating your vision is step one, but documenting it and weaving it into the fabric of your product team is critical for making it a reality. Write it down, share it out, and make sure everyone working on the product knows it like the back of their hand.
It can be tough to finalize a perfect product vision, especially when you're starting from square one. As the product owner, you also own the product vision, but that doesn't mean you should define it on your own. The best visions are created in collaboration with product stakeholders and pressure tested by the leadership team.
Before you can craft your vision, make sure you have the right data and resources on hand. Typically, that means gathering your company vision statement, nailing down your product purpose, and completing an empathy map to deeply understand your customers. Let's take a closer look at how these components — in particular, your product purpose and empathy map — feed into an effective product vision.
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How to create a meaningful product vision
Define the product purpose
Creating your product story starts with understanding the purpose of your product. This ultimately boils down to three questions.
- Why does your product exist?
- How will you achieve your why?
- What is your product?
It sounds easy enough, but this is really an exercise in specificity. You could probably list out dozens of reasons why your product exists, and you could describe it in myriad different ways. But for the purpose of this exercise, make sure you collaborate with product stakeholders to boil it down to its core, to what really matters.
Below is a simple framework that can help your team. We recommend spending about 15 minutes workshopping your product purpose with your team. It can be tempting to spend days poring over various iterations, but try to time-box yourselves in order to work quickly and efficiently.
Outline the product's unique value proposition
Determine what sets the product apart from others in the market, and how it will create a competitive advantage.
Identify the target customers
Determine who the product is designed for and what their needs and pain points are. This can help to inform how the product will provide value to its users.
Analyze the competition
Understand what other products are currently available in the market, and identify their strengths and weaknesses. This can help to identify gaps in the market that the product can fill, or opportunities to differentiate the product from its competitors.
Determine the product's key features and benefits
Identify the specific features and benefits of the product that will provide value to its users, and how these features and benefits compare to those of other products in the market. This can help to articulate the product's unique value proposition.
Consider the product's design and user experience
Consider how the product's design and user experience will set it apart from its competitors, and how it will create a positive and memorable experience for its users.
Align the product vision to broader company goals
Confirming that the product vision aligns with the company's broader vision and strategy is critical for ensuring the long-term success and sustainability of the product.
Consider the company's strategic goals
Review the company's strategic plan and goals, and identify how the product vision can contribute to these goals. This can help to ensure that the product supports the company's long-term growth and success.
Collaborate with cross-functional teams to improve alignment
Engage with other teams in the company, such as marketing, sales, and engineering, to ensure that the product vision is aligned with their needs and priorities. This can help to ensure that the product is well-integrated into the company's broader operations and goals.
Empathize with your users
Next, complete an empathy map to develop a deep, shared understanding of your users. If it's been a while since you've done this, do it again! Before you can write a successful product vision, everyone should have an intimate knowledge of their needs, their pain points, and their motivations.
First things first, you need to have a clear view of your target persona. Who are you creating this product for? From there, your team can spend 30 minutes completing an empathy map that organizes and refines your collective knowledge about your persona. This empathy map template can guide you through the process. The completed empathy map will serve as a valuable tool when you actually sit down to create your product vision.
With these resources in hand, your team can define your product vision. You can use this simple, concise format to tell a compelling product story that resonates with your audience.
Review and update the product vision statement as needed
Regularly revisit the product vision and making adjustments as needed based on new insights, feedback, and changing market conditions. Here are some specific actions that can help to ensure that the product vision is iterated and refined over time:
- Solicit feedback from stakeholders
- Stay up-to-date on changes in the market
- Revisit the product roadmap
- Be willing to pivot the product vision if necessary
Iteratively refining the product vision over time can help ensure that the product is well-aligned with changing market conditions, evolving customer needs, and emerging technologies.
Product vision template
There's no one-size-fits-all format for a product vision, but there are tried-and-true templates you can use as a jumping-off point. This is a classic, fill-in-the-blank format you can use to guide your thinking.
This template, which is adapted from Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore, was originally intended for creating product positioning statements. While positioning refers to the space your product occupies in the market, your product vision should be more aspirational and ambitious.
🚀 Pro Tip: Get this template, along with the other building blocks of a resilient product strategy, in the Resilient Product Roadmap Template in MURAL.
Effective team management
Product vision statements allow a given team to communicate more effectively with one another, such as explaining, in a short and concise way, what your product is inherently and what you intend to do with your product. Effective team management will reflect a level of mutual understanding and clarity regarding a given product vision. If there is good team management, the presentation of your product vision statement will be more effective because of MURAL’s product vision templates, which focus on the preparation and organization of your product.
Product vision statements prepare your team to express the intentions behind your product, and better presentation of your product will allow your goals to be clear and planned beforehand to avoid roadblocks along the way.
In addition, the presentation of your product is more clear and concise because of planning beforehand and creating a product vision statement, resulting in the ability to communicate your product as clearly as possible with your team.
Now, let's take a look at some real-world examples of product visions that tell a meaningful story.
Product vision statement examples
Need a little inspiration before you get started? These real product visions from notable companies can help. They don't strictly follow Geoffrey Moore's format, but they're all aspirational, and they all address what their product is, who it's for, and how it's different.
The British grocery chain Tesco has a team focused entirely on loss prevention science. This is how they describe their vision:
"Our product vision is to provide a single source of decision making for loss prevention within Tesco, across any channel or market. We operate at the point of transaction, so Tesco chooses which transactions to allow, block or intervene in, to grow sales and manage losses."
GitLab is an open-source DevOps platform that allows teams to deliver software faster and more efficiently. This is their vision for GitLab Runner:
"Our vision for GitLab Runner is to offer DevOps teams a build agent that works seamlessly on tomorrow's market-leading computing platforms and the tools to eliminate CI build fleet operational complexity at enterprise scale."
The iconic musical instrument company Fender describes their product vision for their electric guitars and basses like this:
"Our product vision is to accompany each player at every stage with products and brand experiences that fuel the pursuit of musical expression for players at every level."
The bottom line
Product teams are often saddled with a lot of different canvases and frameworks, leaving them asking how each one fits into the larger framework of a strategic product roadmap. To solve this challenge, we've developed a resource to simplify the product visioning and roadmapping process.
Take the next step with the Resilient Product Roadmap template
Together with Mike Edmonds, chief experience officer at Moonshot by Pactera EDGE, we created a template to help product leaders plan and rally their organizations around more collaborative and strategic product planning — and it all starts with the product vision.
Now, it’s your turn. Rally stakeholders from product management, design, and engineering for a series of collaborative planning sessions that cover each of the exercises outlined in the template. Try the template below to get started, or sign up for your own free forever workspace.
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