Roadmap: Product Vision Statement

Source: dreadfullyposh.comAhhhh roadmaps… if you have heard me speak, you know that I believe your roadmap is your most important document. I have probably written that in the archives somewhere too. It should be reviewed weekly, maybe you change it maybe you do not. You should carry it with you at all times and you should know it cold. That being said, is it spelled roadmap or road map? Stupid spell check.

One of the most important aspects of your roadmap is your product vision. Your vision is one of the pillars in your strategy along with your mission statement and value network. Often people will confuse mission and vision statements. Your vision statement will focus on the future and your mission statement will focus on the present. You absolutely need to own both the vision and mission for your product. Even the agilists will tell you, the product manager, to own this.

Joel Spolsky reprinted an article by Jim Highsmith. Scary, but this article originally appeared in August 2001, almost 8 years ago. Despite that, I think it is very relevant to where we are today. The article offers a simple vision framework from Geoffrey Moore’s book Crossing the Chasm. It follows the form:

  • For (target customer)
  • Who (statement of the need or opportunity)
  • The (product name) is a (product category)
  • That (key benefit, compelling reason to buy)
  • Unlike (primary competitive alternative)
  • Our product (statement of primary differentiation)

You will likely adjust your vision over-time as markets evolve but I think this gives you a great framework for developing an easy to understand and communicate vision. Developing your vision is one of those writing exercises that is a REALLY important task that will require you to put the time in to get it right. You need to define your vision and mission statements, champion them and constantly test them on various audiences.

Does anyone have another framework or an example of vision statements that they like better than Moore’s?

Image Source: dreadfullyposh.com

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    • http://www.puristproductmanagement.blogspot.com/ PuristProductManagement

      Yep, as always Stewart, you're spot on! There are loads of exercises and tools to create a vision statement (just google it) and they mostly follow the same basic logic which is around what your product does, what your competitors dont do etc etc. For me the value of the vision statement in a large organisation, is that is acts as the “Elevator Test” statement. If you can convince some that your product is worth investigating in on the basis of your vision statement in the time it takes to go up 10 floors in an elevator (not those new fancy elevators you can find in Dubai, that go at break-neck speed ;)) then it makes selling and actualising the RoadMap so much easier.

    • http://www.strategicproductmanager.com/ Stewart Rogers

      Good suggestion… I did google and here is the URL: http://is.gd/122aN. Lots of resources.

    • Pingback: Call for Vision Statements Strategic Product Manager

    • http://twitter.com/BstnMelody Robin Zaragoza

      Stewart, when you say “Product Vision”, is that synonymous to “Product Positioning”? The framework you mention is almost identical to what is taught in both Pragmatic and Sequent's as the “Product Positioning” Statement/Document.

    • http://www.strategicproductmanager.com/ Stewart Rogers

      The template can be used for both. The difference is the product positioning is closer to where you are today, but the vision is where you are headed. More forward looking positioning.

      Great question!
      Stewart

    • Pingback: Leadership, Strategy, Vision ie Three Peas One Pod » Strategic Product Manager

    • http://www.telablue.com/ Chris

      I couldn't agree more. A clearly stated and communicated vision gives everyone in your organization a goal to aspire to. Vision statements don't need to be lengthy and over-stated either. We found in our organization that until we had a good vision statement, we were floundering. Thanks Stewart.

    • http://www.strategicproductmanager.com/ Stewart Rogers

      Always nice to hear where it works for someone. Thanks for the comment Chris.

    • http://www.strategicproductmanager.com/ Stewart Rogers

      Always nice to hear where it works for someone. Thanks for the comment Chris.

    • Agreen

      i enjoyed this post and it really benefited me and so of the question i had. I did not subscribe to feed but i do plan to explore more expertise that you have to share.

    • Agreen

      i enjoyed this post and it really benefited me and so of the question i had. I did not subscribe to feed but i do plan to explore more expertise that you have to share.

    • http://viettelonline.com USB 3G

      Oh nice, thanks for your information!

    • Scott

      another affiliate marketer hard at work… 

    • arun

      Product vision = product market vision + product engineering vision + product sales vision

      The article sets tone only for product market vision, who sets the rest?

      The holistic vision approach is missing as product managers come from marketing background and sets a marketing specific vision

    • Sam J

      Chkout BillionairesBrain.com, this is amazingly helpful.. ..a must have for every entrepreneur