A digital product is only as good as the strategy that guides it…
No amount of slick interface designs and flashy animations will fix a digital product that ultimately doesn’t provide its users with tangible benefits. What’s more getting these benefits to your users also needs to be balanced against the cost of running the product and implementing new features.
So how do you go about creating innovation while maintaining the commercial viability of your product or service?
By ensuring your digital product has a clear and concise vision.
So, what is a product vision? And why should you care?
Let’s start with what product vision isn’t. Product vision is not your roadmap, which focuses more on the week to week scheduling of resources and finances allowing you to explore strategic initiatives, test features and ship updates regularly. Instead your product vision is the destination your roadmap is trying to get to.
Your product vision should effectively summarise the reason why your product or service exists in the first place and what your long-term goal is.
A successful product vision should be agreed on at an organisational level; and be inspired by the people working on it (from key stakeholders down to individual teams) while also inspiring them, by effectively summarising the key reasons the product exists and what the main value of it is. It is the products motivation.
There are numerous benefits to having a well-considered product vision for both the product and the teams working on it.
A source of truth - Your product vision gives everyone involved a source of truth to work towards and validate any decisions that need to be made. For example, if there is doubt about whether a feature request is worth the investment (both cost and time) you can ask yourself if the work will ultimately bring you closer to the product vision.
Flexibility - As long as you know what you need to achieve in the long term, you can choose the most appropriate route for the current requirements and restrictions of your product. This means that you can justify changes to the product roadmap to keep heading towards your product goal. Having a product vision actively encourages a more agile team mindset allowing the product to be much more responsive to its user and the market.
Innovation - Your product vision needs to be ambitious. If you think your product can change the world, say so! By having a big lofty target to hit, that your teams have bought into will help to reduce fears about new and novel ways to get there. Targets always need to be balanced against running costs, however if your teams feel they can make more left field and ambitious suggestions you never know what sparks of genius may be uncovered.
It creates a connection - Anything that can build empathy in a product team will result in a more considered and appropriate solution. The product vision sets out the key value it brings to its users. Outside of the practical benefits of user and market research teams have a more holistic reason to understand and engage with the users to create a better experience.
The truth is creating a product vision is hard, specifically because it requires you to condense so much potential into such a short statement while also accounting for multiple team desires and aspirations. The benefit of working with an agency to define your product vision is that we effectively become an impartial resource to listen to and guide the process.
Whether your product is just starting out, or you feel as if there is a lack of focus and direction for your product, we would love to talk about how we can help you define and implement your new product vision.