November 14, 2019

What Is Vision?

When we previously talked about Strategy, we brushed upon the topic of Vision, or the goal of what we want the product to be. Unfortunately, in many organizations this often boils down to mission statements like “Excalibur helps businesses cut through the red tape of regulatory compliance”.

Effective vision is typically the result of viewing the product from different perspectives. While the customer need should weigh heavily on vision, it cannot be the only factor. Because of this, what may seem simple on the surface can quickly becomes complex with this approach, as further questions emerge:

  • How do we sell the Product?
  • How do we price the Product?
  • What does new customer onboarding look like?
  • What type of user experience do we want?
  • Is this a near final product, or a building block?
  • How are we going to support the Product?

Questions like these are critical to shaping the vision of the product. Otherwise, leaving these questions unaddressed can easily lead to organizational dischord, as Support may have one expectation, Services another, and yet a third for Development.

And while it may be tempting to try and pick a single approach and share it with the rest of the organization, that doesn’t always work either:

  • If you’re going lightweight with your MVP and expect a Services-intensive implementation, you need to be sure that there are Services staff available, or you have the budget to add to those resources or outsource them.
  • If you expect a sales staff to sell your product, you need to be sure they are properly incentivised to do so.
  • If you expect support to solve technical issues, you need to be sure that the team is staffed with the appropriate skills.

Ultimately, your vision shold help all groups within your organization align their goals in order to help drive the product’s success. If the vision is communicated effectively, everyone in your organization should be able ask themselves “Does this task/work/decision help us accomplish our vision?”. And if not, does it really need to be done?

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