“Why are you building this product?”
It’s a simple question, but one that many product owners neglect to ask in the early stages of product planning. To build a great product, you need a clear vision—this is your “why.” A vision brings your product to life and is crucial for aligning your team, setting a direction, and building momentum for the project.
Yet, too often agile product teams jump into a project without nailing down a vision and strategy for their product. Agile Product Management with Scrum: Creating Products that Customers Love, explained it like this:
“Without a shared vision and an effective strategy, people are likely to pull in different directions, and the chances of creating a successful product are slim. While vision and strategy are key, describing them can be challenging.”
Pichler designed the product vision board to help teams define their product vision from the start and improve early-stage development and planning.
In this article, we’ll examine what a product vision board is, how to use it, and how to build your own board to set your product up for success.
What is a product vision board?
A product vision board is a tool used to capture the vision of a product while keeping your end users in mind. Building a robust vision board enables product teams to move forward quickly and confidently with clear goals and objectives.
Your product vision acts as the foundation for your product plan and strategy. However, you shouldn’t confuse your product vision with your product strategy. While your strategy may shift and evolve based on market changes and customer needs, your product vision should remain largely the same over time.
Pichler also points out "Your product vision should not be a plan that shows how to reach your goal. Instead, you should keep the product vision and the product strategy—the path towards the goal—separate. This enables you to change your strategy while staying grounded in your vision."
So how does it work?
The product vision board template helps product owners identify and answer key questions about the product vision. The board outlines five main categories:
- Vision: The vision statement describes your overarching goal for creating the product and why it matters.
- Target group: This is your target market segment your product is designed for.
- Needs: Why do users need your product? What problems are you planning to solve?
- Product: These are the features and discriminators that make your product successful and unique.
- Business goals: Illustrating how the product aligns with your overarching business objectives.
Use cases for a product vision board
A product vision board isn’t just good for brainstorming and outlining the vision for your product. It can also help you and your team build a more complete picture of the product from start to finish.
- Research and validation. Use the product vision board to test your assumptions and capture new insights for your product. Pichler suggests analyzing your finished board to identify the biggest risks or uncertainties in your plans. This allows you to quickly uncover what works (and what doesn’t) and figure out which assumptions hold true. Research can validate your assumptions before moving on to feature development and product implementation.
- Product planning. Your vision board acts as a compass during your product planning stage, pointing to your product’s “true north.” Refer to it often to make sure your plans are focused in the right direction.
- Product strategy and alignment. Use your product vision board as the foundation for your product strategy and a tool for aligning the product, team, and business.
As Pichler describes, “The vision...acts as the overarching goal guiding everyone involved in the development effort. Equally important is the product strategy, the path chosen to attain the vision.”
In other words, the vision informs the product strategy. By relying on the vision board to outline your strategy, you can build in alignment even when your strategy evolves.
How to create a product vision board
The beauty of a product vision board is in its simplicity. Pichler designed the product vision board template to make it easy for product owners and their teams to narrow down the key components of a product vision and strategy.
Let’s break it down:
At the top of the template, you’ll outline your product vision statement. Your vision statement should answer two key questions:
- Why are you creating the product?
- What positive change should it bring about?
Keep your vision statement brief but inspiring. This is the overarching goal for the product and the reason for creating it.
Pro tip: Make sure product stakeholders and your development all support this vision before moving forward. Lucidspark makes it easy to share your ideas with stakeholders through its virtual whiteboard solution. Use the product vision board template, created by Pichler, in Lucidspark to brainstorm and map your ideas with your team, then use Facilitator Tools to present your vision to stakeholders.
The target group is the collective of users who you are trying to help with your product. This section should answer:
- What market does the product address?
- Who are the ideal users you’re targeting?
- Who would most likely benefit from your product?
The target group should be clear and well-defined. Consider using key personas to help you further illustrate your ideal end-user.
Once you have targeted a specific market for your product, think about how your product will serve that audience. You should consider:
- What problem does the product solve?
- Which benefit does it provide?
This section describes your product’s value proposition and should clarify what makes people want to buy and use your product. What is “success” for your users? If you identify multiple needs, rank them by priority.
Capture the core product features and describe how the product will meet the user needs outlined in the previous section. Some questions to consider in creating this section:
- What is the product?
- What sets it apart?
- Is it feasible to develop the product?
Keep in mind this is a brief, high-level outline of your product—not an exhaustive or technical list. Your team will be able to dive into these features later in development. Right now, you’re just getting a bird’s-eye view of what your final product should look like.
Finally, define your business goals. This section helps you align the product with your business objectives and should answer:
- How will the product benefit the company?
- What are the business goals?
In other words, explain why the company should invest in this product. This can include goals like increasing revenue, developing the brand, or reducing cost. Make sure to prioritize these goals so the vision is focused.
Getting started with Lucidspark
Product vision boards set teams up for success by clarifying the “why” behind every product before it goes into development. Getting clear on how each product fits into the strategic goals of the organization and why those products are important to users helps teams stay aligned and focus on the right products at the right time.
Agile product teams have to juggle a lot of projects and product details—making it easy for plans to fall off track.
Lucidspark simplifies the brainstorming and planning process with its easy-to-use virtual whiteboard solution. Share ideas and get everyone on the same page with a customizable product vision board template. With collaborative tools like color-coded cursors, emoji reactions, and freehand drawing, teams can build on ideas, get consensus, and stay aligned on the product vision from anywhere.
Start setting up your own product vision board today!Go now