What is a product vision?

A product vision represents the core essence of its product or product line. It also sets the direction for where a product is headed, or the end state for what a product will deliver in the future.

As an example, in our demo product for Fredwin Cycling, the vision is to be the #1 social fitness cycling application on the market. The vision clearly states the overall direction for where the Fredwin Cycling product is headed.

Your vision serves as the north star for every action taken to enhance the product; if adding a feature will not help your product achieve its vision, then the value of that feature should be diminished.

To write and share a strategic product vision, you must start with your product’s end user in mind. A strong product vision is supported by details of who the customers are, what they need, and your go-to-market plan. It captures the essence of what you aim to achieve, the opportunities you have, and the threats that you face.

This is crucial information that your team must understand to develop and maintain a winning product. Whether you are using SWOT, a basic market assessment, or a business canvas planning approach, product vision provides a framework for you to create your strategy and visually share it with key product stakeholders.

Your product vision provides a repository that is easily accessible, and can be shared with your team and key stakeholders. Product vision is also the first step towards creating strategic goals and initiatives. After all, if you don’t know where you are going, how will you get there?

Goals and Initiatives create a bridge between your overall product strategy and your releases and features. Strategic Goals enable you to focus the team on the top 3 - 5 business drivers that you want to accomplish with your product over the next 3 - 12 months. Strategic Initiatives focus on which efforts you must complete to accomplish your goals, and can be mapped to releases and features.

It is crucial that goals and initiatives follow a product vision that has been confirmed by customers and shared with stakeholders. Many products fail before developers have written their first line of code. This is not due to lack of talent or ambition; most frequently, there is too much alienation between product managers and their products’ end users.

When product managers fail to speak one-on-one with these users, they cannot confirm market potential. This leads to misguided goals and initiatives – the result of an unclear product vision. The good news is that once you know what's missing from your market, you can write a product vision to deliver a winning solution.

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