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Creating a Product Vision


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To capture and externalise the product vision will provide advantages to the process and the team. You will now have a singular representation, a visible artefact to throw tomatoes at, and the ability to test and improve any or all elements.

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Creating a Product Vision

  1. 1. CREATING (CAPTURING) A PRODUCT VISION To capture and externalise the product vision will provide advantages to the process and the team. You will now have a singular representation, a visible artefact to throw tomatoes at, and the ability to test and improve any or all elements. Product Strategy Series with Mike Biggs Mike Biggs @MetaMikeBiggs
  2. 2. WHAT YOU WILL FIND IN THIS DOCUMENT 1. Why should we create a product vision? a. Why it’s useful b. Key goals of a product vision 2. What does a product vision look like? a. Product Vision Template b. Examples of the product vision board 3. Where in the process is the vision created? a. Product Vision and Technology Detail work in parallel b. Maintain a tension between Vision and Detail 4. How do I do it? a. Preconditions and assumptions b. Critical preparation c. Running the actual visioning session d. Things to think about as the facilitator e. Steps to take after the vision is created 5. How do I manage several visions? a. Don’t use a delivery portfolio view b. Lean value tree c. Why put all the visions in a single tree d. Lean Value tree common example e. Lean value tree example with OKRs 6. Which metrics tool is appropriate c. OKRs and PIRATE work together 2. How do I frame prioritisation a. Different kinds of risk are relevant at each level in the business. 7. Resources b. Templates and some other useful gems not discussed in this document.
  3. 3. WHY SHOULD WE CREATE A PRODUCT VISION Exploring one way to define a vision. 3
  4. 4. A clear and ambitious vision provides the following for the team working on developing the product • A clear articulation of the Problem-Solution fit that can be evolved into a sustainable product. • A clear articulation of the market opportunity & high level features (and/or organisational capability) that will realise the opportunity, • Creates meaning beyond the solution itself which is both: • Inspirational- pulls the team forward. • A decision making standard- allows the freedom to create a solution that delivers on the vision however necessary, whilst providing measurable success metrics. • It will serve as hypothesis for the product at the highest level. Some alternatives that may be used instead, or in conjunction include: • Elevator pitch • Product Hypothesis • Capability Hypothesis • Questions to answer and/or follow up with deeper research. The product vision will allow you to: • Get buy-in with executives and sponsors. • Influence and get agreement regarding budget or other resources to bring the vision to life. • Compare, evaluate and make decisions across multiple products / the portfolio. • Throw tomatoes at it. Use a product vision if you: • Need to consolidate the fuzzy ramblings of your stakeholders. • Have an idea for a product or service, and would like to progress it. • Need to compare possible initiatives to invest in. WHY IS A PRODUCT VISION USEFUL?
  5. 5. Key Components • Capture the overall goal and intent of the product in a single statement. • Define the audience (user). • Define the relevant needs of the audience (needs). • Define key features / capabilities that will support the needs (features). • Define the relevant business goals (business goals). Bringing it all together • The User, Needs, Features, and Business Goals need to align. They don’t have to line up individually, but there must be a clear relationship between all categories. • The above mentioned elements must deliver on the vision statement, nothing more, nothing less. SMART Goals • You need to be clear about how you will measure the success of the product if all goes according to plan. • You don’t need to predict a specific number at this stage, but you do need to define the thing that you would measure. Qualitative measurements are ok, provided you can sample them reliably, and consistently. A product vision: • Is visionary by definition • Supports generative (abductive) thinking • Articulates what could be, not what is • Tells a narrative (right brain) To get good metrics Use S.M.A.R.T. Goals to help you think about the business and user value. (https:// KEY GOALS OF A PRODUCT VISION
  6. 6. WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE? Exploring one way to define a vision. 6
  7. 7. One or two personas. OR Market Segments. Key problems they need solving. Key opportunities to help or delight. High level features, or capabilities that would be required to solve the problems, or provide the help / delight in ‘Needs’. Internal goals that align with delivering on the ‘needs’. How is this going to benefit the company? Metrics that would indicate the product has solve the problem & is good for the long term sustainability of the product. “Bold statement / Purpose for creating the product” Using the Roman Pichler Template PRODUCT VISION BOARD TEMPLATE
  8. 8. • Asset Management Team • Retailer • MP • Sales Team • Meter Data Provider • MC • Timely Data Requests • Transparency • Accuracy • Meet Compliance • Translate Customer Language • To Aggregate Data • Capture Audit Trail • Integrate with Meters • Report Record Attributes • Integrate Subsets of Data • Accuracy of Report • Reduced use of Internal People & Time • Faster Response to Customers “Be the MSP of Choice” PRODUCT VISION BOARD EXAMPLE Using the Roman Pichler Template
  9. 9. WHERE IN THE PROCESS IS THE VISION CREATED? Contextualising Product Vision within Product Strategy. 9
 LEARNINGS THEMES/ EPICS STORIES STORY MAP RELEASE PLAN PRODUCT VISION DISCRETE SOLUTION ELEMENTS PRODUCT ROADMAP DELIVERY BACKLOG TensionTensionTension Begins to provide tangible feature elements that pair with Stories. May consist of wireframe elements. Articulates a unique combination of: • Market • Solution • Human Need Articulates the business value delivered over time (releases) including goals, and key business metrics. Broad customer problems to solve. Breakdown of epics to define the granular stories that need to be built over time. Brings together the granular problems to solve with granular solutions whilst structuring them into value goals over time. How big are the things to build? When can we get them done by? Hey, build this stuff. Deep Reductive Constraints Probability Broad Abductive Generative Possibility Where does product visioning fit into the world?
  11. 11. At any point in time, there must be a healthy tension that combine and balance the value embodied in the vision, with the tangible reality of action. Outcomes of the healthy tension are to: • Remain relevant to customers and market • Be able to change according to new information from any potential source Product Vision & Roadmap pulls to the future and defines value Story breakdown & Analysis drives deep into what can and will be done. Build, measure, learn MAINTAIN A HEALTHY TENSION: VISION & DETAIL
  12. 12. HOW TO DO IT Recipe for creating a meaningful, and useful Product Vision 12
  13. 13. Caveats to the following process: • It assumes there is enough latent knowledge in the stakeholders who will be involved in the visioning session, that they may be able to define the most important elements in all categories, as well as the important relationships between them. • It does not describe the previous stages (that are not mandatory), but are recommended. Those stages include: • Understand and define market needs. • Understand and define general user needs of the domain. • Understand and define broader organisational needs. • Synthesise and make connections between the above internal and external elements. • It’s perfectly reasonable to start at this point (visioning the product) if practicing a lean product development process wherein you are afforded the ability to very quickly build and test the product vision (which in effect serves as a product hypothesis, subject to the scientific process). These earlier stages will be outlined in the next instalment in this series: Exploring & Defining Strategy PRECONDITIONS AND ASSUMPTIONS IN THIS PROCESS
  14. 14. Pre work • The facilitator of this process (you) will likely have a vision. Note it down by creating your own canvas using the template, but do not share it. • Make a list of the key stakeholders who you will need for this product. They may include: • Subject Matter Experts • Executive Sponsors • The intended or actual Product Owner/Manager • Experience Designer and/or Business Analyst (whoever has done the primary research) • Map the stakeholders on a grid to help you frame how you plan to engage and or manage them • Use the grid shown on the right. • Identify which of the stakeholders need to create the Product Vision. • Invite key stakeholders, prepare workshop room with large template of canvas, and paper on the walls. CRITICAL PREPARATION BEFORE THE ACTUAL WORKSHOP Latents Keep Satisfied Promoters Manage Closely Apathetic Monitor Defenders Keep Informed Interest Power
  15. 15. • Session will run for 2-3 hours. • Provide A4 versions of the vision and ask each participant to create their own version, without consulting others (up to 20 minutes) • Ask the participants to share their version with the group. Another option at this stage is to pair up and consolidate before sharing with the broader group. • Facilitate the consolidation of information as it’s shared, onto post it notes, and assemble them onto the one large canvas on the wall. Where do the inputs come from? • Stakeholder bring with them many facts, insights, and opinions. They are all useful and relevant. • If there is any primary research, the outputs and ideally the person leading that research should be in attendance. They may share the outputs, and or present a summary. • It is often useful to run a sensemaking session prior to the visioning session as to surface all inputs, then distil them down to only what’s important. • The session itself provides a sensemaking function by way of it being in a diverse group, and through collaboration. It is also ok to accept that our collective vision is still a hypothesis that needs validation as a next step and or as part of the development process. RUNNING THE ACTUAL VISIONING SESSION
  16. 16. • Ensure the vision is clear and could be evaluated as a SMART goal. (https:// • Ensure the target and needs are specific enough to provide meaningful guidance later. All things to all people is useless. • Ensure the features/ capabilities are at a high level, and are not attempting to drill down too far. • Ensure the business value is understood and is clearly linked to the other columns. • Ask yourself if there is in fact one, or many products hidden in the one canvas. If there are multiple, can you create two ‘canvii’, and define a higher order goal that they both support? • Ensure all voices in the group are heard by encouraging conversation and stopping the louder voices from dominating the room. • The content going into this vision should be Hypotheses and therefore require testing at scale, they most definitely must be based on learnings and specific insights, not conjecture of an individual. THINGS TO THINK ABOUT AS THE FACILITATOR
  17. 17. Bringing it to life • All elements of the vision are hypotheses in a system that we have imagined. Our job now is to proceed to define the biggest risks associated with bringing the vision to life. Risks usually map from Existential at the top (most important), to operational/ technical at the bottom. • Now we systematically test each risk. If a risk cannot be solved or mitigated, we do not proceed with the product. • We use a bias for action as our guiding principle now and for the duration of the development. • You could use one of the following frameworks to manage the risks/ experiments you’ll begin working through: (knowledge of Agile, Storymapping, and MVP experimentation are recommended and required to make best use of these tools). • Simple Agile / Kanban Visualisation tool. • Validation Board- validationboard/ • Stories on Board - • You can create a product roadmap that will outline how you will deliver business value over time. Consider this instructional deck here: How to create a product roadmap. Integration / Organisational relevance • Re-define, or extend your metrics to fit the OKR framework. - Also discussed briefly, later in this deck. • Add the product to a Lean Value Tree as described in the EDGE framework - Also discussed briefly, later in this deck. • Be comfortable to change, evolve or re-work your vision as new information comes to light. STEPS TO TAKE AFTER THE VISION IS CREATED
  18. 18. HOW DO I MANAGE SEVERAL VISIONS? What does a business value focused programme wall look like?
 (the essence of product strategy) 18
  19. 19. DON’T USE A DELIVERY PORTFOLIO VIEW One common practice is to use a delivery programme wall to coordinate multiple products. A delivery portfolio wall is • Focus is on streams of delivery work. • Value is not surfaced or discussed. Coordination of outcomes is largely framed by resource constraints, not strategic objectives. Instead of a delivery wall, we use a Lean Value Tree to frame and manage Product Value. A lean value tree focuses on value, and provides the context required to manage multiple organisational goals and products.
  20. 20. LEAN VALUE TREE: ALIGNING ORGANISATIONAL STRATEGY A Lean Value Tree is a visual tool to facilitate capturing and sharing an organizational vision and strategy, whilst connecting it to specific products or initiatives. Unlike the Programme Wall, the Lean Value Tree will: • Focus on value outcomes • Provides a stretch vision and measurable result for each initiative. • Is not top-down in its structure (contrary to the hierarchical view) in other words meaningful objectives may originate anywhere in the tree. • Utilises OKRs (Objectives,Key-Results) which is an ideal method for defining and measuring value in the structure. • ORKs also work well with Pirate metrics. See the EDGE deck for more. It’s also worth noting that the Lean Value Tree is similar to the Minto Pyramid Principle. Vision GoalGoal Goal BetBet InitiativeInitiativeInitiative
  21. 21. WHY PUT ALL THE VISIONS IN A SINGLE TREE? • Provides context and meaning to the product. Without it, a stand- alone product has the potential to go off track. • Narrows the focus of any particular initiative or product allowing appropriate metrics, scope and resources necessary to meet the said goals. • Clearly surfaces the amount and type of products that are in play. 
 Allowing you to explore the following questions: • Why exactly are we doing [particular initiative]? • Is there any overlap (waste)? • Are there any gaps, meaning we will not reach our higher order goals, with the current investments? • What strategic synergies exist, and must be maintained before the paradigm of scarcity (prioritisation) is applied. • Which investments are paying off and should receive further investment? See the EDGE deck for more. It’s also worth noting that the Lean Value Tree is similar to the Minto Pyramid Principle. Vision GoalGoal Goal BetBet InitiativeInitiativeInitiative
  22. 22. LEAN VALUE TREE: SIMPLE EXAMPLE Good Customer Service Goal: Short WaitGoal: Knowledgeable Reps Goal: Friendly Reps Research response is fast Can answer without further research Correct Answers
  23. 23. LEAN VALUE TREE: EXAMPLE OBJECTIVE: “To accommodate additional 20k meters per month at an acceptable cost” KEY RESULTS Optimise tech as a resource Right Meter, Right Place, Right Time Transparency & Responsiveness to FRMP Capture value from FRMPs OBJECTIVE: “To be the metering provider of choice” KEY RESULTS 80% Market Share Accommodate 20k additional meters per month OBJECTIVE: “Optimise techs as a resource” KEY RESULTS Increase jobs per day Reduce UTC Reduce Exceptions NEXT SLICE OF VALUE: “Technician Happy Path” OBJECTIVE: “Right Meter, Right Place, Right Time” KEY RESULTS: Reduced Rental Charges Reduced Transfer Costs Goal Detail Vision Detail Product Release Goal Potential Value- for experimentation
  24. 24. WHICH METRICS TOOL IS APPROPRIATE? How to we measure effectiveness beyond each product individually? 24
  25. 25. Goal Detail Vision Detail Product Release Goal OKRS WORK WITH PIRATE METRICS They do a different job, but you need both. 
 OKRs are stacked vertically as activities and actors nest inside one another, whilst Pirate metrics track the individual shape and success of each ‘product’ that interacts with the market. OKRS (Objectives-Key Results) • OKRs are a structured method for defining organisation wide goals, with metrics. • They consist of an aspirational OBJECTIVE, coupled with measurable KEY RESULTS that will indicate when the objective is being reached. • They work well with lean value trees as they can stack easily, but don’t have to. It’s possible, and quite ok for OKRs to originate from anywhere in the organisation (tree). PIRATE Metrics • Called Pirate because they measure Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Retention, Revenue, Referral. Spelling out: AARRR! • These metrics track the customer life cycle in a particular product or service. • There may be multiple sets of PIRATE metrics if you have multiple products in your portfolio. (stacked) and provide a visible relationship between org wide goals, initiatives, & products. Pirate metrics define relationship between product and customer.
  26. 26. HOW DO I FRAME PRIORITISATION? At each level in the business, different risks can affect success. Knowing which kind of risks to focus on will help to maintain focus on the right problem, right solution, right technology practices. 26
  27. 27. DIFFERENT KINDS OF RISK ARE RELEVANT AT EACH LAYER IN THE BUSINESS Strategy Products & Services Themes & Epics Stories & Features Value x Risk = Priority Value / Effort = Priority Value / Effort = Priority Existential risk Effort required Maintaining a clear line of sight from the story being worked on in a team, all the way up to the strategy is important but there are different elements that provide that alignment at each stage of the way.
 Which products are the most valuable in pursuit of our business strategy? Which story provides the most value to the key stakeholders within this product? Which feature provides the best experience to the primary users of this interface? At higher levels, in the business the biggest risk is relevance, not complexity of the solution or effort required. (Basic) equation used to prioritise. (create your own using WSJF with these considerations in mind).
  28. 28. RESOURCES At this point you may need some. 28
  32. 32. THOUGHTWORKS FLOW OF IDEAS DIAGRAM • Not featured in this document. • This version includes an enhanced sense-making phase with elaborated inputs.
  33. 33. " Roman Pichler Product Stuff - ● Jim Kalbach - Strategy Canvas guy, and fellow Jazz metaphorist ● Dual Track Development - development/