In a scrum team, a product owner is responsible for crafting a product vision that inspires the development team to create products that customers love and solve compelling problems.
Many product owners don’t have any formal training nor have they been prepared for the role in any way. So, it’s often up to the scrum master to help the product owner craft a compelling vision and articulate that vision to the development team.
Why is a product vision so important?
First, it creates a sense of purpose.
A vision is something that you need in a team environment for people to care about the work they are doing and who they are performing that work for.
It’s about bringing people into the mix and providing them with the internal motivation where they want to actively help you achieve the product vision and delight customers and end-users.
Purpose is about the positive change you want to create in the world.
How is the world going to be a better place because of the work that is being done and how do you articulate that in a way that is compelling and inspiring for other people?
Let’s give you an example.
Uber doesn’t have a vision to be the world’s biggest taxi company without owning a single car, despite that being exactly what they are, it is instead ‘to make transportation as reliable as running water, everywhere for everyone’.
One of those statements articulates the logistics of an operation, the other articulates the purpose of a team of people who are committed to delighting customers and stakeholders.
That’s something that people can get behind. It’s big, it’s bold, and it’s inspiring.
This is what we are looking for in a product vision. Something that draws people in closer and compels them to find creative solutions and solve complex problems that empower the team to achieve the vision and product goals.
A strong vision also brings about clarity for the team. In a heartbeat, a team will know whether the work they are taking on will help the product achieve it’s purpose or whether it’s best to set that aside and focus on something which does.
It aligns teams and ensures that the work they are doing is the most valuable work.
How do you help a product owner craft a vision?
For me, it really is as simple as focusing on why the product exists. Go right back to the very start and ascertain why the product was developed in the first place and what problem it intended to solve for customers.
What pain did your customers want you to alleviate and what gains were those customers hoping to make because of your product, feature, or service?
Dig into that.
A value proposition canvas is a great way to articulate each of these elements and map out the value your product delivers to each customer segment it serves.
Make an effort to really understand what jobs your customers are trying to get done and why each of those jobs are important to them from both a personal and a professional perspective.
There are loads of product vision creation templates about but ultimately, it boils down to who is being served by the product and why it is important to that customer that their problem is solved?
This is the domain of the product owner and product stakeholders.
They often have insights into the customer journey, relationships with customers, and data to help you articulate what most matters to customers as well as product stakeholders.
So, you need to work really closely with your product owner and product stakeholders.
You need to help them articulate the pain points, gain creators, and the problems that are actively solved by adoption of the product solution.
The value proposition canvas will help you articulate exactly which value propositions serve which customer segments and make it really easy for your development team to understand the context of the work they are doing and why it’s important to both customers and product stakeholders.
Armed with a sense of purpose and granular details about what needs doing, why it needs doing, and how that will impact the customer, your development team have all the motivation and inspiration they need to find creative solutions to complex problems and create products, features and services that truly delight customers and stakeholders.
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