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How can the Product Vision Board Kit be used in Scrum Projects for creating optimal value? The introduction of a new Product may start from many different sources in an Organization. However the Development, either of the Product itself or of an Application that supports the Product will be carried out in an IT Project. We are going to talk about how successful execution is achieved with a Clear and Concise Product Vision. We will also discuss how to Create and Expand upon this Product Vision. Too often Development Teams do not offer enough attention to the Product Vision. This can result in a Product Delivery that is skewed and a variation of the Customers Expectations.

It must also be recognised by the originators of the Concept that when it comes to the Detailed Design and Build, Changes may be Required to Deliver a Viable Product. To avoid surprises, the people who came up with the Concept should be kept informed by the Development Team. There are several ways of doing this within the Agile Project. Many descriptions of Scrum imply that the Product Design starts in the Scrum: this is highly unlikely.

It is likewise Risky. If the Product Vision is realised at this stage, it will be very tough to line up with Customer Expectations. In an Organisation that has a Mature Innovation Process, sufficient Work should have been Done to Envision the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) before the Project is started. This should be done before starting to Develop the Application. What will happen is that the Development of the Product will reveal modifications that need to be made. These modifications are changes to the original Concept that were not understood at the time. Examples could be a Security Feature to prevent cyber-attacks. Or maybe an error condition that needs to be Managed to avoid Program Failure.

Product Vision Board Kit: Starting the Product Journey

The start of the Product Journey will always start outside the Agile Project. Scrum Team will be provided with a Conceptualisation of the Product. This could be in many different formats, ranging from a Blueprint to an exhaustive description of the potential Product. If the Company has progressed to an Agile Organisation, they may even Provide a Product Vision Board Kit. This is what the Scrum Team would produce themselves. If a Product Vision Board Kit is provided by the Concept Team, the Scrum Team can use it. They can fine-tune and enhance it as they Develop the Product.

The Ideation Team Conceptualize the Product using the “Value Proposition Canvas”. This is a Derivation from the “Business Model Canvas” created by Alex Osterwalder. Both these Models can be used for your Product Vision if you choose. It is often best to use one that the rest of your Company is more familiar with. Both Models have the details you Require for your Agile Product Vision.

The right-hand side of the canvas describes the Customer, their Pain Points and their Motivations for obtaining the Product (“Gains”). The left-hand side has the Product Description. This details what it offers to get rid of the Pain Points, plus Additional Value-Adds (the “Gain Creators”).

Product Vision Board Kit: A Visual Representation of the Product.

Roman Pichler created a Template for the Vision Board, specifically for using in Scrum Projects:

The Vision Statement encapsulates the concept of the Product in a Single Sentence. The Target Group might be internal Customers at your Company, or specific external Market Segments. When you produce Personas for the Product, their names could be listed here, and their biographies should be pinned up in close proximity to the Vision Board.

The Needs are all about the Pains and Gains and how they will be dealt with. Pichler also recommends Documenting the Customer Expectations here (“which emotions will the Product evoke?”).

The Value is the Barometer of Company Success. If your Company Practises Benefits Realisation, you must be able to select this information from the Benefits Register. This is where the expected ROI (Return on Investment) is quantified. For example, the new Product is anticipated to draw in 10% more new Customers. Or maybe 30% of existing Customers will take up the new Product.

Product Vision Board Kit: Mapping the Vision

The Mapping of the Product Vision needs to be a joint endeavour, involving the Scrum Team and any Stakeholders from business that will assist in clarifying the Vision, such as the Ideators of the Product from your innovation lab, and Subject Matter Experts. The Scrum Product Owner (the Voice of the Customer) will be a Valuable source of information, and they will be constructing and Prioritising the Product Backlog based on the Product Vision. How the deliverables are mapping to the product vision can be reviewed during the Sprint Review and Sprint Retrospective.

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Translating the Vision into the Backlog.

The Product Vision has enough information about the Product itself and the Features it consists of to start sketching out some draft User Stories. These would be Epic Stories, which are overviews that will stitch the detailed User Stories together. In order to craft the Epics successfully, it is needed to understand the Customers for the Product and their needs. This is explained on the Vision Board.

The Product Owner will Manage the Backlog and Prioritise User Stories as they are added to it, together with any Artefacts that enhance or complement the User Story. It needs to be possible to Trace every User Story back to the Vision Board by means of the Epic, to ensure completeness.

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Ensure Alignment with the Vision.

As each Sprint completes, a Sprint Review Meeting is held. The participants should be the same people who were involved in compiling the Product Vision. The outcome of the Meeting must be consensus that the outputs of the Sprint are still lined up with the Product Vision. This is the Responsibility of the Product Owner and the Review is a Demonstration of what has been Delivered within this Sprint. This is also an appropriate time to call for any Changes before the next Sprint starts. These Changes should be applied to the Vision Board and discussed and understood by the Team during the Planning Meeting for the next Sprint. The Innovation Team need to likewise Reverse-Engineer their Conceptual Model based on any agreed Changes, so that the Product Revision is accurately Reflected. The Scrum Team ensure alignment of the product deliverables throughout the sprint through the Daily Standup meetings.

It is very difficult to accomplish excellence in any Product Development. Keeping the initial Vision in mind by having a Visible Representation of it and applying any Changes to it as Product Knowledge Develops should at least result in a Product that meets most or all of the Expectations of the Customers.

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