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What is the Product Vision and how can it be used for optimising product value? The introduction of a new Product may begin from several sources in an Organization. The Development, of the Product or an Application that supports the Product will be conducted in a Project. We are going to discuss how effective execution is achieved with a Clear and Concise Product Vision. In addition we shall discuss how to Create and Expand upon this Product Vision.

Frequently Development Teams do not offer sufficient attention to the Product Vision. This can result in a Delivery that is skewed and at variance with Customer Expectations. When it comes to the Detailed Design and Build of the Product, Changes may be Required to Deliver a Viable Product. To avoid surprises, the people who came up with the Concept must be kept informed by the Development Team. There are several ways of doing this within the Agile Project.

Product Design.

Many descriptions of Scrum suggest that the Product Design starts in the Scrum: this is highly unlikely. It is also Risky; if the Product Vision is only realised at this stage, it will be difficult to align it with Customer Expectations. In an Organisation that has a Mature Innovation Process, adequate Work should have been Done to Envision the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) prior to the Project beginning. The Development of the Product will expose changes that are required to be made to the original Concept. Examples could be a Security Feature to avoid cyber attacks. Or an error condition that needs to be Managed to avoid an application Failure.

Beginning the Product Journey: Ideation.

The start of the Product Journey will always begin outside the Agile Project. If the entire Product is to be Developed by the Scrum Team (Scrum Master, Product Owner and Development Team), they will be provided with a Conceptualisation of the Product. This might be in various formats, varying from a Blueprint to an exhaustive description of the Product. Where the Company progresses to become an Agile Organisation, they may Provide a Product Vision Board. The Vision Board is created be the Scrum Team themselves. If a Vision Board is supplied by the Concept Team, the Scrum Team can utilize it. The Scrum Team can then fine-tune and enhance it as they Develop the Product.

The Value Proposition Canvas.

The Ideation Team have Conceptualized 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. Either Model has the information you Require for your Agile Product Vision.

The right-hand side of the canvas explains the Customer, his Pain Points and his Motivations for acquiring the Product (“Gains”). The left-hand side has the Product Description, with what it provides to eliminate the Pain Points. It also includes Additional Value-Adds (the “Gain Creators”).

The Product Vision Board: a Visual Representation of the Product.

Roman Pichler has created a Template for the Vision Board, specifically for use in Agile 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 create Personas for the Product, their names could be noted here, and their biographies must 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 likewise 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 ought to have the ability to choose this information up from the Benefits Register. From this, the anticipated ROI (Return on Investment) is quantified. For example, the brand-new Product is expected to draw in 10% more new Customers. Or 30% of existing Customers will use the new Product.

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Mapping the Vision

The Mapping of the Product Vision ought to be a joint endeavour. This joint endeavour is between the Scrum Team and the Stakeholders from business. This group will help clarify the Vision, and would include the Ideators of the Product, and Subject Matter Experts. The Product Owner will be a Valuable source of information. They will be building and Prioritising the Product Backlog based upon the Product Vision.

Equating the Product Vision into the Backlog.

The Product Vision has enough detail about the Product. The Features it contains enable the Product Owner to start outlining some draft User Stories. These would be Epic Stories, which are overviews used to stitch the in-depth User Stories together. In order to craft the Epics effectively, it is necessary to understand the Customers for the Product and their needs. These are described on the Vision Board. This could be done by Interviewing Customers and Focus Groups, along with Defining Personas.

The Product Owner will Manage the Backlog and Prioritise User Stories as they are added to it, together with any Artefacts that augment or complement the User Story. It should be possible to Trace every User Story back to the Vision Board via the Epic, to ensure efficiency.

Ensuring Alignment with the Product Vision.

As each Sprint completes, a Sprint Review Meeting is held. The participants must be the same individuals who were included in assembling the Product Vision.

The outcome of the Meeting should be consensus that the outputs of the Sprint are still aligned with the Product Vision. This has been the Responsibility of the Product Owner and the Review is a Demonstration of what has been Delivered by 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 should also Reverse-Engineer their Conceptual Model based on any agreed Changes, so that the Product Revision is accurately Reflected.

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It is very hard to achieve perfection in any Product Development. Keeping the original 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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