“If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.” Steve Jobs
The above quote is exactly what is required for a product development. VISION. That leads to a successful product in the market. It is required to keep moving forward and to validate the direction towards product’s goal. Being able to visualize what a new product or the next product version should look like is an important step which should not be ignored.
Usually companies perform extensive market research, product planning and business analysis activities resulting in a product concept. On the other hand, some companies directly jump to first phase of development without even understanding the value that the product would deliver and what are the needs of the customers who would be using it. Neither of these approaches is desirable. The first one ignores change and assumes that needs of a customer can be correctly predicted rather than viewing it as a vague, ambiguous set of requirements, which are common in software development. And the latter leaves the team without any goal or target to achieve, making it impossible to understand what is required for a successful product.
To overcome this problem, scrum follows the concept of product vision which talks about how the product would look like and what will it do. Every Scrum project needs a product vision that sets the direction. An effective product vision guides the Scrum team and aligns its stakeholders and customers.
This vision acts as a mechanism that binds complete team to understand the value a product brings along. The product vision paints a picture of the future that help people understand basic existence of the product. It describes who the customers are, what customers need, how these needs will be met and the information to develop and launch a successful product.
A strong vision should be able to answer following questions:
- Who is going to buy the product? Who is the target customer? Who is going to use the product? Who are its target users?
- What value does the product add?
- Which attributes are critical for success of the product? What will the product roughly look like and what will it do?
- What are the product’s unique selling points?
- What are the sources of revenue and what is the business model of the product?
Product roadmap tool should be used to capture the goals for the upcoming product versions once the first version of the product is successfully launched.
To minimize the efforts, focus should always be on the next product version, and product with minimum functionality should be envisioned that completes next set of needs for the customer.
Vision can be validated by quickly releasing a first product increment and giving demo to the customer. Feedback should always be welcomed with each increment.This helps ensuring that the development team is moving towards the correct goal. Once feedback is learnt, changes can be incorporated in the next increment. This becomes easy as adaptability and accepting the change is backbone of scrum.