You've Got Nothing without a Vision

So you have a cool idea for a product that solves some problem or answers a need...Now what?  How does this become more than an idea and transform into a tangible solution?  Well, certainly a complex question, and one which I'll surely riff on future posts, but for now I'd like to state some possibly pretty obvious stuff, but surely not to be taken for granted.  Great solutions must be made visible, colored in and communicated in order to have any shot of being born and released into the wild...to grow legs, as they say in the business.

As a Product Owner, every decision i make is rooted in and must be directed toward realizing our vision

The product vision is the single most important aspect for any product build, describing an end state, which many times, is the answer to a need or opportunity, and if related to an organization, accomplishes some business value.  With that said, it's the glue that binds your team, setting the ultimate direction pointing everyone to a common goal.  It aligns anyone who has any interest in the project (I just didn't want to say "stakeholders") on what to expect as a solution.  Importantly, the product vision should INSPIRE and EXCITE!   

Let's make this real...let's get REAL:  Some common experiences Supporting the uses of the product vision...

...You see a serious opportunity to capitalize on a business opportunity but you need funding to put together a team to develop it out. You have investors/supporters (in the traditional sense or anyone you're looking to provide some sort of essential support) who you need support from...your product vision sells your idea.  It should inspire your audience to action.

...You have the distinct and very common pleasure of having a complex dispersed product team.  These folks could be in different regions across the world and some of them may even be brought on as third party vendors.  Your product vision pulls all of these folks together and aligns everyone's focus on what the end goals are.  Your vision should be clear, exciting and inspire your team to come up with creative and interesting ways to achieve the vision.

...You are developing out a system in a classic scrum-style build.  Development of the product tends to get extremely granular...the vision is broken down into backlogs which are further decomposed into actionable tasks.  It's very easy for people to lose sight of the ultimate goal at times when focusing on a task abstracted many levels away from the ultimate product value.  Teams make countless product decisions each day -  As a product owner, use the product vision as a "decision filter" and ensure that the vision is always visible and checked often.

It's absolutely critical to set the product vision early (this means before development and even before teams are set) and check often.  My teams only spend effort if it ultimately contributes to realizing our vision.