Setting a Vision
Tami Reiss is the founder of The Product Leader Coach where she works with product leaders and teams to realize their potential by focusing on their strengths.
The job of a product leader is to provide the vision, the goals, and the guardrails. As you kick off your annual planning process, you need to get alignment around what’s your most important thing: your north star. As a leader, make sure that everybody is working toward that specific objective. Without that, you will see your teams going in motion, but not going toward the targets you desire.
How do you get there? You share your vision through a strategy deployment framework. You need to have your strategic intents. Define your business challenges and then break them down into protocols: product initiatives. Thanks to the alignment you created, the team can properly evaluate which options are best to help reach the goals set for their portion of your portfolio.
A good company vision will:
- Be connected with the company mission and values
- Is clear, concise, and easily remembered
- Allows mid-level leaders to know how their team can contribute to achieving the goal
You’ll know you have successfully imparted the vision when individual product managers and engineering leads have internalized enough to identify which activities they were planning do not advance towards desired outcomes. Good product strategy is more about what you choose not to do than what you agree to.
This larger company or portfolio vision should translate down to individual product visions. If you worked at Adobe, you’d be able to formulate how your product would fit into their company vision “To move the web forward and give web designers and developers the best tools and services in the world.” Ben Foster emphasizes that the product level vision should focus on the customer journey at the product level and should include:
- Problem Statement + Target Market
- Customer Outcomes + Success Metrics
- User Journey + Gap Analysis
- Differentiation + Design Principles
- Growth + Monetization Plans
As a product leader you help your team be maniacally focused on the desired outcomes and the initiatives which will get you to your north star. If you spread your efforts too thin, it is like placing bets on all of the numbers in roulette. You are sure to win, but your ROI is near zero.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll go over how to help your team collect ideas and data to evaluate the options available to see if they align with your vision. This week, focus on creating it.
Some things to think about as you set your vision and strategic intents:
- How much of the market available to you have you already captured? Do you want to get a bigger slice or find another pie?
- How well protected is your core business? Do you need to build a moat of differentiation around your castle?
- How easy is it to sell your product? Is the value clear enough that it could sell itself?
- How long do customers stay with you? Is your product sticky enough?
When crafting your company or portfolio vision, collaborate with your CEO, CRO, head of Client Success and others to make sure you consolidate their different perspectives into a singular objective for the whole organization. Ensure that every team can easily answer what their vision and objectives should be. If everyone can answer “where will be at the end of next year?” and “how are you going to help make that happen?”, your vision work is done.
Hi! I’m Tami, the founder of The Product Leader Coach where I work with product leaders and teams to realize their potential by focusing on their strengths.