What did I learn about product vision from Radhika Dutt?

Traits of a good vision

Conventional wisdom says that a vision must be aspirational and big enough.

  • It is centered on the problem you want to see solved in the world.
  • It is a tangible end state you can visualize.
  • It is meaningful to you and the people you intend to impact.

Center Your Vision on the Problem You Want to Solve

One sign of a good vision is that even if you were to take yourself and your organization out of the picture, you would still want the problem to be solved.

Visualize the End State You Want to Bring About

When you’re creating change, you’re creating something that doesn’t exist today.

Galvanize Both Your Team and Your Customers

Often the sole focus of a vision statement is to create internal alignment. In reality, however, while your vision acts as a guide for your team, it will also form the foundation of your external messaging.

Crafting Your Product Vision

Even when you know the characteristics of a good vision, it’s counter- productive to start with a blank sheet of paper.

WHAT YOUR VISION STATEMENT MUST ANSWER

The Radical Vision Statement is designed to align teams on the who, what, why, when, and how. To craft your vision using the Mad Libs statement, you may find it helpful to think through the following questions:

  1. Whose world are you trying to change? Who are the people who have the problem you’re inspired to solve?
  2. What does their world look like today? What are they trying to accomplish and how are they doing it today?
  3. Why is the status quo unacceptable? (Keep in mind that maybe it’s not.)
  4. When will you know that you’ve achieved your vision?
  5. How will you bring about this change?

1. Whose World Are You Trying to Change?

The who question helps you identify the group of people you intend to impact. Your answer should be as specific as possible. For example, it cannot be as broad as “consumers” or “businesses.” It must be a group distinguishable from others so you can identify their problem specifically.

  1. Consumers who want to buy goods and
  2. Merchants who want to sell their wares.

2. What Does Their World Look Like Today?

Put yourself in the shoes of the people you want to help and ask, “What is the problem they face today?

3. Why Is the Status Quo Unacceptable?

The next question gets to the why of your vision. You’ve articulated the problem, but why is it imperative that it be solved? What are the consequences if it’s not solved?

Spreading Your Vision

To make sure that your vision gets translated into tactical activities, you need your vision to spread across your team and organization. Lijjat built its reputation to be synonymous with quality, even though its 45,000 member sisters manufacture products at home. The oppor- tunity for discrepancies in quality is enormous. For Lijjat to deliver on the promise of high quality, the vision had to be deeply internalized by the 45,000 member sisters.

Workshop:

To do this in a group exercise:

  1. Write the fill-in-the-blanks vision statement on a white board.
  2. Have each person answer the who, what, why, when, and how questions on sticky notes and place the notes in the blanks.
  3. Go around the room and share your answers and discuss similarities and differences with the goal of crafting a version that you agree on as a team.
  4. In a facilitated session, writing such a vision takes only one to two hours — but the time it saves in the long term by aligning the team on the details is immeasurable.

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Ravi Kumar.

Ravi Kumar.

Building nextgen real estate platform at PriceHubble & podcaster at productlessons.com. I blog about products, business around products, and growth strategies.