A lot of the time, product strategy and product vision and roadmap, get intertwined and to become a successful product manager in a company and train your team, it is important to understand these concepts. Company/product vision describes the future that the organization is trying to create 3-4 years down the line. For instance, the product vision of Linkedin is to create economic opportunities for every professional. Every activity planned by the organization would aim at taking them towards their goal and not deviate from it. Market research, surveys, competitor analysis, etc. are crucial steps towards building a good product vision and roadmap.
It is a sequence of products planned to deliver on the path to realize the vision. It is defining product/market fits for various verticals, customer locations, customer personas, etc. that will get you there.
For example, Salesforce by itself is one product but its strategy is different when they are targeting startups vs when they are targeting finance companies or medical companies. The requirement of each and every vertical varies and the product strategy has to be targeted accordingly. Customer locations are of utmost importance and the team is guided accordingly. For instance, the strategy of the sales team in a certain location would be different from the marketing team of a different location.
A common question that companies try to answer is the personal responsibility for defining the product vision. This has to be a collective effort by the entire team requiring multiple brainstorming sessions.
A product roadmap communicates the why and what behind what you’re building. A roadmap is a guiding strategic document as well as a plan for executing the product strategy. It is a high-level visual summary that maps out the vision and direction of the product offering over time. This is tactical, day to day activities you will perform on the micro-level. It is the action plan according to the product strategy.
For example, for a fashion designing company, one needs to make key decisions on the kind of freelancers to be hired, the kind of tools to be purchased, the kind of marketing templates to be downloaded for the projects. All this needs to be jotted step by step so as to achieve the product vision.
– Describe the product strategy and vision.
– Provide a guiding document for executing strategy.
– Get the stakeholders in alignment.
– Facilitate discussion of options and scenario planning.
– Help communicate with external stakeholders including customers.
The roadmap should include the following –
It is important to create it according to the viewers.
1. Executive Roadmap: It should be created in a way that executes business outcomes. It must revolve around customer satisfaction, driving growth, new market penetration, and churn.
2. Engineering Roadmap: An engineering roadmap would be much more granular in scope. It has to be formulated in a transparent way. It must have release dates, features, sprints, and milestones.
3. Sales Roadmap: This is used by the sales team primarily for communication and therefore the release dates are to be excluded from the plan. It should communicate benefits.
4. External Roadmap: This one should be as visual as possible and shared with the clients.
Product Vision, Product Strategy & Product Roadmaps are critical steps that help you define where the company and product want to be on Marco level and which activities you need to perform on the Micro level to get there. Defining product vision vis-à-vis the strategic approach is an important component of the whole process. Product vision statements is a critical component of any great strategic plan because strategic plans are about creating a different future. That future is articulated in your vision statement. The checklist that would define the desirable qualities of a product vision must be of the following:
The journey towards creating a product involves a strategic approach and requires to seek answers to these questions –
The first step is to listen and understand the pain points and requirements of your customers. It is important for the target market to be defined and the market research is conducted accordingly. The insights can be helpful to study the kind of market you are catering to. Try to find answers to the following questions:
Some other important concepts that are part of designing product strategy include product positioning, product differentiation, product pricing, persona designing, enterprise transformation, and customer experience.
A product vision helps develop a better product roadmap allowing the team to adopt a top-down approach in developing the product. The statement acts as a blueprint for the team to implement the product roadmap. It not just improves strategic decision making but also aligns the team and stakeholders across the organization. Listening, distilling, unifying, and documenting helps in setting up a strategy, prioritize work, track performance, and create visual roadmaps against your vision.
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