Do you have a good product vision? Here’s a thread on how to create an effective product vision

A good vision can be about extension, expansion, or exploration. Pick choose your type of vision depending on the context, time, and resources available. – Vivek Kumar

Not all product visions need to be similar to that of building a metaverse. I rarely come across a good product vision. Here is a thread on how to create an effective product vision. I outline an approach that provides a framework to think about the vision.
‘Extension’ is about making the next best version of your product. Trip Advisors’ vision of ‘Trip Planning’ is an extension of its existing marketplace model
‘Expansion’ is about moving into an adjacent area driven by a compelling insight. Youtube moving into Youtube Music was a great move in that order. Instagram pivoting into a video-based platform.
‘Exploration’is being an adventurer. Betting on a future that is unknown with a lot of open questions is an example of exploration. Facebook building metaverse is an example.
When creating a vision, focus on guardrails to ensure you are on the right path. Guardrail #1: The vision should be customer-focused. In the book Build What Matters, there is great dealing around the creation of a customer-focused product vision.
Guardrail #2: Provides a distinctive advantage over the competition and if you march towards it, builds a strategic muscle with a moat.
Guardrail #3: Should pass the inspire test with the newest junior product persons (if its simple enough for someone to understand even if they are new) and the oldest engineering folks in the block (to check the extent of feasibility).
Guardrail #4: It delivers a clear business outcome and answers the question of ‘so what?’ for the business.
Guardrail #5: Can be measurable in a clear way. Most vision statements are abstract. The vision of Turbo Tax is ‘Taxes are done.’ The vision is to aim to reduce the current time spent on doing taxes from 4 hrs to 15 mins.
Guardrail #6: If the product appeals to multiple markets, then ensure that vision covers all the markets in focus. In a multi-sided marketplace, it is important to focus on ‘paying customers.
Visualization Test: Check if it passes the visualization test. When the vision is narrated if the vision cannot be visualized then it needs to be refined there.
Creating a vision is a muscle that one needs to build right from the junior level of being a product person. This is not something one acquires as soon as one reaches the echelons in the org hierarchy.
Extend, Expand and Explore depends on the time, resource and context.
‘Exploratory vision’ is tiring and takes a lot of effort. However, this is for the dreamers who are creating a new category or reinventing the world. Pursue if you have the time, energy, and resource to back it up. Its a game of resilience
‘Extend’ could be great once you arrive at a place after your exploration. Provides a breathing space. Best when the team is burnt after years of building the exploratory vision. It’s a game of optimization and organization.
‘Expansion’ is if you are in extend mode for quite some time and are now need to do a step rate change gearing before the next ‘exploratory’ vision. It’s a game of leverage of your existing assets or capabilities.

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