An agile approach to defining your product vision!

‘What is your team working on?’

Of course, you’ve heard this question many times before and probably your answer will slightly differ from your teammates’. But, with the help of two agile team-building activities, you can eliminate such a difference and reach an alignment with your teammates on a description for your team and product. Those activities are ‘Collaborative Product Vision‘ and ‘Defining the Team Vision Statement.’

In this post, I will only be covering the product vision activity.

How to run the activity?

Here is the template of the product vision:

FOR (1. target customer)
WHO (2. statement of the need or opportunity)
THE (3. product name) IS A (4. product category)
THAT (5. key benefit, compelling reason to buy)
UNLIKE (6. primary competitive alternative)
OUR PRODUCT (7. statement of primary differentiation)

Here are the steps to simulate the activity:

  1. Write the statement on a board for all to see.
  2. Split your team into groups of two or three
  3. Give the groups 5-10 minutes to fill in the seven blanks
  4. Ask each group to present and explain (if needed) the vision they came up with
  5. For each blank, ask the team members to individually vote for their favorite replacement
  6. Replace each blank with the phrase of highest votes
  7. Read the new statement out loud
  8. With the team apply some changes if needed

The Benefits

I am writing this blog because I think this is a nice activity for any team! So far, I have played it with three different teams, existing and newly established ones.

Here are some benefits of playing this activity:

  1. Good activity for team bonding especially new ones
  2. Aligns all team members on one vision of the product they are building
  3. Aligns all team members on what is considered as in and out of scope of the product
  4. Helps teams in identifying their main competitors
  5. Highlights the major difference between the product and its competitors
  6. A short but meaningful description of the product for upper management, visitors, and newcomers

Example

FOR Outlook Users 
WHO want to keep track of time spent in meetings
THE MeetingReporter IS An outlook-addin
THAT generates time reports from the calendar 
UNLIKE existing tools where you have to manually insert time spent
OUR PRODUCT will parse the calendar and automatically generate different reports based on meeting category

Above is an example!

It is the vision of the tool I am writing on my free time! From this short statement and without any further explanation, anyone should understand purpose and major feature of this tool!

Finally

Some people consider such activities as a waste of time. Obviously, I disagree! This is an occasional activity that takes between 15 to 20 minutes depending on the team’s size. Thus, it is an excellent candidate for the first activity of the team’s retrospective!

I encourage teams to try it. For those who do, I am pretty sure you will be posting the outcome on your team’s home page, just as we did!

Resources:
  1. Fun Retrospectives
  2. Collaborative Product Vision
  3. Defining the Team Vision Statement

Author: Ahmad Atwi

Ahmad Atwi is a Software Developer at Murex Systems, which he joined in 2009. Overall he has ten years of experience. Currently, he is a member of an agile team distributed between Paris and Beirut developing a real-time risk engine. He is an active member of the agile community at Murex and the animator of the CodingDojo sessions and meetups at the Beirut office. At the beginning of this year, he started his blog aiming to share his experience with the other developers. He spends most of his free time reading/listening to books or learning and enhancing his technical skills. On a personal level, he is squash player and a licensed scuba diver. ​

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