A Sample Vision BoardTowards the end of 2012, I was exploring the idea of creating a software-based version of my Product Canvas tool that integrates seamlessly with JIRA and GreenHopper. To get started, I created the Vision Board shown below. The Vision Board captures my assumptions about the users and the customers of the new tool, the needs the product should address, the key product features, and the value the product should create for my own business, Pichler Consulting. (I explain the sections of the board in more detail below.) As you may have noticed, I have kept the information on the board concise and coarse-grained. I did not, for instance, write personas and user stories, or create a design sketch. There are two reasons for this: First, I did not know enough about the users and customers at the outset to write personas and to describe the product in more detail. Second, I find that more information is best captured by other tools: the Product Canvas or the product backlog, and the Business Model Canvas. The board proved very valuable for me: It helped me think through my idea, and it allowed me to share my thoughts with my team, and with our development partner. Additionally, the vision board helped me investigate the greatest risks by testing my assumptions, as I explain below. I now use the Vision Board for any new idea be it writing a new book, creating a new brochure, or updating a training course, and I help my clients apply the board.
the tools section of my website or by simply clicking on the picture below. Vision is a concise summary of your idea that describes your intention and motivation. I also find it helpful to limit the vision statement to two sentences. You can find out more about formulating an effective vision in my post 8 Tips for Creating A Compelling Product Vision. Target Group describes the market or market segment you want to address. You should state who the product is likely to benefit, who its users and its customers are. Needs describes the product's value proposition: the main problem the product addresses or the primary benefit it offers. The section should make it clear why people will want to use or pay for your product. Product summarises the three to five features of your product that make it stand out and that are critical for its success. These are likely to correlate to its unique selling proposition, and they should address the needs identified. Don’t make the mistake of listing lots of features. Stick to a maximum of five. Capture the product details at a later stage in your Product Canvas or product backlog. The section Business Goals explains why it’s worthwhile for your company to invest in the product. It states the desired business benefits, for instance, increase revenue, enter a new market, reduce cost, develop the brand, or acquire valuable knowledge. The latter can be just as valuable as the former: When Toyota shipped the Prius in 1997, for instance, the car was not earning any money. But it immediately developed its brand (“green car company”), and had gained an advantage in hybrid technology. Prioritise the business goals to create focus and state targets. Otherwise, it's hard to measure the product performance and apply the right key performance indicators (KPIs). There are, of course, other tools available that help you capture your ideas including Ash Maurya's Lean Canvas and Alexander Osterwalder's Business Model Canvas. I may be biased but I really like the simplicity of the Product Vision Board: I find it always beneficial to consider the target group, needs, key features and business goals when exploring an idea. Filling in all the boxes on the Lean and the Business Model Canvas is often but not always helpful. But you can happily use the Vision Board as a stepping stone towards creating the Lean or Business Model Canvas.
Physical or Electronic?As its name suggests, the Product Vision Board is intended to be an analogue artefact that is kept on the office wall. A physical Board makes the vision and strategy visible and easily accessible. I find physical boards more fun and effective particularly when the strategy has not been validated yet: You can stand in front of it, review and discuss its contents, and identify risks and assumptions together as a team – assuming that you are collocated. You can download the Product Vision Board template from my website and print it out on a large sheet of paper; or create your own board on the office wall or on a whiteboard using masking tape. Paper cards and adhesive notes are great to capture the board contents. This makes it easy to change the information and to support teamwork: Everybody can write a note or paper card to capture an idea and add it to the board. Once the Vision Board has been validated and is stable, you can simply take a picture and post it on your wiki, or recreate it in an electronic tool.
You can learn more about working the Product Vision Board with the following: