What is a Product Vision Statement? Guide, Examples, and Template
Making a product roadmap? Establishing your vision for the product is your first step.
Here’s what a product vision is, why it matters, and how to make one. (Oh, and we’ve included a template, too.)
Product vision: TL;DR
Product visions are the overarching goal a product team hopes to achieve, providing a clear direction and purpose—it’s the why behind the product.
The product vision is often encapsulated in a concise, inspiring statement. It should be brief yet vivid, painting a clear picture of what success looks like for the product.
Product visions inspire and motivate the team by articulating a compelling future state. They work as a guiding north star that drives decision-making and aligns efforts.
A well-defined product vision fosters alignment across teams, aids in strategic decision-making, encourages innovation, and provides a framework for prioritizing features.
What is a product vision?
A product vision is the why of your product—the reason it exists. Its purpose is to guide and align all the teams that are needed to make the product a success.
A product vision statement should describe the long-term goal or objective that you’re looking to achieve with a product. It should specify what the product should be in the future and how it will meet the needs of its users.
Product vision statement examples
Here are some compelling product statements (I borrowed these from Lisa Zane’s fantastic article on product visions):
Uber: “Tap a button, get a ride”
Shopify: “Make it easy for anyone to create a beautiful and powerful online store”
Apple iPod: “1000 songs in your pocket”
Note that some of the above product visions are also company visions. That’s fine as long as the company has a single product. But different products, or portfolios of products, should have different product visions.
Product vision vs. product roadmap
Product visions aren’t product roadmaps.
A roadmap is a tactical plan that outlines the steps and milestones required to achieve the product vision. It is usually detailed, outlining the features, functionality, and deliverables, as well as the time frames and resources needed to complete them. A product roadmap helps teams align on priorities, communicate progress, and adjust course as needed.
In other words: the vision is high-level, longer-term, and general. The roadmap is more detailed, shorter-term, and specific.
Product vision vs. product strategy
Product visions are also distinct from product strategies.
The product vision is your long-term, aspirational goal for the product. It describes the future state of the product and how it will benefit users and the company in a broader context.
The product strategy is the how—a high-level, rough approach plan of how to accomplish that goal. It includes things like:
The specific needs your product will address
The market or segment that will use the product
The key features and its unique selling proposition
Business goals and benefits of the product to your company (like revenue targets or developing the brand).
Here’s a useful visual from Christian Strunk on how the product vision fits with the product strategy and roadmap:
Product visions are the foundation for your other planning documents—strategy, roadmap, backlog, and execution. Source.
Product vision vs. release plan
A product vision and a release plan are two different components of product management, serving distinct purposes.
A product vision is the overarching, long-term goal for a product. It serves as the guiding light for what the product is intended to become and what it aims to achieve in the future.
A release plan, on the other hand, is a very detailed tactical document that outlines the timeline for when a product or a specific set of features will be delivered. Release plans contain detailed information about the development, testing, and delivery of product increments. They help teams coordinate efforts, track progress, and communicate expectations to stakeholders about when new features or updates will be available.
While a product vision defines "why" and "what" you're aiming for in the long run, a release plan outlines "when" and "how" you will deliver specific features or increments in the short to mid-term. They operate at different levels but are both essential parts of successful product management.
Why have a product vision?
A product vision is crucial for several reasons:
Strategic direction. A product vision sets the overall direction for the product. It outlines the long-term goal and serves as a guide for decision-making, helping to ensure that all product efforts are consistent with this direction.
Inspiration and motivation. The vision serves as a source of inspiration and motivation for the product team and other stakeholders. It describes a compelling future state that the team strives to realize.
Alignment. It helps align different functions and roles within the organization—engineering, marketing, sales, customer support, and so on, towards a common goal. This alignment improves cooperation and efficiency.
Prioritization. The product vision provides a framework for prioritizing roadmap features and initiatives. It helps in deciding what to build, what not to build, and in what order.
By providing a shared understanding of what the product aspires to be, a product vision plays a key role in successful product management. It's not just about setting a goal, but about inspiring, aligning, guiding, and measuring the journey towards that goal.
How to create a product vision
Your statement should describe the ultimate purpose of a product. Aim to have it meet these 5 criteria (proposed and described in much more detail by Roman Pilcher):
Inspiring. The vision statement should help guide and motivate all the teams working on the product.
Shared. The vision should be written with input from all relevant teams; it should unite them.
Concise. A good vision statement is easy to understand and remember.
Ambitious. It should reflect an audacious and important goal.
Enduring. Product visions should remain relatively stable even over many years.
Product vision statement template
Looking to produce a product vision template? We like this one:
[Product] is for [Target Customer] who [Statement of need or opportunity]. The [Product Name] is a [Product Category] that [Key Benefit, Reason to Buy]. Unlike [Competitor], our product [Statement of primary differentiation].
A product vision statement template.
Example: Here’s a worked example of the vision statement for Savio.
Savio is for product managers and product teams who need to keep track of customer feature requests and build product roadmaps from them. Savio is a product management tool that easily collects and organizes feature requests. Unlike other tracking tools and feature voting boards, our product can slice and dice your feedback data so you can prioritize the highest-impact features.
Kareem is a co-founder at Savio. He's been prioritizing customer feedback professionally since 2001. He likes tea and tea snacks, and dislikes refraining from eating lots of tea snacks.
Make product plans with evidence, not anecdote
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