When or how often should you change your product vision?

When or how often should you change your product vision?

In order to understand the answer to that question, let’s take a look at what makes a product vision a great product vision:

  • Our vision should describe a product that serves a specific market - otherwise, it wouldn’t generate any value. In other words, we see a Product/Market fit that we want to exploit.
  • It’s not only the goal that matters, but also how likely it is that we get there. Different aspects such as time, money or the availability of people with the right skill set have an influence on the product vision. Simply put, an overly ambitious product vision paired with next to no resources is not a good one.

A Product Vision should at least change when one of these two items change. It’s not uncommon that the resourcing or budgeting situation in a company changes - a product gets into or out of focus of the company, which is accompanied by more or less time and money that can be invested into it. Whenever that happens, the vision needs to be updated to reflect this new reality.

Likewise, if we no longer believe in our Product/Market fit, or if we decide to pursue a different, more promising market, our vision needs to be updated as well.

However, we should not wait for either of these two aspects to happen before updating the vision. Instead, we should proactively order and prioritize our backlogs in a way that quickly generates learnings around our product vision. The idea of pursuing a product/market fit is obviously based on the assumption that a market for that product actually exists - but if, in reality, the market is just not there, or not as big as we assumed, we want to learn this as early as possible, to avoid wasting time for something that will ultimately never generate any value.

In practice, this usually means that our product vision changes gradually over time, as we learn more and more about the product and market we are moving in.

This post is part of the Product Owner Q&A series.