Many product problems come from a lack of vision. Let’s talk about vision and mission statements.
Let’s talk about how to set them and see some popular examples so you can better understand the value here.
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Hey folks, Sean here and today what I want to talk
to you about is how to realize your product vision.
So more recently, I’ve been working with a few clients
and helping them realize a vision for their product.
Now there’s a number of variables here.
There’s vision statements, there’s mission statements.
I want to talk about subtle difference
between the two of those and those
can be set at the organization level.
They can also be set for your product.
Now the way I typically like to see it
done is setting the vision statement for for the
organization and a mission statement for the product.
And I like the two to support one
another, as in if you are making progress
towards the mission for your product, that should
support the vision for your organization.
That’s the way I like to see them connected.
I think they’re really important for keeping your team on
the same page about what you should be doing and
how you should be making the world a better place
with what it is essentially the purpose that you’ve set
for your product and then the vision for your organization.
Now this isn’t always set and when I run into
some issues with the clients that I help building and
scaling product companies, I end up finding that this is
one of the problems that I run into fairly consistently,
as in the vision is somewhat unclear.
There’s also some confusion back and forth between what
is the vision of the organization versus what is
the mission of the product or vice versa.
So I want to talk about some examples of those
and then how you should leverage each when you’re going
about making positive change at your product organization.
To help with my research on this topic,
I’ve had a number of conversations with Chat
GPT, which has been very helpful.
I’ve incorporating that more and more into my routine
and I’d encourage you to do the same.
But as part of that, I started focusing on
some of the largest, more popular organizations out there
that are relatively well known, like Google and Microsoft.
And I started researching both their vision mission
statements for both the organization and their products.
As such, I want to describe kind of each
for you as an example which would help you
figure out what yours should be for your product.
And then I want to talk about how you should
ultimately realize progress towards them because it’s not just important
to have them, it’s important to understand how to leverage
them and how to realize them and when they should
come into play when you’re going about trying to improve
your product and succeed at your organization.
So when I looked up for Google how it
would define essentially Google’s vision statement, the example that
I came back with is create a world where
every person has access to the information and the
opportunities they need to succeed.
So that’s the vision statement and if you realize
from that example, it’s a pretty lofty goal, right?
And it’s one that isn’t
necessarily all that obtainable.
Like we might want to cure world hunger
or end homelessness or something like that.
These are characteristics, I would say, of a solid vision
statement as and it may not be something that is
easily achievable, but it is a lofty but a monumental
goal if it’s something that you can achieve.
So it’s a future state that you
want to desire to make progress towards.
I know Lexus at one point had
the passionate pursuit of perfection, right?
So if you think about that or you’re breaking that one
down, lexus may be desiring to build the perfect car.
Are they ever going to build a perfect car?
How would we even know someone
had built a perfect car, right?
But I like the idea and the
concept of that being the goal, right?
If you’re trying to achieve or you have the
passion pursuit of perfection in mind at all times
in the work that you do, then that means
that if you come anywhere near that, you’re probably
going to produce some pretty impressive results.
Now that’s the vision statement.
Now again, I recommend a vision statement being set
largely at the organization level and I think the
members of your organization should understand what that is
and then be willing to support it.
It should be something that makes sense and much of
the work, if not all of the work that you
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do at your organization to support progress towards that vision.
So at the same time, I wanted to dive
a little bit deeper and specifically talk about an
example of what might be a mission statement.
But mission statement I would recommend kind
of being set at that product level.
So not necessarily the organization, but again at the
product and then the product in particular I’m going
to share with you, since I shared that as
a vision statement is Google Search.
So from the search engine, the mission I would
say for the Google search product, as I found
in the research that I did, is to provide
the most relevant and useful information to users.
There are different variations of that but you
kind of get the idea there, right?
And what I find particularly helpful about
the mission statement set at a particular
product level is it more specific to
what you’re doing and managing that product.
And if you are continuously making
that product better, it should enable
you to continuously fulfill that mission.
As in, you know, at a static point
in time, you may currently have the best
product that’s capable of doing that.
But as technology evolves, as things in the
market change, as more products become available, you
will need to continuously be making progress in
order to be realizing and fulfilling that mission,
right, to support that grander vision.
Now that’s some examples of each.
What I want to talk to you about as well
too, is how to leverage these in the work that
you’re doing with your team on a daily basis, how
that can help clear up confusion and what it looks
like when you’re able to achieve those results.
So having a vision and mission statement for both
your organization and your product will be critical for
ensuring that your team remains on the same page
as you’re, trying to make your product better and
enable your organization to become more successful.
If you don’t have those, you’re likely to introduce
additional confusion into what it is you’re doing on
a daily basis and the progress that you’re trying
to build towards in the long term.
So if you haven’t set these, set
them, but set them as a team.
It should be a collaborative effort because you want
to ensure that your team can get inspired and
get behind both of these concepts as well too.
If you have set them, reevaluate them and make
sure that your team understands and believes in them.
Because if they don’t, it’s going
to introduce additional confusion, right?
Just because you’ve set a vision or mission
statement doesn’t mean that your team has acknowledged
the fact that that is valid and legitimate
in terms of what your organization is actually
doing and what your product actually is.
Without these, a lot of
that confusion can be introduced.
That’s what it looks like.
When you don’t have them and you don’t
have consistency of agreement amongst what you’ve set
them at, that can really lead to a
ton of problems in trying to make progress
for your product and ultimately your organization.
Now, when you have set these and it is
working, what you will see is you will see
an operation that works very well together.
As in, there isn’t a ton of confusion.
There isn’t confusion around role clarity.
Who’s doing what.
Everyone knows their role.
They’re supporting the larger effort.
They’re supporting each other’s, team members.
And we’re all making progress collectively as such with
some of the clients that I’ve worked with before
who either haven’t had these or they have had
them, but they have not been particularly well aligned.
That’s one of the things that I help them with.
I help get those back aligned with what
they should be so that the team can
be inspired by them, rally around them, and
then we could start making progress towards them.
So if you haven’t invested in this as an
exercise as a team, it’s certainly well worth it.
It might just clear up any of the confusion
that you may be having from anywhere from the
product development process to user research to customer discovery.
It’s going to help you with all of that because the
mission and the vision should be clear for your team.