Lesson 02: The Product Vision
So, you’re going to start a new project. What’s the first thing you would do as the Product Owner?
- 00:05 – Okay. So, you’re the Product Owner and you’re going to start a new project.
- 00:10 – What would be the first thing that you do in the project? What’s your answer?
- 00:17 – What most people do is that they start talking to the customer, to the end-user, end-user representatives, and the team itself, to the developers to …
- 00:30 – to understand what features are needed for the project, for the product.
- 00:36 – That’s not the best way of starting any project.
- 00:42 – Let me tell you a story. There was this … it’s a real story.
- 00:48 – There was this manufacturer of elevators and they had this problem that people used to complain about the speed of the elevators.
- 01:00 – So, they had multiple projects one after the other to increase the speed, and those used to … some of them succeeded, some of them didn’t, and they still the complaint.
- 01:12 – So, one day they wanted to initiate a new project to increase the speed of the elevators, and whenever they wanted to do that, there was this one person who went there and asked them why, and I wasn’t there, so I’m using my imagination, okay?
- 01:33 – So, they responded, “Well, that’s obvious. It’s a good thing to have faster elevators,” but he said, “Why is it a good thing?” They said, “Well, because people are complaining about the speed of the elevators.
- 01:48 – You need to make them happy.” “Why are they complaining about the speed of the elevators?” “Well, I don’t know. Maybe there’s a small place.
- 02:00 – You’re there. You don’t have anything to do. You get bored and it’s difficult for you.” “Ah-ha! So, what you really want to do is not to increase the speed of the elevators.
- 02:11 – What you really want to do is to make people happier, to prevent them from being bored when they’re in the elevator.” “Yeah. That is … that is the goal.” So, they worked together and they defined a new product to answer the same problem, and the new product was that they put mirrors inside the elevators, and when people used to go there inside the elevators after that, they had something to distract themselves.
- 02:46 – They used to look at themselves, look at their clothes, do something, and before they realized, they were there, and the funny thing is that people even thought that the elevators are now faster than before.
- 02:58 – That is a great project. That’s the best way of approaching the project.
- 03:03 – So, what did they do here? What was the difference?
- 03:09 – The difference in that story is that people started thinking about the problem before thinking about the solution, and that’s the common problem.
- 03:22 – We always jump into the solution and think about different features that we’re going to need based on some type of solution that we intuitively think it will work or we’ve seen everywhere to be working, something like that, but the good thing, the best approach is to stop there, think about the problem enough, and understand why we are going to do the project.
- 03:51 – So, if you’re going to be the Product Owner, the first thing you have to do is to ask why, why, why, and keep asking why? See what you will get.
- 04:02 – You need to understand why you’re going to create that product, and what is the problem that you’re going to solve for your own company or for the end-users that are outside the company or anything else. What are you going to achieve?
- 04:19 – And after that, you can move on to other things.
- 04:23 – While you’re working on that, it’s a good thing to document it, right?
- 04:28 – In Scrum, in the core framework of Scrum, as defined, for example, in the Scrum Guide, we don’t have anything about it, but in other resources that are also acceptable, in Scrum.org, this document that contains this type of information is called the Product Vision.
- 04:48 – So, first thing you would do is to create a Product Vision, and this is something that we have in all project-related systems.
- 04:58 – For example, in some systems in the PMBOK guide, it is called the Project … Project Charter.
- 05:04 – In PRINCE2, it is called the Project Brief. You always need something like that, and Project Charter and Project Brief, in case you’re familiar with those things, contain information other than this, but the main thing that they have is to identify the reasons behind the project, behind doing the project.
- 05:26 – That is universal and make sure you won’t forget about this, even though it is not the most common thing in Agile projects … in Scrum projects. Okay?
- 05:37 – So, that was it about this lesson.
- 05:41 – I intentionally kept it shorter than every other lesson mainly because of its importance, to emphasize how important it is to think about WHY.
- 05:55 – Alright. So, what would you do after that?
As you remember from this lesson, the product vision concept was not mandatory, and it wasn’t part of the core Scrum framework. An interesting change in the 2020 update of the Scrum Guide is that they’ve finally added a similar concept! It’s called the Product Goal, and it’s part of the Product Backlog.
- Think of a completed project that you know, and imagine you’re at the beginning of that project. Then try to forget about the product that was considered, focus on the problem, and see if you can think of other products that can solve the problem.
- You’re probably going to take the exam and become certified after finishing the course. This is your solution to a “problem” or your solution for an improvement. Now, try to clarify your goal, and see what other products other than the certification can satisfy this goal. We hope it doesn’t mean that you’ll stop taking this course ;)
- If you’re going to document the goal of a Scrum project, what would be the name of the document that contains this information?
Optional Extra Activities
- What is the 5-why’s method?
- What is the Project Charter based on the PMBOK® Guide?
- What is the Project Brief based on PRINCE2®?
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