Product Ownership: The Importance of Vision, Strategy, and Tactics

Sharing the product future with your team should be your first priority. Using product visions, strategies, and tactics will help you share that future. 

As a product owner, you are responsible for the future of your product. For your future to become a reality, your team needs to see the future you see. Sharing that future with your team should be your first priority. After extensive research and insights from team retrospectives and industry expert surveys, I found that many teams feel that their product owner's vision of the future is not clear to them. Some even stated their product owner does not appear to have a consistent vision of the future.

Most program managers and product owners focus on a prioritized backlog and a list of epics or initiatives. Unfortunately, these only tell part of the story; pardon the pun. These are great tools, but if they are not combined with a clear vision of the future, adding a single story can completely shift priorities and change your focus. For you and your team to be on the same page, you need to give them full transparency into your product's future. Who are some of the experts at helping others see a future? Lobbyists, business owners, and coaches topped the list. When I looked at the tools that made them successful, I noticed three constantly used tools:

  • Visions
  • Strategy
  • Tactics

When I first began my research, I would not have been able to tell you the exact difference. Now I can happily share the difference and help you see why it takes all three for your team to make your dreams a reality.

Product Vision

A product's vision is a futuristic view of the product, both short and long-term. It should be used as a guide for the team. When you start to create your product vision, you should not begin with a set of features. Instead, imagine you were already in the future. In this futuristic world, where your product is hugely successful, what would it look like? This should be the basis for your vision. Like a business owner, this paints the picture of success.

Product Strategy

A product's strategy outlines the game plan for what the product owner intends the product to be, where the product is going, and how it will successfully deliver on the overall organization's goals. The product's strategy enables everyone to focus on a specific target, a set of features, and what makes the product valuable or invaluable to others. These are the promises your team will deliver on.

 Product Tactics

The vision and strategy never state what you will do; that is where a product's tactics come into play. A product's tactics are the specific actions and activities you and your team will take to achieve your strategy and make your vision come true. As a coach, these are the skills, maneuvers, and plays that the team can execute.

Now your team has the whole picture, i.e., who, when, and where, communicated through the backlog, epics, and initiatives, as well as why (vision)what (strategy), and how (tactics).

Article Author: Deena Chadwick, The CommonSensical BA

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