A Whole Team Approach to Product Vision (An exercise)


Recently I was coaching a team who’s PO didn’t have a product vision. So I got the whole team together and did this exercise and I have to say it came out better than I even expected so I thought i’d share it with the coalition.

Total Time: 60 - 90 min depending on team size.


  1. Invite the entire Scrum Team (or whoever is involved in creating the product)
  2. Download and printout Roman Pichler’s Product Vision Board. http://www.romanpichler.com/tools/vision-board/
  3. Book space where you can write on flipcharts, walls etc. If distributed use a virtual whiteboard tool or similar.


  1. Hand out product vision board to everyone and explain why a product vision is so important.
  2. Review each column in the board and tell them not to worry about the vision statement in the top section yet. (5 Min)
  3. Start with the first column “Target Group.” Ask the team to write down what they think the target groups are on their own paper. After a few minutes ask them to volunteer the groups they came up with.
  4. Write the responses somewhere where everyone can see. Then discuss with everyone included the PO if this makes sense and start to build a common understanding.
  5. Proceed to repeat that until all the columns are done. You should have four seperate lists based on the four columns. (About 30 min in total)
  6. Then, Explain what a vision statement is using the product vision board as a guide if you like.
  7. Tell them to each write their own product vision statement based on the four lists you all created and make sure the vision statement is no longer than a few sentences. (5 min)
  8. Go around the room and have each person read their vision statement out loud. (5-10 min)
  9. Ask the team to give their opinion on their favorite parts or keywords they heard from all the product vision statements. Make another visual list of they keywords. (5-10 min)
  10. Ask the team to write one more iteration based on these keywords or phrases. (5min)
  11. Ask them to read them out loud again (5 min)
  12. Have the team vote on their favorites narrowing it down to the top 2 or 3 (If one isn’t the obvious favorite) (5 min)
  13. Try to come to an agreement on the best statement, if no agreement can be made have the PO pick his/her favorite of the top top 2-3. (5 min)
  14. Write the vision statement on the wall/team space etc anywhere it can be seen all the time. (For the team I most recently did this with, I wrote it on the wall in their team room and also have it in their team working space)


How would you engage this process for a product that is already close to release? The process makes sense. I’m curious how you could introduce it to something that is already mature.


I would talk to the team and see if they think they would benefit. If they don’t think that they would, then I wouldn’t do it. There’s nothing worse than an exercise that the team feels is wasting their time. If they do think it would benefit what’s left of the project, then I would do it just like described above, but you’ve got lots of history to draw from for the categories.


I have done this exercise, but I didn’t use this format, I used the format described in Lift Off! by Ainsley Nies and Diana Larsen. It’s shocking how valuable it is, I agree. It really crystallizes in everyone’s mind, what we are doing, and why. I think it’s easy to forget that every line of code is a decision based on conversations and knowledge of the product. So we think we can just skip that part and tell people what to do. But skipping this stuff really robs our teams of so much.


This is something I came up with so that’s why I shared it here. I will read lift off though based on your suggestion!


To The Point by Paulo Caroli is all about lean inception and has an exercise like this. Check it out, I thought it was a great read.


I have used many times and it is very helpful for stakeholders and PO to present the Vision to the Team.


@bradstokes if its close to release, now is the perfect time to use this board for the next release worth of work. An opportunity to do a few things:

  • Is the original vision of the product still intact?
  • Have the needs shifted of the target group?
  • How would the description of the product change based upon that?
  • Are the updated business goals or roadmapped items properly mapped to current state?

All of that and more. Roman Pichler has written a ton about the product vision board and how to make it iterative.


Thanks @chrismurman, I’ve been giving this great thought. My team looks like it is going through a couple of transitions with the replacement of some members over recent months. I’ve been thinking about how we can refocus and move forward. I can see the vision going forward, but I think more that we need a team vision. The vision board sounds like a great place to start.

I really want to help the team improve transparency, both internally and with the rest of the organisation. I’m still just a dev, but small wins. This sounds like a really nice start point. I’ll checkout Roman’s site (http://www.romanpichler.com/tools/vision-board/) and move from there.