Product Manager, Customers

We know why our work is important and how we’ll be successful.

Vision. If there’s a more derided word in the corporate vocabulary, I don’t know what it is. This word brings to mind bland corporate-speak: “Our vision is to serve customers while maximizing stakeholder value and upholding the family values of our employees.” Bleh. Content-free baloney.

Don’t worry—that’s not what you’re going to do.

Product Vision

Before a project is a project, someone in the company has an idea. Suppose it’s someone in the Wizzle-Frobitz company.[31] “Hey!” he says, sitting bolt upright in bed. “We could frobitz the wizzles so much better if we had some software that sorted the wizzles first!”

Maybe it’s not quite that dramatic. The point is, projects start out as ideas focused on results. Sell more hardware by bundling better software. Attract bigger customers by scaling more effectively. Open up a new market by offering a new service. The idea is so compelling that it gets funding, and the project begins.

Somewhere in the transition from idea to project, the compelling part—the vision of a better future—often gets lost. Details crowd it out. You have to hire programmers, domain experts, and interaction designers. You must create stories, schedule iterations, and report on progress. Hustle, people, hustle!

That’s a shame, because nothing matters more than delivering the vision. The goal of the entire project is to frobitz wizzles better. If the details are perfect (the ...

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