How the absence of product vision in business analytics ruins projects

How the absence of product vision in business analytics ruins projects

The Author:
Roman Sakharov
Roman Sakharov,
Director of Business Analysis & Delivery Manage @Epam Ukraine
Co-Founder & Trainer @E5

Developers often encounter several problems. These include a lack of understanding of why the product is being created, discrepancies between the finished solution and customer expectations, or even the appearance of certain ‘junk functionality’ just before the release. All these issues indicate the absence of product vision and understanding in the project.

Project Vision: Understanding the Term

Vision is an inspired description of what an organization would like to achieve within the project. It is also a description of project goals, ideally based on an economic forecast. Typically, the concept encompasses both definitions and guides the team to make the right choices for achieving the ultimate goal.

The importance of a clear vision at various stages of the project

Stage 1: Project Commencement, Initiation Phase, and Planning.

There can be several problems at this stage. Firstly, it’s the lack of understanding of why product development is needed. Secondly, it’s management in the style of “Just do it!” without explaining the purpose of the work and providing answers to questions from the customer.
These problems need to be addressed immediately. From a methodology perspective, the simplest option to use remains Scrum. This is because to start a Scrum project, you need a product vision and its backlog, as emphasized by one of the co-founders of this methodology, Ken Schwaber.
Vision, or the vision statement, should be documented as a short description of the essence of the future product. It includes details about what this product is, its goals and objectives, who its users are, and the key features of the future system. It answers questions like:

  • Who are our users?
  • What are their needs?
  • How will we meet these needs with functionality?
  • Comparison with existing products.
  • Target timelines and budget.

Such a document should not exceed one page in length. It will be useful for communication with stakeholders to give them an idea of what you are working on. A good template for such a document is provided by Roman Pichler, a leading product management expert specializing in digital products and agile practices. It looks like this

Vision statement
Target Audience Which market segment is the product directed towards? Who is its target audience and customers? Needs

What needs does the product satisfy, and what value does it offer to users and customers? What emotions does it evoke?


List 3 to 5 qualities of the product that are crucial for its success. What will it approximately look like? What are its unique selling points?


 What benefit will the company gain from the product? For example, what are its revenue streams? What makes up its cost? What sales channels will be used? Will it enable savings?

For the successful creation of a product vision in a project, a visionary individual must be present – someone who promotes the product vision and clearly understands the project’s ultimate goal. This role can be fulfilled by a product manager, business analyst, product owner, client representative, and occasionally, a project manager.

Stage 2: Development and Implementation

The most common problem at this stage is losing focus during long work on a large-scale project. Remembering the project’s purpose when working on each feature is facilitated by maintaining the following hierarchy:

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Another effective tool to prevent this problem is the User Story Mapping technique. It’s worth implementing it in the project to see the product in the context of all its functionality and how users will use it.
From a development perspective, user-centered design is crucial. This means that during team meetings, the focus is not just on how to do something but on how the user wants to see it. This approach helps maintain focus on the vision and the ultimate value of the product throughout the development process.
Another challenge during the development phase is scope creep. This is the uncontrolled expansion of the project’s boundaries, leading to missed deadlines, budget overruns, or a decrease in product quality. A well-defined vision is one of the tools to overcome this problem. It allows you to distinguish between changes that are genuinely business-justified and those that are meaningless and do not align with the product’s purpose.

Stage 3: Release

Issues during the release phase are the worst because they are the most challenging to rectify. They indicate that something went wrong in the previous two stages. There is a certain pattern: the later in the development process a problem is discovered, the more expensive it is to address. As a result, the release may never happen. Or eventually, the question arises as to why not release a product that has at least some minimal value to the user?
The concept of the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) precisely supports your vision of what is valuable to the user and allows for obtaining feedback from the market. Defining the MVP helps avoid delaying the release and enables agreement with the client to release it with further refinement of necessary features.
There are several other tools that can be useful at the release stage. These include user scenarios, which provide a visual schematic representation of how a user accomplishes tasks using a website or application. Additionally, the Jobs To Be Done concept helps determine what tasks your product will solve for the customer. Both solutions will come in handy in case the customer is dissatisfied with the final product. You can refer to them when discussing initial requirements and the result of their implementation.


Define the product vision, use the right techniques for emphasis, and most importantly, keep the team focused on the vision. Simply writing a Vision is not enough. You need to revisit it when adding each new feature — only under these conditions can you avoid many problems in working on the project.

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