Crafting a Vision is Product Management

Anuraag Verma
Sep 18, 2017

Blade Kotelly, Leader of the Advanced Concept Lab at Sonos and a Senior Lecturer at MIT, shares how to create an inspiring product vision and his three-phase process for developing innovative ideas.

High-performing product teams are motivated to achieve the same goals and have a shared understanding of those goals. Crafting a vision is one of the most effective ways to achieve these elusive states.

Blade argues that an effective vision should be at the bounds of what’s imaginable while still speaking to enduring human needs. These are needs that we all have and don’t change over time. If the vision is too vague or fantastical, it’s not actionable. If it’s too specific, there’s no room for iteration. The team needs to understand the vision intellectually and emotionally, he says.

Blade encourages listeners to spend more time upfront getting aligned on the underlying problem and the vision to avoid misalignment after the product is developed. He describes this understanding as “the experience center line.”

Defining the experience line helps the rest of the development process move faster because it aligns everyone on what they’re trying to achieve. It makes it easier to make decisions because there’s a shared understanding of the desired experience.

Blade also breaks down his three-phase process for developing innovative ideas:

  • Research
  • Design
  • Testing

You’ll learn a number of great ideas for crafting a vision to motivate your business unit and for keeping key stakeholders aligned on the product roadmap.

Here are the highlights:

  • Blade describes his approach to innovation (4:25)
  • Blade describes how product leaders can overcome the most common barriers to innovation (7:10)
  • Blade explains how to create a vision that inspires the team (12:45)
  • Blade explains what he calls “the experience center line” and how it can align the team and encourage experimentation (21:20)

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