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In my product owner class I help my learners create a product vision. In 2020 the Scrum Guide introduced a new term, the Product Goal. According to the scrum guide the product goal is the future state of the product. The Product Goal is the long-term objective for the Scrum Team. They must fulfill (or abandon) one objective before taking on the next.
At this point, like my 8 year old son says…your brain is exploding!!!
Can I get an example please? How is this different than the product vision?, Where does the sprint goal fit?, How can the product goal help with building a product backlog?
This usually happens when anyone reads the Scrum Guide. Everyone come up with different interpretations.
My certified scrum product owner® (CSPO®) starts with the role of a product owner, the core competencies as well the anti-patterns. Then I go deep into knowing the customer and the value to the customer and the business. These two elements help the students build a product vision.
The product vision is the overarching goal for the product, the “why” or the motivation for the product. Let's look at an example.
“Netflix’s vision is to have a global entertainment distribution company that provides a unique channel for film producers and studios.”
Wait wasn't Netflix a DVD mail rental service in the late 90s which then transitioned into a video streaming of popular movies and TV shows, and then went on to also create original content and now it's almost a distribution channel for all kinds of movies and TV shows, documentaries from all all over the world?
Absolutely it is!! Not only did it meet its vision, it surpassed it.
But how did it get there? This is where the product goal plays a huge role.
Although the product vision was overarching, it was made of product goals that changed over time. The first product goal was to become a DVD rental company that would mail the DVDs. They charged a subscription fee but not any late fees. As technology and the user experience improved the idea to stream limited amount of movies became a reality. So they offered two different subscription fees. Eventually the focus was on video streaming popular movies and TV shows so they went from one product goal to the other, marching towards their vision.
I use the prune the product tree in my class to demonstrate building a product roadmap.
In this technique the tree is a metaphor for the product and also helps deliver on the overarching product vision.
The bands in red indicate the timeline – Now, Later, Much Later and Blue Sky.
I have used the product tree as participatory technique to engage stakeholders in co-creating a product roadmap and discuss features, priority as well as help them refine the overall vision
Instead of the timelines in the red bands, if we use product goals, so it looks something like the below
You can now use the green post-its to add high level features to satisfy each of the product goals like below
Stakeholders are interested in timelines. So what about timelines because roadmaps typically have an indication of time. . I usually recommend a 3-6 month timeline to meet each product goal. Sometimes this might be longer as in the case of Netflix.
I modified it a bit to reflect the product goal
This format is an effective way to communicate a product roadmap, vision and product goals to stakeholders, your customers and your team.
The product goal is the north star that the scrum team looks up at. The product goal helps prioritize the product backlog. Each of the high level features identified need to be done to satisfy each goal before other features are worked on. So it provides a coherent focus as well as an opportunity for the scrum team to collaborate and swarm on features.
So how can you take the product roadmap and create the product backlog? Where does the sprint goal fit in? We will look at these answers in our upcoming product blog.
I would really appreciate your comments and feedback on this article.
*The author used Netflix as an example to teach product vision and product goal. It does not represent a case study or any internal working of the company.
Anil Jaising is a Certified Scrum Trainer®, Certified DevOps Institute Trainer and a Certified Training from the BACK of the Room – Virtual Edition Trainer. Anil teaches Certified Scrum Master (CSM) and Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), Advanced Scrum Master (A-CSM) workshops from Scrum Alliance He also teaches Training from the BACK of the Room In Room and Virtual Edition). He is also the chief product owner of a telemetry plugin At A Glance on Atlassian Jira