Agile Project Management Processes Grid–Process 1.2 Vision Statement

In the Agile Project Management Processes Grid presented by John Stenbeck in his book “PMI-ACP and Certified Scrum Professional Exam Prep and Desk Reference”, the process that comes right after Process 1.1 Stakeholders Identification is Process 1.2 Vision Statement.

Process 1.1 Stakeholders Identification is setting up whom you are going to have the conversation with.   The next two processes cover what you are going to have the conversation about, namely, the product, which you are going to make for the key stakeholders,    Clarifying at the very beginning of the project what features the product will have is vital, so you that you don’t get a situation where you deliver what you thought the customer wanted only to be told by the customer, “that’s not what I wanted.”

Four Agile Tools used in Defining and Clarifying Vision

There are four agile tools which are used in the process of defining and clarifying the vision for a releasable product:

  1. Vision Statement (Process 1.2)–sometimes called an elevator statement, an uncomplicated way to define the product vision in a short statement
  2. Product vision box–a tangible expression of a solution that includes whatever context is necessary to convey what the product will be
  3. Product data sheet or PDS (Process 1.3)–one-page summary of key project objectives, capabilities, and information that convey how a project fulfills the product vision
  4. Flexibility matrix–a tool that communicates how to handle trade-offs with a grid showing the relative importance of constraints such as scope, schedule, cost, and quality by defining them as fixed, firm, or flexible (only one constraint may be fixed)

In this post, I will cover the first tool, that of the Vision Statement.   It encapsulates the vision that the team has for fulfilling the needs of the customer.   It is sometimes referred to as an “elevator statement”, because it must be brief enough to be shared during a short elevator ride.

Elements of an Elevator Statement

Geoffrey Moore first described his formula for elevator statements in his book Crossing the Chasm and specified four conditions that the statement must fulfill:

  1. Your claim must be stated clearly in a sentence or two at most.
  2. Offer a clear winning proposition for your customer.
  3. Help your customers know your claim or they won’t be comfortable with it.
  4. Show partners and allies how your goals are meaningful to them.

Geoffrey Moore goes on to say in his book that there is a proven formula you can use for your elevator statements that gets the information down in two short sentences, and which is conducive to fulfilling the other conditions listed above. Here’s the formula:

For:  [name a customer type]

Who Want:  [state a specific need or desire]

The:  [name your product]

Is a:  [name the product category]

That:  [name a compelling reason to buy or use the product or service]

Unlike:  [name the leading competitive products]

Our Product:  [specify the differentiating features or functions]

Here’s an example I created with an app that I use every day to study foreign languages called Duolingo.

For all those who want to learn a foreign language, the Duolingo app is an free app that can take you from having no knowledge of a foreign language to fluency by using it just 10 minutes a day, unlike other foreign language programs like Rosetta Stone that can cost up to hundreds of dollars and require a much larger time commitment.  Our product teaches the user the basic and intermediate levels of any one of a dozen or more European languages.

The vision statement can be used in conjunction with other agile tools, such as the product vision box and the project data sheet, as will be seen in the posts covering those tools.

The next post will cover the second agile tool, the Product Vision Box.


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