A senior exec on my product team was recently on-site in Boulder to talk about setting product vision. "If you're a product manager searching for your North Star, my best advice is to write the press release you envision for your product once it's ready for launch," he suggested.
I found this exercise to be incredibly simple... and incredibly helpful. It's a simple way to set your high-level product vision, and share it with your team.
Here are 4 super simple steps to writing a press release for your product, with the purpose of defining your product vision.
1. Summary Paragraph
This is exactly what it sounds like. If you had to summarize your product in 3-5 sentences, what would you say? If the product you manage is complex (like mine is), you need to be able to explain it simply and succinctly. You can even use this summary as your 'elevator speech' when talking to others in your org, company, and partners.
2. Problem and Solution
Talking about how the product works behind the scenes is important to know as a PM trying to get sh*t done with yoru engineering teams, but is not as important to communicate to customers. Users are interested in problems - and solutions. Create a bullet-pointed list of 3-5 problems you're trying to solve for, and a short synopsis of how this product will solve for each.
3. Customer Quote(s)
I struggled with this one, so you might want to work on this part last. What would a fictional customer say about how your product fits into their day-to-day routine, and how its solved their problems and improved their life? If you're in the usability testing phase, you may have some actual quotes from testing, which you can tweak or combine together to create this quote.
4. Call to Action/ QuickStart
Lots of PMs skip over this very important step when setting product vision. How does a user get started using the product? It's very important to include a singular call-to-action to get started, and then a subsequent flow for how users can quickly and easily get up-and-running with the product. Make sure you've thought this through.
Writing this 'press release' doesn't take that long, and can be kept in an Evernote to be updated whenever needed.
If you keep this document up-to-date and succinct, it's the perfect document to pass around to the team whenever they have to talk about the product to others. It ensures you all have a consistent message, and (more importantly), that everyone knows where you're headed!