Is the Product Goal similar to the Product Vision? How are they Different?

Last post 03:59 pm January 9, 2021
by Amith Babu
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06:01 pm November 18, 2020

Is the Product Goal similar to the Product Vision? How are they Different?

07:40 pm November 18, 2020

Developing and explicitly communicating the Product Goal might be achieved by expressing a clear "vision" for the product.

As well as the commitment which is the Product Goal, I suppose a "vision" might also elucidate the rationale behind the endeavor, such as the existence of a market gap for example.

The important thing is to have a Product Goal, and it should allow the commitment to be understood.

08:20 pm November 18, 2020

Developing and explicitly communicating the Product Goal might be achieved by expressing a clear "vision" for the product

@Ian Mitchell, Does this mean that the Product Goal is timebound and can change while the Vision still remains the same?

Sprints enable predictability by ensuring inspection and adaptation of progress toward a Product Goal at least every calendar month.

Could you help clarify why the above excerpt now says Product Goal instead of Sprint Goal. Does this suggest that Product Goals can also become obsolete?

09:00 pm November 18, 2020

Does this suggest that Product Goals can also become obsolete?

These are just my first thoughts on it (currently still processing the update, and topics discussed during the announcement today)…

The Product Goal is the long-term objective for the Scrum Team. They must fulfill (or abandon) one objective before taking on the next.

I can imagine that if the Product Goal is fulfilled or abandoned, and replaced with a new Product Goal, that any current Sprint Goal might be rendered obsolete.

And according to the 2020 Scrum Guide:

A Sprint could be cancelled if the Sprint Goal becomes obsolete.

So logically I'd say the responsible thing for a Product Owner to do if a Product Goal becomes obsolete could well be to replace it. If this then renders a Sprint Goal obsolete, a Product Owner might choose to cancel the Sprint, but it would be a choice.

This is subtly different to the 2017 Scrum Guide:

A Sprint would be cancelled if the Sprint Goal becomes obsolete.

 

09:17 pm November 18, 2020

A vision does not need to be static, any more than the Product Goal does. A Product Goal, along with any supporting or clarifying vision is not necessarily fixed, and can be expected to change and to be emergent. I'd avoid using the word "obsolete" because this could imply some sort of product cancellation (cf. the cancellation of a Sprint Goal).

A Product Goal commitment and any supporting vision might be fixed ("I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to Earth" - Kennedy). However, it is also possible to pivot to a different vision (e.g. one which addresses a different customer segment) for which the product would nevertheless remain the same (e.g. the PC, which has pivoted towards serving  consumer needs rather than being a strictly business device).

There may be a succession of goals as the "vision" for the product improves, although each time a Product Goal changes there will be a cost associated with abandoning the commitment and the framing of another. There may be other costs, such as running out of money (runway) before a sustainable proposition is found.

11:00 pm November 18, 2020

Product Vision - "XYZ product will become the most used application for companies to communicate to the world"

Product Goal (pre-Covid) - "XYZ product will be used by corporate presenters at more conferences world-wide than the top two competitors combined"

Product Goal (now) - "XYZ product will be hosted on more corporate websites to drive their value proposition statements than the top two competitors combined".

Ok, that is a bit contrived but you can see how both Product Goals still support the same Product Vision.  And the Product Vision or either Product Goal is timebound.  I would expect that "initiatives" undertaken to achieve the Vision and Goals would be timebound.  And to aid in that I see Sprints as a possible way to timebox "initiatives" while defining them with Sprint Goals.  

Just my interpretation today.  Like @Simon Mayer, I'm still thinking about it. I've only read the new version of the Scrum Guide once so far.  

11:23 pm November 18, 2020

And the Product Vision or either Product Goal is timebound.  I would expect that "initiatives" undertaken to achieve the Vision and Goals would be timebound. 

It might be better to say that a Product Goal ought to be time related (one reading of the "T" in SMART criteria). It should be possible for a forecast to be made regarding its likely achievement.

There's nothing in the Scrum Guide which says a Product Goal would be timebound (there's no timebox for it), although one might be.

03:22 am November 20, 2020

The Product Vision is a high level and long term aspirational statement, whereas Product goal is a "concretisation" of the Vision.

That said, there is room for both to evolve when needed, in order to keep up with the times... with inspection and adaption... isn't it?

03:58 pm January 9, 2021

@Usha Ramaswamy I tend to agree with the statement:

The Product Vision is a high level and long term aspirational statement, whereas Product goal is a "concretisation" of the Vision.

Product goals can be specific milestones that is part of the product strategy to achieve the Product Vision.

Also, these can change as we've seen with many organisations, and how they've adapted their goals and vision in the post pandemic era.