Your Product Vision as a First-Step for Outsourcing

Quick Summary - Do you have an idea for a software product but not all of the details that need to go into it?

Your Product Vision as a First-Step for Outsourcing

That’s okay, we’ll get you started with defining a product vision – an essential any in-house or outsourced team will need before they can start developing your project.

What is product vision?

Product vision describes who your end-user is, what your software will do for them, and why they will want to use it (over other available options). It’s a picture of what your software will look like and be able to do when it launches. Some startups and even non-tech SMB’s may not have all of the technical expertise to define everything their software will need. So, it’s essential to start somewhere and the product vision is the best place. A basic project vision can be used to:

  • Form a product vision statement – a fifteen to thirty-second elevator pitch to potentially impress investors.
  • Provide a software engineer (in-house, outsourced, consultant, or agency) the ability to deduce most project requirement specifications once you define the platform you want to target (addressed below).
  • Flesh out a product vision document covering the product feature roadmap and development strategy.
    Ultimately formulate a software development cost estimate based on #2 and #3.

You own the product vision irrespective of whether the software is developed by your own in-house team, by a dedicated distributed team, or an independent development agency. Though it’s doubtful that there’s any malicious intent, some development agencies like to get into the driver’s seat with the product vision. Nevertheless, you want to maintain ownership and control over the vision to keep it focused on your business objectives and avoid costs for unnecessary features.

Defining your product vision

Any software development project must be super-focused on product-market fit which boils down to a product that your intended end-users will use and pay for. It’s perhaps the central objective of any Minimum Viable Product. The goal is to find product-market fit before you spend any significant amount of money on development. It’s natural for your product vision to evolve in these very early stages.

Leastwise, a product vision statement has a fairly specific and simple structure, defining:

  • For (end-users/target market),
  • Who (have a specific need),
  • Your product is (desktop software, web app, mobile app, platform or software as a service – PaaS/SaaS, etc.),
  • That provides (a compelling reason or advantage – to buy or use).

If your product or service is similar to another, it’s useful to distinguish further by adding

  • Compared to (other competing products or services),
  • Our product (offers these unique features or improvements).

Though similar, company and product vision statements are different. A company can only have one vision, but it can have hundreds of products – each with its own vision statement.

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List of product vision statement examples

  • Google: “Provide an important service to the world-instantly delivering relevant information on virtually any topic.”
  • Facebook: “People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them.”
  • Tesla: “To create the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world’s transition to electric vehicles.
  • Autodesk: “Autodesk’s vision is to help people imagine, design, and create a better world.”
  • Lyft: “Ride by ride, we’re changing the way our world works. We imagine a world where cities feel small again. Where transportation and tech bring people together, instead of apart. We see the future as community-driven and it starts with you.”

For additional information and inspiration on how to create a product vision statement, see Roman Pichler’s 8 Tips for Creating a Compelling Product Vision and Christian Strunk’s How to Define a Product Vision.

Handover of the product vision to your software manager

Software is a complex product that often requires a software engineer to define. It’s not just the software, but how it will interact with different devices and other software via the Internet. But, not everyone happens to be a software engineer. And you don’t need to be.

You can take your product vision to a software engineer and they can start to define your feature roadmap, project requirements, and software development cost estimate. They will have some questions for you to help guide their decisions – we will address these in a future post.

Their most important question is appropriate to preface here. Your engineer will need to know which operating system/s you intend to launch on – PC (MacOS/Windows/Linux), web (any browser), native mobile (iOS or Android), cross-platform (iOS and Android), or others. Though a technical issue, it’s a critical marketing decision driven more by device-based demographics and their end-user spending or usage patterns.

It’s important enough to warrant its own discussion. The answer can substantially impact the cost of development and who should develop your software. It can impact your launch strategy and so many other things that it deserves its own discussion.

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Your engineer’s next steps

Your product vision and choice of operating systems to launch first tells your engineer a lot. With it, they can largely define the three essentials needed in order to begin development. They’ll likely have additional questions and you will need to make several decisions along during development, but this puts them on track to provide you:

Product Feature Roadmap – The logical sequence in which your software features will be added to the product leading up to and after launch. In most cases, companies start with Minimum Viable Products focusing only on the “reason why end-users will love to use your software.” Anything that doesn’t support that feature/function is set aside until the need for it is validated by user data and feedback.

Project Requirements – A detailed technical list of all of the devices with which the software must be compatible along with all of the software modules/components, tools, frameworks, third-party solutions, and other details that will be needed to make the software work. As noted above, these factors depend heavily on your choice of platform. It also leads to determine which cloud services should be used – like Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Microsft Azure, or otherwise.

Software Development Cost Estimate – The cost estimate is never a concrete price, but one based upon a certain amount of effort within a particular time-frame. You need this whether you have your own in-house or outsourced team, as well as if you hire a development agency.

Is the project within your budget?

Can your internal or outsourced team reasonably complete the project by a certain launch date?

If the cost estimate exceeds your budget, it may be possible to streamline features to reduce the cost. If your existing team is not sufficient to hit your deadline, it may be necessary to hire more developers.

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Additional topics coming

Whether you’re a veteran software developer or a brand new entrepreneur with a great idea for a software product, we want to bring you insider tips to help your project. While we specialize in providing sourcing IT specialists and augmented teams in Ukraine, our team has hands-on experience with every segment of the IT industry.

Our first goal is to provide you ideas and advice for outsourcing and managing distributed teams. However, we also hope to share our insights on the technical, operational, marketing, and funding/monetization of your projects. All components are needed for success. If you have a topic or question you would like to see covered here on the blog – or discuss with a specialist, please send us a note below!

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