The Business Analyst & The Vision Statement

Projects and product development exercises typically start by defining a vision of what is needed. The business analyst plays a central role in articulating the product vision statement, a common deliverable more popularly known as the "elevator pitch".

The vision statement can be likened to a rudder that steers the ship in the desired direction.

The vision statement represents a summary that describes what you are bringing to the table; why you are doing so; and who will eventually benefit from it as well as the success criteria. It can form part of the product charter or project initiation document.

The vision statement is particularly important in ensuring that all stakeholders have a common understanding of what the proposed system is designed to accomplish.

How is this useful to the analyst?

  1. It outlines the benefits to be derived from the implementation of product features
  2. It provides a clear definition of what the project is intended to accomplish, if anyone is ever in doubt or when there’s a high probability of scope creep; it can help keep requirements in check.
  3. It can serve as the basis of collaboration with the development team, customers and other members of the project team
  4. It can be used to assess if the objective of the product conforms to business goals and objectives

A popular template used for the development of vision statements is from Geoffrey Moore’s book, Crossing the Chasm.

  • For (description of target customer)
  • Who (business need)
  • The (product name) is a (product category)
  • That (key benefit of product/project/initiative)
  • Unlike (primary alternative/workarounds)
  • Our product (unique proposition/differentiation statement)

An example is as follows:

For business departments who receive a lot of documents that need to be preserved, the archiving application is an online workflow system that can be used for scanning, tagging and locating documents quickly and efficiently unlike the current process which is manual and prone to errors. The archiving application will allow departments keep track of their documents, locate them, store them physically and automate the business rules for managing each document type.

Which template do you use for crafting your vision statements?

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