Breaking down a product vision: 5 tips for turning vision into actionable tasks

Headshot for author Scott Wittrock

Scott Wittrock

Fractional CPO/CTO - Head for Product

July 20, 2023

min read

With over a decade of experience in product management across various companies, I have witnessed firsthand the importance of efficient team progress. In the fast-paced world of product development, adopting strategies that enable teams to move forward quickly and effectively is crucial. In this article, I will share five key factors that have consistently helped teams excel and achieve remarkable results. Product managers can drive their teams towards success by focusing on defining the problem, identifying the target audience, creating hypotheses, setting clear initiatives and epics, and breaking them down into actionable items.

Define the problem you are solving

One of the fundamental pillars of effective product management is gaining a deep understanding of the problem you are solving. Defining the problem allows you to align your team's efforts and resources toward a common goal. By conducting thorough research, engaging with stakeholders, and leveraging user feedback, you can gain valuable insights into your target audience's pain points and needs. A well-defined problem is a guiding light, directing your team's efforts and fostering a shared sense of purpose.

🚫 We need a an import feature.

✅ Our customers are hesitant to switch because they have a lot of data in their existing tool.

Define who you help by solving this problem

Successful product management goes beyond addressing a problem; it involves understanding and empathizing with the people who will benefit from your solution. Clearly identify your target audience, their characteristics, and their specific needs. You can gain valuable insights into their motivations, preferences, and pain points by developing user personas and conducting user interviews. This understanding enables you to tailor your product to meet their expectations and deliver a superior user experience.

🚫 The user of the platform.

✅ An independent restaurant owner who is active in the day to day management of the restaurant.

Create a hypothesis

A hypothesis is crucial for product managers to validate their assumptions and guide the decision-making process. Formulate a hypothesis articulating your proposed solution and the expected outcomes based on your understanding of the problem and the target audience. A well-crafted hypothesis provides a clear direction for your team, helps prioritize efforts, and serves as a basis for experimentation and iteration. Embrace a hypothesis-driven approach to validate your assumptions and pivot when necessary.

🚫 Our customers want this feature.

✅ If we allow users to import data we will increase trial to paid conversions by 5%.

Define some initiatives and epics

To drive progress effectively, breaking down your product vision into manageable chunks is essential. Define high-level initiatives that align with your product strategy and contribute to the overall goal. Initiatives represent the major focus areas and act as guiding principles for your team. Break down each initiative into epics, which are larger, strategic user stories that provide a framework for implementation. By defining initiatives and epics, you offer a structured approach that enables your team to work in a cohesive and coordinated manner.

🚫 Import feature.

✅ Increase conversion of trial to paid by allowing importing data.

Break it down into actionable items

The final step in accelerating team progress is breaking down initiatives and epics into actionable items. Convert these larger pieces into smaller, manageable tasks that can be executed by individuals or small teams. Ensure that each actionable item is well-defined, has a clear scope, and is achievable within a reasonable timeframe. Breaking down initiatives into actionable items enables efficient task assignment and progress tracking and provides a sense of accomplishment as tasks are completed.

🚫 Tasks have no reference to larger goals.

✅ Every task is liked to an epic which is linked to an initiative.

Product managers can accelerate team progress and achieve exceptional results by implementing these five key factors—defining the problem, identifying the target audience, creating hypotheses, setting clear initiatives and epics, and breaking them down into actionable items. Effective product management relies on aligning your team's efforts towards a common purpose, understanding and addressing the needs of your target audience, and maintaining a structured approach to execution. Embrace these strategies to navigate the complexities of product development and lead your team toward success.

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