The Importance of Vision Statements

Photo by Phil

Photo by Phil

There’s lots of advice out there about creating vision statements or defining a purpose—at least five articles appeared in my blog feed on the topic in the last 2 months. A strong vision statement resonates with people, aligning them in creating a future that would not otherwise exist. Vision statements start with the goal of inspiring others. They create a sense of purpose for people to rally around.

Personally, I like vision statements that capture the aspirational sense of what could be possible. There’s a dream-like quality to the vision, and sharing it with people evokes a response; an energetic bond is formed through the vision. The visionary inspires the vision-runner to make it a reality. A shared purpose or goal is established.

The best thing a Product Owner can do to truly take ownership and inspire others is to establish and communicate a clear vision for the Product. Why are we building it? Whose lives will be improved by it?
— Don McGreal

One source suggested then making the vision concrete. Elaborating more details about what reality would be like if the vision is achieved. While I appreciate making the vision more vivid, I’ve found that shorter is better when it comes to documenting it—an elevator statement is easy for people to remember and expand upon. A few go on to add measurable goals to the vision—to make it more real. In my experience, people can get tripped up on the measurements and struggle to remember the vision itself with such specifics defined. And the other elements of the vision—the captivating essence and the dream of what can be—may be lost.

Connecting the vision with the audience is key. I’ve witnessed leaders communicate their vision and listeners become confused or lose interest right away. Using language that people understand—putting the vision in real words rather than lingo or jargon—can make it more attractive. It’s the storytelling of a vision that ultimately matters most.

Allison Pollard

I help people discover their agile instincts and develop their coaching abilities. As an agile coach with Improving in Dallas, I enjoy mentoring others to become great Scrum Masters, coaching managers to grow teams that deliver amazing results, and fostering communities that provide sustainability for agile transformations. In my experience, applying agile methods improves delivery, strengthens relationships, and builds trust between business and IT. A big believer in the power of community-based learning, I grew the DFW Scrum user group significantly over the five years I served as an organizer. I am also a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, a foodie, and proud glasses wearer.