Putting your project into the hands of a product development team can feel like a daunting prospect.
You've put your heart into your vision, nurturing what began as a simple idea, creating a complex concept for the product of your dreams- and now the time has come for it to take flight!
But you're worried. Will the product development team really get it? Will they understand the nuance and impact you’ve envisioned? Will you be able to convey your vision effectively?
Like all great relationships, strong communication should be the foundation of the relationship between you and your product development team. Clearly, creating the product of your dreams hinges on your ability to clearly communicate your vision at the very beginning stages of work - but how can you ensure this happens?
In our experience, a vision brief is the optimal tool for clearly and effectively communicating your vision for your product. Think of it as a blueprint that explains the in's and out's of your project to the creative team you'll be working with, while also helping you shape its overall strategy and goals.
The following 3 vision brief tips will help ensure you and your product development team remain on the same page from start to finish!
1. Don't Skip Your Brief!
The cardinal sin of vision briefs is not having one at all. We've encountered teams, eager to jump into development, convinced that a quick verbal explanation of their product vision would be sufficient to get started.
While it does take a bit of time to develop a solid vision brief, the time spent will be well worth it, as it will help ensure the deliverables you receive align with your expectations and business needs.
A good vision brief will put you and your development team on the same page, giving the product development team a guiding reference for the entire project, allowing them to make strategic design decisions. It will also serve as important criteria for determining whether your product is meeting expectations and keep everyone involved accountable.
2. Collaborate On Your Brief
Ideally, your vision brief should be written with your product development partner during a kickoff or discovery workshop session. This session should provide you with the opportunity to detail and explain your creative vision for your product in depth.
To get your product development team on the right track, you should be prepared to thoroughly discuss and document topics including:
- how your project got started
- the problems and pain points you would like it to address
- other products you consider to be great
- your envisioned best and worst outcomes for your product
Our vision brief template and guide provides more topics to help you fully establish and convey your vision.
While a vision brief session is ultimately about providing your development team with a well rounded understanding of your vision for your product, it's also an opportunity to benefit from their fresh point of view. These sessions frequently lead to the uncovering of new opportunities, leading to insights that will ultimately lead to the creation of a better product.
3. Revisit Your Brief
Your vision brief shouldn't just be used to help get your product development team started. It should also serve as a record of your intentions for your project.
To help ensure your project isn't straying from your vision, it’s important that both you and your development team frequently revisit your vision brief.
Comparing the product in its current state to the ideal vision you've laid out allows you to identify areas where you're making great progress and areas where you may have fallen off track.
Yeti, and creative teams around the world, have built their entire creative processes around understanding the core problems driving a project, allowing them to create many relevant solutions. A well written vision brief will allow the creative team you work with to understand your vision and contribute their expertise back into the conversation.
If you're thinking of working with a creative team on your project, or merely want to help clarify your vision for your project, we've put together a Vision Brief Template and Guide to help you craft a brief that covers all the bases - you can download it here!
Tony Scherba is a CEO + Founding Partner at Yeti. Tony has been developing software since high school and has worked on digital products for global brands such as Google, MIT, Qualcomm, Hershey’s, Britney Spears and Harmon/Kardon. Tony’s writing about innovation and technology has been featured in Forbes, Huffington Post and Inc. At Yeti, Tony works on strategy, product design and day to day operations, hopping in and working with the development teams when needed. Follow Tony on Twitter.