Product Management interviews are filled with questions surrounding your past experience. One of the most common topics you will be asked about is defining and writing the Product Vision. It is not guaranteed that all Product Manager interviews will ask product-related questions, but it is best to be proactive and have a general understanding so that you can be prepared. Product Vision interview questions come in various forms:
- Give us an example of how you defined the Product Vision at your current or previous company.
- Walk us through how you would define the Product Vision for this product.
However, if this will be your first product management job, then chances are you have never actually written a Product Vision. So, how do you approach these interview questions? Read on for some tactical steps designed to help you crush your interview questions related to Product Vision. Here’s what we’ll be going over:
Product Vision is a long-term goal for the product analogous to a mission statement, but for your product. It defines “the why” behind what you are building. Product Vision Statements serve as an anchor for the technology and the business team. They align their daily tasks towards materializing this vision and ultimately create a product that is useful to its intended users.
Product Vision Statements also impact what goes into the product roadmap and in what order. Having a clear and concise vision statement creates an end goal to keep in mind, making the difficult task of prioritization slightly easier. Every milestone on the roadmap should ultimately contribute towards achieving this end goal, or in other words, the vision.
Along with impacting the roadmap, Product Vision should inform the strategy, the brand, and the way you measure the success of the product. To put it simply, how aligned your product is with the vision is a direct measure of your product’s success.
The Product Vision Statement should serve as a reminder of your goal. It should answer the questions of why you are creating a product and what you hope to accomplish in the long term. Here are some examples of Product Vision Statements from some of the world’s top companies:
- Instagram: To capture and share the world’s moment.
- Google: To provide access to the world’s information with one click.
- LinkedIn: Create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.
- Spotify: Our mission is to unlock the potential of human creativity—by giving a million creative artists the opportunity to live off their art and billions of fans the opportunity to enjoy and be inspired by it.
The question of who writes the Product Vision Statement is dependent on the company, but as a Product Manager, you will be expected to have a good understanding of defining and writing the vision statement. Vision statements are written collaboratively by stakeholders and executives with the end users’ needs in mind. The best Product Visions are motivating, catchy, ambitious yet attainable, short, and straight to the point. If written well, a vision should provoke an emotional response from everyone that comes in touch with your product. It will also attract new prospects who deeply resonate with and believe in your vision statement. When writing a Product Vision Statement or answering Product Vision interview questions about the Vision Statement, there are a few things to consider:
- The end users/customers: Who are they?
- The problem: What problem or need is your product solving for the end-users?
- The solution: How exactly is your product serving the problem or the need?
- Differentiators: What is unique about your product? What sets it apart from competitors?
If someone who has no idea about what your product is can guess the rough purpose of your product by looking at the vision statement, then you have achieved your goal of writing a winning Product Vision Statement. This kind of effective communication and vision is what interviewers are looking for with Product Vision interview questions.
But keep in mind that your product vision will change depending on the needs of the business and of its customers. In reality, it is never as straightforward as it seems. This dynamic factor is a great thing to highlight in an interview because it shows the interviewer that you are a pragmatic Product Manager with a good grasp of reality.
Once you’ve written a great Product Vision Statement, it is important to make sure that is communicated cross-functionally. There is no point in writing a vision statement and throwing it in a box, never to be seen again. Show off your great work to those involved and make sure that you input the collected feedback to iterate on the vision accordingly!
Neha Satya is a Product Manager for Capco and a Mentor at Product Gym. Neha has four years of experience with product management and a background in data analysis. Neha has a Bachelor of Science from Saint Louis University.