agile > chapter 2 launch and planning > 3 project vision

Project Vision

Agile projects usually begin with the preparation of a project roadmap and the planning of the first iteration. Requirements at the start of the project are set and prioritized by the stakeholders so it is important that all stakeholders have the same vision of the project.

Elevator pitch

This is an important marketing technique employed in agile projects and serves to give stakeholders a clear vision of the desired outcome of the project.

Elevator pitches are of the format: For target client who need/desire of the client being appealed to, the product product name is a product category, that compelling benefits of the product unlike primary competitive alternative, our product primary differentiation.

For example:

For school administrators that want to be able to easily manage the content delivery to and the grades of their students, Jabble is a learning management system (LMS) that provides a simple and intuitive interface for managing classrooms and tracking student performance and unlike Moodle, our product offers a performant mobile app and plug-and-play design.

The elevator pitch is intended to acknowledge the shortcomings of the new project to be undertaken. (Tap/click an answer below)

Product Box

This is a way for teams to gamify the presentation of the project vision. The work team collaborates on creating this item and in the process they achieve a better understanding of the project requirements and vision.

The product box requires that the team think of their product primarily in terms of its marketability and business value. The box displays information in a way that a cereal box would for a supermarket shelf - to attract customers and peak their interest. We place the following information on the box:

Another side of the box can contain information on the target audience and the defining features of the product. The process of preparing the product box has its own benefits for the people involved. Collaboration and identification with the product are the main benefits - the team members now see how they can contribute to the cause and also see themselves as a part of something bigger (the project).

Unified vision of the project

By participating in the ideation process and preparation of the elevator pitch, persons involved in the project identify with the project. The logo, slogan and product features are contributed by these people - they have made an investment in the project and will want to see the outcome of the work done. In the case of the work team, they are motivated to take the project to its logical end and will put more the effort into ensuring the best possible outcome of the project.

A good agile leader inspires the work team and other stakeholders to invest their best efforts and resources into a project that is worth identifying with. A project to create an app that predates on users will not be very easy to identify with if your team members see it as at most morally wrong or at least socially unacceptable. Also, the motivation must not come from extrinsic factors such as salaries and harsh deadlines. The team will do its best work when there is genuine care about the product being made.

Keeping the work team motivated is thus a matter of reminding them of the value of the product being made and how important they are to the progress of it and ensuring that they do not feel as if they are contributing too much or too little (be it in task completion or decision-making) compared to other teammates. This is the secret to preventing burnout in the team - balance the workload and never forget the vision.