We condense the experience of product leaders, a decade of client work and best industry practices into a six-part series of essential habits that organisations can adopt to nurture product culture.
Product culture is a set of company-wide customs and beliefs geared towards understanding and solving customer problems. A strong product culture involves various components such as: how effectively product goals and context are communicated, the empowerment and alignment of teams, as well as positive leadership. They exist in a virtuous cycle.
Nurturing product culture is important because it enables product driven growth, which is key to enduring success. One way to institutionalise the components of healthy product culture, particularly effective communication of product strategy, is to get into the habit of creating visiontypes.
A visiontype is a high-fidelity strategic prototype of the customer's ideal/future experience with a product. It helps to communicate and clarify a product vision by bringing to life new concepts and features in a realistic, tangible way. A good visiontype is one that can be put in the hands of execs or investors and get them excited about the future of the product.
When it comes to communicating product strategy, the golden rule is to never trust the hallway chat, the Google slide presentation, or the long document. The chances of these vehicles effectively communicating how user experience, visual aesthetics and technology choices interact, are low.
Visiontypes strengthen product strategy precisely by improving how it’s communicated, and in turn, are an important step in the process of refining product strategy internally, among product teams.
Visiontypes can also add value by getting the executive team and external stakeholders on the same page. This can be instrumental in getting your buy-in, based on the principle of ‘show don’t sell’. Directly experiencing what the future product could feel like on a device allows one to understand first hand the value of the strategy and how it solves problems, without feeling like a hard sale.
Being consumer-centric, i.e., putting the consumer at the heart of everything a company does, is a key aspect of product culture. This means understanding their needs and focusing on their experience with your product across all touchpoints and stages.
Visiontypes are an effective tool for this. The very act of creating a visiontype forces you to think about the consumer experience on a deeper level, uncovering important strengths and limitations that may have otherwise been obscured until implementation. This gives rise to better, more novel insights.
Lastly, we’d like to point out how beneficial visiontypes are in building alignment within teams that are genuinely empowered to turn aspirational dreams into operational realities. Visiontypes facilitate team alignment by clarifying and refining a product's idealised future.
Use them as guardrails, steering your team toward the product’s end goal, and simplify resource allocation dilemmas: if a feature is not aligned with the vision, don’t spend time on it
Learn how we worked with Just Eat to align behind and execute a disruptive product vision that got them to their objective to become a billion order business.
If you need expert help, check out our Product Vision & Strategy Package delivered by our core team of Beyond practitioners.
Have you ever struggled with decision-making because you weren't sure how a particular trade-off fits into the product’s big picture? Our next habit is about establishing clear and consequential product principles. This is the core DNA of your product and can be used to inform all subsequent actions and choices.
Part 2: Bringing your strategies to life with visiontypes
Part 4: Implementing shared and highly visible goal-setting (OKRs)
Part 5: Engaging in continuous product discovery
Part 6: Creating rituals that reinforce focus & accountability