Product Vision

Ashley Roberts, Head of UX Strategy
October 4, 2023

All Aces, No Fluff: The 6 Roles Needed for a Product Vision Workshop

The people you invite to your product vision workshop — and more importantly, the roles you assign them to play — have huge implications for the productivity and success of your day.

Are you gearing up for a Product Vision Workshop? Alongside putting together your target outcome, agenda, and building your workshop exercises, you’ll also need to decide whom to invite to the session. The people you invite — and more importantly, the roles you assign them to play — have huge implications for the productivity and success of your workshop. 

  • Invite too many people → run the risk of spiraling on a topic, or losing focus/momentum. 
  • Invite too few people → perhaps miss out on key perspectives or critical knowledge in a specific area. 
  • Get going without assigning/clarifying roles → allow the potential for confusion and conflict when decisions have to be made at key points throughout the day.

In this article, we'll break down the essential roles for a successful Product Vision Workshop, helping you navigate the intricate dance of product development with ease.

As you read, keep in mind that a single person can play multiple roles. Ideally you want 4-7 people in the room, and there are some natural pairings for these roles. Have a single person be:

  • 1+6
  • 4+5
  • 2+3

On the flip side. There are certain roles that cannot be played by the same person. This is simply because it is too difficult to embody the responsibilities of these roles at the same time.

  • 1+3 cannot be the same person
  • 5+6 cannot be the same person

Read on, and start planning  your roster. 

1. The Facilitator: Guiding the Ship

First and foremost, every Product Vision Workshop needs a facilitator. This individual plays a pivotal role in keeping the momentum flowing throughout the session. Their responsibilities include building consensus among participants and, most importantly, crafting the day's culmination – the product vision statement. The facilitator ensures that the workshop stays on track and that every voice is heard.

2. The Visionary: The Idea's Champion

Next up is the visionary, the person who is deeply passionate about the idea behind the product. They often originated the concept, identifying an opportunity in the market or industry. The visionary's presence is vital for articulating the vision clearly to everyone else. They provide the "why" behind the workshop, explaining why this product is essential.

3. The Decider: Making the Tough Calls

A crucial role in the workshop is that of the decider, the person ultimately responsible for making decisions regarding the product. While it's common for the visionary to assume this role, it could also be an external stakeholder, investor, or another party. The decider is the one who will have the final say on critical product decisions.

Note: It's acceptable for the visionary to take on the facilitator or decider role, as long as the facilitator isn't also the decider. This avoids concentrating too much power in one individual.

4. Subject Matter Experts: The Knowledge Base

To ensure your product vision is firmly rooted in the current customer journey, you need subject matter experts. These individuals bring in-depth knowledge of the existing customer experience. Their expertise is invaluable when discussing the current state and envisioning improvements.

5. Voice of the Customer: Advocating for Users

While subject matter experts focus on the current state, the voice of the customer looks to the future. This role is typically a UX strategist or researcher, and it involves being attuned to the user's perspective and advocating for their needs and desires. The voice of the customer bridges the gap between the current reality and the product's future direction.

6. Product or Project Manager: Bridging the Gap to Execution

A product or project manager is another indispensable participant. Their primary goal is to ensure that the decisions made during the workshop align with the practical aspects of product development and launch. Their presence helps translate the vision into actionable plans.

The takeaway? A well-structured Product Vision Workshop requires bringing together a diverse team with clear roles. The facilitator keeps things on track, the visionary champions the idea, and the decider makes crucial decisions. Subject matter experts provide the foundation, the UX strategist/researcher advocates for users, and a product or project manager bridges the gap to execution. 

So, when planning your next Product Vision Workshop, assemble your dream team with these roles in mind and set your product on the path to success.