In other news, I’ve recently switched roles to being a Product Owner. As this is a new team, I tasked myself with creating a mission and vision for the team that we can buy in to and that we can use to set expectations with our stakeholders. This isn’t the first time I’ve conducted such a workshop (last time as an Agile Coach, this time as a PO), so I thought I would share with you how I do it. I’m keen to hear any questions or feedback you might have 🙂
Ask the question – “why is it important for us to have a mission and a vision?”. Hopefully you should get some answers like:
- To manage expectations with stakeholders
- Have a sense of purpose, be attached to how why we exist / deliver value
- A tool to guide and challenge what we do
To help the team understand this concept, I explained it through a diagram that I drew on a whiteboard:
Vision (15 – 20 mins)
First start by providing some context around why the team exists. It can be useful to provide the vision of your department/company also, to help the team think about why we’re here together.
Now challenge the team to think ahead in time, whether it be 6 – 12 months or 4 years from now, its up to you. After this length of time, what does our ideal state look like? Ask the team to write down some attributes or statements that describe this ideal world. (hint: Try to focus on the customer!)
- Cluster these statements and give them a name
- Facilitate turning them into a vision statement, try writing a few and picking out the best one (or the best elements of them and consolidating)
Our team owns the release infrastructure for our desktop client. This is what it looked like for us:
This was then distilled to:
“Developing with quality for desktop is effortless and provides fast feedback. Releases are frequent and uneventful.”
Mission (30 mins)
Now that we’ve agreed on where we want to go, we now need to formulate a statement of how we’re going to get there. Start by brainstorming (with post-its) the following questions:
- Who are we building software for?
- What do we do/build?
- Why (maybe even apply 5 whys)
Now that we have some context, remind the team about what a mission statement is and ask them to formulate a mission statement in isolation. A good structure to use is:
“We’re doing X(what), for Y(who), because Z(why)”
Remind the team that setting the mission statement is about focus. There will always be secondary stakeholders, distractions and other things we do that don’t quite fit. The trick is to be able to remind ourselves the primary thing we are doing, in order to set priority of our work and manage expectations of stakeholders. This is about focus.
After viewing different statements, we picked the aspects we liked and arrived on:
Agree on both the mission and vision. Is this an accurate depiction of where we want to be and how we want to get there? It doesn’t have to be perfect, we can change it later.
How do you feel about running such a workshop with your team? Have you tried something different? Tell us in the comments! 🙂
(In case anyone is wondering, the featured image is the view from our offsite where we ran this workshop – Stockholm is a beautiful city!)