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7. Techniques

7.24 Visioning

Agile Extension to the BABOK® Guide

Visioning is used to determine the desired outcome for an initiative worded in a concise and approachable manner.

The purpose of an initiative is to deliver value towards an organization's business goal. Visioning creates aspirational guidance that is used to understand if efforts align to desired outcomes and add value. Visioning facilitates a shared understanding of the strategy for the organization or initiative. Visioning allows the team to orient all work towards the vision.

An initiative achieves value when it delivers value that contributes to an organization's business goals, for example

  • increasing or protecting revenue,

  • creating a new opportunity,

  • reducing or avoiding costs,

  • reducing or avoiding risks,

  • meeting regulatory obligations,

  • improving customer experience and brand awareness,

  • implementing a marketing strategy, or

  • developing staff.

Examples of good vision statements include:

  • NASA vision: Put a man on the moon.

  • Apple iPod vision: All your music in one place in your pocket.

  • Renovate my kitchen using the same layout but modern finishes and style.

  • Increase application completion and shorten time for completion through the web experience.

.1 Vision Statement

Business value is to be expressed as a range or set of benefits. The evolution of clarity about business value increases understanding of why a solution is needed. An important aspect of expressing business value is the conversation that generates the shared understanding.

The vision consists of a simple statement represented visually with images or words which conveys the goal and scope for the initiative.

.2 Vision Exercise

Business analysis practitioners facilitate a vision exercise session with key stakeholders to determine the vision statement. Exercises such as Product Box and Product Differentiation Statement can be particularly useful.

.3 Impact Metrics

This is specific information which can be measured objectively and will indicate whether the organization is achieving the vision for the initiative. These are often correlating metrics, not causation metrics.

.1 Strengths

  • Specifies what is considered in and what is out for the product or initiative.

  • Focuses the team and stakeholders on the organizational value to be achieved.

  • Helps the organization decide when enough product is delivered to stop working on this initiative.

.2 Limitations

  • Teams may treat Visioning as a check-the-box activity by initially facilitating and identifying good information, but fail to reference or refine later based on feedback and learning.

  • The visioning effort provides no value if the team does not use the information for decision making and prioritization.

  • While Visioning can align and motivate people, it can also lead to confirmation bias if people attach to one solution and fail to learn from evidence.

  • The best Visioning depends on the imagination, diversity, trust, and ability to collaborate in the group. Otherwise, the vision can lead the team to make wrong decisions.

  • Visioning can lead to people narrowing focus to one solution instead of exploring many options.