Product Mission

What is a Product Mission?

Product mission is a short statement that spells out the ultimate goal of a product. It makes clear the purpose(s) that what you’re offering serves and for whom. Succinctly, it presents the unique value a product offers. Some creativity is required to put together a compelling product mission statement. It requires finding a way to condense key information into a single sentence. It should not be a litany of all that your product does or offers.

Why You Need a Product Mission

The product mission statement is among the starting points you need to have in place when working on a product. It is important for several reasons, and we have some of these below.

Reason for being

A mission statement can easily make it clear to everyone why your product exists. It helps the team to properly understand the targeted audience and how your product serves it. Let’s take LinkedIn as an example. The company’s mission reads: “To connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.” This clearly shows that the targets are professionals and points out what the product aims to do for them.

Strategic decisions

The product mission can guide strategic decision-making. Team members can, for example, quickly decide whether initiatives are worth working on by resorting to the statement. It serves as what people related to the product, including Marketing and Advertising team members, can turn to when they want to make any strategic decision.

When contemplating a decision, anyone can quickly assess how that will impact a product’s reason for being. Product mission already makes the purpose clear; what’s then left is to simply do only things that make it achievable.

Alignment and process considerations

By communicating a product’s highest-level goal, the mission statement helps to align teams and stakeholders. This ensures that everyone has the right perspective on the work being done. The statement gives them something to assess everything against.

In addition, a product mission can be useful for improving processes. You could find it valuable for simplifying how things are done. It makes processes more efficient, leading to a more agile and adaptive company as well as superior products.

Product Mission vs. Product Vision

There is some confusion about the product mission and product vision statements. It can be somewhat hard to tell one from the other at times. People often seem to treat the two almost as the same, but it’s important to distinguish them.

The product vision is an aspirational statement describing what you intend to achieve or want your product to become in the long run. It conveys what you look forward to achieving in the future.

While some organizations may consider one as the other, a product mission statement does not address all the needs that a product vision statement does. The latter is vital for having a truly empowered product team. So it is not a case of one or the other – you need the two.

Some people have attempted to distinguish these two by describing the product mission as a statement of what you do while the product vision highlights what you aspire for. One seems to focus on today or the near-term while the other looks further into the future.

The product mission statement is usually shorter, compared to the vision statement.  As an example, Sony has for its mission statement, “A company that inspires and fulfills your curiosity” (what it does). Its vision is, “Using our unlimited passion for technology, content and services to deliver groundbreaking new excitement and entertainment, as only Sony can.”

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