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The Fountain Institute

Aligning with a Project Vision Statement

published3 months ago
1 min read

Dear Reader,

How do you start big projects with lots of stakeholders?

It's tough to know where to begin.

It's week 1 of Defining UX Strategy, and this week, we're talking about a concept that can help you align strategy and innovation projects before you even start.

To make sure we start down the right path, we use a technique called the Project Vision Statement.

Q: What's a Project Vision Statement?

A project vision statement helps you externalize your aspirations for the project. It allows you to do a bit of alignment on a project before you get too far forward.

Most importantly, it helps you avoid getting too far down the wrong path.

In strategy or speculative design or any future-oriented design practice, you make assumptions about the future. A vision for the project is a great starting point for any strategy or innovation project.

Strategy projects don’t usually start with prescriptive design briefs like many UX projects. Strategy projects are open-ended, often starting with an internal design-team problem or an external opportunity.

Most internal stakeholders will have a limited idea of the depth and scope of a UX strategy, so a project vision statement is even more important for UX strategies. This vision statement will serve as your brief.

Criteria for a project vision statement:

  • 1-2 sentences
  • Future-oriented
  • Contains assumptions and aspirations
  • Doesn't name a specific solution yet
  • Describes "where you want to be" at the end of the project
  • Time-bound

Even presidents have to check if they have a shared vision sometimes:

Examples of Design-Specific Project Vision Statements

  • “We want to unify the user experience of iPhone and Mac before the release of OS X El Capitan.”
  • “Let’s provide more user control in our app within the year. That way we can take advantage of our new machine-learning tech.”
  • “We need to make the user experience more social in Q4. Let’s integrate social hangouts into the UX to compete with our competitor’s “live hangouts” functionality.

Project vision statements require voicing your assumptions, but it's good to be open with your assumptions. Assumptions tend to pile up if not expressed...

By expressing your assumptions and aspirations in a vision statement, you show others the direction you plan to take. The vision statement lets stakeholders check to see if your vision is a shared vision.

Having a shared vision is key. It's a way to stay aligned in any complicated design project.

You can use Project Vision Statements to align on a shared vision before you start a project!

Jeff Humble
Designer & Co-Founder
The Fountain Institute

P.S. We just announced this month's meetup: Designing Websites for Sustainability. The amazing Lizzie Hamblin, Lead UI designer at Drum Studios is giving us a live case study about how she reduced the carbon footprint of her company's website in a recent redesign.