SAFe Product Management Learning Journey: Own your Product

Introducing visions, strategies and roadmaps at team and ART level - a case study


Client: A large global consumer brand undergoing a Lean-Agile transformation

Approach: A customized cohort programme for product managers and product owners (Agile Product Management, Product Owner SAFe Scaled Agile Framework, Flight Levels, Kanban, Scrum)

Year: 2023

Industry: Appliance manufacturing, IT

A large global consumer brand has been transforming their IT organization since 2020 and are realizing positive outcomes. Critical to this success are the roles of product management and product owner. Via our targeted learning journey concept, we supported the customer to embrace Visions, Strategies and Roadmaps on team and ART level to further elevate its IT organization. This learning journey, “Owning your product - now and in the future” which is designed and delivered by improuv is described in this case study.


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Product Management Learning Journey Overview

In large organizations, teams and Agile Release Trains (ARTs) encounter challenges in creating practical and impactful Visions, Strategies, and Roadmaps (VSR) that align with high-level objectives. The difficulty lies in translating these objectives, often buried in impractical presentations, into actionable plans for individual teams and ARTs.
The organization is committed to empowering teams by redistributing ownership of product visions, strategies and roadmaps.  

To support this they initiated this cohort program, where product owners and product managers brought up the following themes:

  • How can we create working sets of Visions, Strategies and Roadmaps (VSR) between different parts of the org.
  • How can we make the VSR “Alive” in our operation
    How can I create a VSR with impact on my own level
  • What is the practical purpose of VSR for us
  • Who is responsible for creating the VSR
  • What methods and tools can help us to define our VSR


Via definition of Vision, Strategy and Roadmap many of the participants, Product Owners, Product Managers and their teams were able to take concrete moves to increase ownership of their products.
At the end of the programme the cohort participants agreed to set up a Community of Practice for the Vision, Strategy and Roadmap, and planned a “re-meet”.

  • Owning your product via VSR:
    Participants grasped the importance of owning products through defining visions, strategies, and roadmaps.
  • Experiments with concrete result
    Experimentation with new VSRs led to improved alignment, focused prioritization, and enhanced communication with external stakeholders
  • Cohort learning means more learning
    The cohort format facilitated impactful discussions, enabling the sharing of experiment results and effective methods for crafting VSRs.
  • VSR Champions
    Created VSR champions who will spread the benefits of focussing in VSR to the wider product management / ownership community

Our approach

Collaborative learning journey as cohort

Focus on lean-agile principles

Agile Product Management Methodology

SAFe Scaled Agile Framework product management

Learning via impactful experiments

Focus on outcome

How the assignment went

In this learning journey, we delved into
  • Product Vision (the ultimate reason a product or service is developed),
  • Product Strategy (how this vision can be realized), and
  • Product Roadmaps (how we translate the product strategy into concrete action).
The collective goal was to understand how these concepts align with our organization’s setup, roles, and responsibilities. Specifically, we aimed to guide each Product Owner (PO) or Product Manager (PM) in elaborating on creating Vision, (or co-creating a “vision” when a product is “owned” by the business).
We also explored how to construct a product strategy across different teams, ARTs, and solutions, along with creating “agile” roadmaps that adapt and evolve as we deliver and learn.

The cohorts

After a kickoff session with product managers / owners, three cohort groups were formed. For each of the three cohort groups, three sessions (3 sessions per group) were run where improuv transformation coaches offered insights into the themes and facilitated collaborative learning and the sharing of experiences and experiments.

The topics for the cohort sessions were

  • Vision
  • Strategy
  • Roadmaps

Additionally, two cross-cohort sessions provided a platform for sharing and discussing experiments, experiences, and outcomes across the different cohort groups.

A number of weeks separated each session so that participants could define and implement experiments to share in the next session.

Witnessing cohort participants implement ideas in practice, observe real impact, and share their experiences was both fascinating and highly encouraging.

Product Management Learning Journey Schedule

Product Visions

The North Star vision is one that is always there, provides direction, inspires, is clear and visible, and is attainable with a stretch. It is not dependent on where you are today; it exists in the future as a guide.

Within the cohort, discussions centered around the benefits of vision, the appropriate scope for visions and strategies, practical applications, and strategies to make visions impactful. Participants formulated experiments and, in the subsequent session, shared their results. Notably, some experimented with the Product Vision Board by Roman Pichler, organizing workshops with their teams to define and align product visions and establish common goals.


The Product Strategy outlines the path that we will take to create value. The value we create may be customer value, employee value or supplier value. The strategy connects our vision to the actual products and services we deliver through our roadmap, and guides us in deciding what to do (and not do) to achieve our desired outcomes.

The cohort engaged in discussions on practical aspects such as when, how, and by whom the strategy should be created, how to manage it effectively, and methods to make it impactful. The cohort considered the strategy as an iterative learning process, promoting regular reviews and updates. Some participants experimented with impactful strategies using Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) or drawing inspiration from Flight Levels. The Flight Levels-Strategie Board was explored as a visual tool to connect actionable strategy with work items through measurable outcomes, potentially visualizing the product vision as well.


For the roadmap session we asked (for a bit of fun) ChatGTP to provide the initial statement:

  • From the top-down transition to the community of “toothless tigers” (bottom-up driven) as drivers.
  • From the hierarchically legitimized staff position (Lean-Agile Center of Excellence) to “Change is a management task. We are constantly reorganizing.” (Spotify).
  • From a new edition of a set-up for transformations (as a self-assessment tool) to studies that characterize successful transformations.

Ultimately, the roadmap serves as a crucial tool for translating the strategy into measurable and actionable steps. It provides guidance and alignment on priorities, offering a target picture to visualize the direction.
An impactful variation is thegoal oriented roadmap, which shifts the focus from features to measurable goals and outcomes.

An illustrative example showcased how a department leveraged the Goal Oriented roadmap, providing the Agile Release Train (ART) with a more comprehensive and dynamic understanding, staying ‘alive’ beyond quarterly PI planning sessions. This approach ensures everyone comprehends the ‘why’ behind their actions.
Another team planned to combine product visions, strategies and roadmaps within a Flight Levels Strategy Board to visualize the entire planning process.


Product management community

The final act was a cross-cohort meeting where participants of all cohorts shared their key learnings and takeaways, and identified their next steps. In this final session. Other product managers / product owners who did not participate in the learning program cohorts (mostly due to time constraints) had the option to join the final session and observe the outcomes.

Key Steps

#1 Product Ownership Empowerment

Focusing on Product Vision, Strategy, and Roadmap also on ART and team levels enhances ownership in large organizations.

#2 Enhanced Learning Through Collaboration

Collaborative learning, sharing insights, experiences, and experiments leads to more impactful learning experiences.

#3 Impactful Experiments

Conducting experiments and sharing results sparks ideas for implementing improvements in teams or ART/Areas.

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More on the topic

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Case study of a SAFe implementation that led to a shared product vision and team spirit.

Agile transformation at a large financial IT service provider

Case study on how transparency and self-organisation ensure sustainable change.

PI Planning at Siemens

A blog on PI Planning - from preparation to implementation.

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