How to build and manage an outcome-driven roadmap

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Building and managing a roadmap is never an easy task. It concretizes the complexity of managing a product. It is more about perspiration rather than inspiration and demands much more skill in the art of saying no than yes!

Before we start, I would like to establish the fundamental background of the five steps I have used to build and manage an outcome-driven roadmap. It is about the conception of business and product strategy, which is essential to the starting point of making all the decisions. Understanding what the goal is and how we will measure it is essential for the safety and growth of the team.

On the one hand, the roadmap needs to ensure that we are building a solid product that moves in the right direction, so we can deliver the best customer experience and meet the company’s goals.

On the other hand, it is important to clarify to the team what each team member’s responsibilities for the execution of that roadmap are. Who doesn’t like predictability and organization? Elucidating and documenting what are the expectations regarding the individual and the product’s outcomes is one of the challenges. In addition to avoiding rework, being aware that one is clearly in the right direction and knowing how to show the evolution of the results make the team engage much more with the construction of the product.

From this introduction, I will present here 5 steps, with ideas and things I consider to build and manage a roadmap of a digital product in a multidisciplinary team motivated and engaged with which is being developed and coded.

Clipping of the context

Considering which are the circumstances accompanying a fact or a situation, and at what times, scenarios or occasions something is being identified.

Seeking the context comprehension helps us form the conception of what moment of the journey is taking place, and what hypothesis of user behavior is coming out of this fact.

The impact for the user and reflection on the product

How many users are being impacted in this context? Is this group a target user of your product? Does this group have representativeness in the clusters? If so, how much % of your total base do these users represent?

What goals of your product does this impact unfold into? Are they satisfaction, conversion, engagement, or churn goals? How much do they represent in the growth and strategy of your business?

Does it have value for the user or for you?

As a product manager and responsible for engaging and directing the efforts of an entire team, what do you believe will deliver value to the user of your product with the initiatives and hypotheses for action?

Will it be tangible and clear to everyone in the team, which problem will be solved for the user and what value will be delivered through this initiative? Is this tangible?

Expectations

How many users do you expect to impact with this initiative, and which pointer do you expect to tinker with in your product? Is it possible to measure it? Which product lever will be impacted: indicators of satisfaction or of service, growth, engagement or retention?

You need, somehow, to measure what outcomes can be achieved by prioritizing them in your roadmap. If the expectations are not clear, how will you measure success? After all, deployment of feature is not the same as delivery success and will not help you scale your product.

And last but not least: review is not a step, it is a premise

Personal photography | Compass displayed at Kulturhistorisk Museum of Oslo

Be provocative, first of all to yourself!

1 - How often do you revisit your roadmap?

2 - When you make a new discovery, do you put it at the end of the initiatives that have already been mapped, or do you often reprioritize, even if it demands some effort?

3 - When a stakeholder, a head or a CEO, brings you a new idea, do you make some analysis before prioritizing it or assume that it is a killer idea to win the game?

4 - How much are you connected with the problems of your product users?

5 - Is the roadmap your guide to your work, or is your work the guide to your roadmap?

What about you? How do you (or would you) build your roadmap? Are there any steps I forgot and you would like to add?

If you want to comment and provide feedback on any point here, I will appreciate it!

I like this subject very much and I am always interested in getting to know about different ways of working with management and technology. If you have read it and want to exchange ideas about how you do the construction and management of your roadmap, contact me! I will love to have a chat.

Thank you for reading!

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