Plan for the future and make it actionable
We believe that for complex interactive products, discovering the right path is an iterative and experimental process. We also believe that truly successful product strategy is rooted in the ability to effectively set direction and get collective buy-in.
Here are some phases and key activities related to Product Strategy and Roadmapping:
Gather Your Inputs
Very often the first step to understanding a product roadmap is to figure out who will be using the product or site and what they will expect from the experience. This research brings your user’s behavior and preferences to life, and gives you the foundation you need to properly serve your target audience.
Set the Vision
With a thorough understanding of your users and their needs you can then set the overall vision for your product and track towards it. This forces buy-in from all stakeholders and gets everyone aligned on a shared direction.
Your vision can then be translated into high level objectives. Each of the items or themes on your roadmap should map back to these objectives. Having a good set of objectives helps avoid distraction and misdirection.
Clarify User Goals
Now that you understand your users and their needs, you can identify the goals they need to accomplish throughout the experience. Every component in your product should address a key user goal. It takes practice and guidance to focus here and avoid the guesswork.
Identify and Validate Solutions
With user goals in place you can then generate and test potential solutions. The solutions you develop essentially make up the features and functionality of your product. Working with actual users to validate these is a key element of the roadmapping process.
The goals and corresponding solutions now need to be translated into themes. The themes will be the items on your roadmap that help you track what your building and the high-level timing. They also provide the context you need to communicate your direction to all other stakeholders.
Before finalizing where your themes fit into your roadmap it’s important to take time to prioritize them. This effort should take into consideration the impacts of each theme on engineering, business, and human factors. From this exercise, you can ensure you’re building the right things for the right reasons.
Here’s an example of the structure of a typical roadmap.
These steps just scratch the surface of successful product strategy, but we work right along side you to implement a process that fits into your organization’s culture and takes advantage of the best practices we’ve honed and developed over years of sophisticated product work.