We all know how vital a detailed product roadmap is to the creation of a great product. Without the shared understanding of vision, direction and priorities it provides, it can be impossible to keep everyone on your team pointed in the right direction.
Unfortunately, while many teams understand that getting their product roadmap right is a critical step in creating a successful product, they often mistakenly jump into creating solutions before thoroughly exploring the problem. These teams fail to understand that it’s the roadmapping pre-work that creates a truly standout end result.
To help the teams we work with truly understand their product's reason for being, we always host a product roadmapping workshop to lay the groundwork for the roadmap itself. We spend this strategy session defining the problem we want to solve and for whom we are solving it, considering solutions and working together to choose the best solution.
These workshops also allow our clients and stakeholders to fully flesh out their business goals, understand their competition and define metrics that will establish success.
We’ve found the following steps to be integral pre-work to creating an exceptional product roadmap:
A user persona is a fictional representation of your products ideal user. It captures their intent and the various factors that may contribute to their use of the product. It’s important for you to understand what your products ideal user struggles with and what it is they are trying to achieve, and well crafted user personas help you build an understanding of who you are designing the product for.
The first step of your workshop should be defining these user personas. If you have an established user base you should research your demographics prior to the workshop and bring as much information as possible with you to help in crafting them. If, on the other hand, your product is not yet established, you can create your user personas by determining who is most affected by the problems you are solving and needs the solutions you are creating.
In order to get to the heart of your user persona, your team should collaborate on an empathy mapping activity. The following exercise will challenge your assumptions about your product’s ideal user and help identify their wants, needs and motivations in a way that typical interviews can't.
Using all of your combined knowledge and common threads, synthesize one final user persona. It should include a name, age, and description, including the users overall goals, influences and feelings. It’s important to be specific - if you are building your product for too many people, you are building it for no one at all.
For more help with creating your user personas, you can download our User Persona Template and Guide!
Your next step is to create a user journey map. A user journey map documents the path and actions your typical user will take when using your product, including how they will be introduced to it, and when and why they will use it.
Creating a user journey map allows you to understand how your ideal user will experience your product from start to finish. It documents the value the product will provide for its users, allowing you to understand their motivations in using it and ensure you are meeting their expectations.
You can create your user journey map in 7 steps:
For more help with your user journey map, check out our User Journey Map Template and Guide!
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