Roadmapping to minimize risk

What is a user roadmap?

A roadmap is a sequence of event that has two axis: time and context. Time is where the user is in the product’s experience and context is what they’re doing that brought them there. Time can be synonymous with the product’s solution and context is the problem that the user is experiencing.

Roadmap template used for Meports.com

Why roadmap?

Roadmaps allow you to validate (or disprove) your belief that this approach solves your users’ problems. It truly facilitates accelerated learning because if your hypothetical solution doesn’t address the root problem, then it’s best you determine that before writing any code. Nobody likes sunk cost.

Alright, so how do I roadmap?

  1. Begin with a brainstorm of what the solution is going to look like. Maybe you sketched it on a napkin. You just want to explore where this idea/solution will take you
  2. Identify each core moment in your proposed solutions’ experience. In the above template, each square can include Post-Its to indicate an action the user takes on the platform. Summarize each action in 2–3 words and organize them in sequence. These are 10,000 ft views so don’t commit to much time here, key is quick learning.
  3. Try to do the same thing in step #2 but for the different contexts: actions, thoughts, feelings, touchpoints, opportunities. There are plenty more these are just examples. Consider what might be most critical to the person you’re designing for.
  4. Organize each of these in the sequence of events that a user will interact with the proposed solution. Continue enhancing the roadmap by adjusting each context or time.

What are the next steps?

Awesome you made a user roadmap for a completely hypothetical solution. It’s time to test that this solution is addressing that deep pain your customer is experiencing.

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Product Manager, Software Engineer, Problem Solver https://ethansteininger.com

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