When we talk about building or growing a startup, the backbone of the project is as always the product roadmap. What feature are you going to provide to your customers? When? Which one first? Are they ready to pay for it?
When I help a project to get started or even on a growing stage, it often a similar process we go through to help entrepreneur take into consideration their own desire and above all the customers’ desires.
All start from here. Defining the reason why your project exists, defining in one sentence the purpose of your project. Quite a difficult challenge! If it’s not as easy as it should be for you, let’s get down deeper on what are your values (usually the company value are representative of the founders values). So write down the key values and from it try to come up to a sentence that describe how does your startup affect the world.
This part is usually much easier than the others. The most difficult part is to ensure that you’ve explored all the possibilities and, above all, that the idea is aligned with what your customers are willing to pay for. For the ideas generation, the best way to move forward is to start from questions which you should ask your targeted customers:
Note: Never ask yes or no questions, always open questions.
If you have done the previous step right, you should have a lot of features ideas to start with. You might even imagine a product that handle all of these. At that stage, even if you had millions of dollars of investment, doing all of these would be a huge mistake.
Mainly because you need to confirm the need of these features, being sure that you’ve well implemented the first one before moving forward to the second one.
This is why prioritization is one of the most difficult parts.
Usually, you already have the right feature in your basket to succeed, but if you show the wrong one to your customer, you’ll lose him. The feature order is critical. Usually I use two steps to sort out the roadmap priority.
According to the reason why your startup exists, I like to prioritize depending on your values.
So let’s attribute a keyword that represents the value behind each feature. (example : freedom, fast, transparency, … )
Then create a post-it note for every keyword without writing down which feature is behind.
Prioritize the key value from the most important to the less important ones, regardless of the feature that it represents.
Depending on your value top chart, gather the 3 or 5 best key values and features they represent. Usually, features are quite compatible and might represent the next version you should develop.
When you’ve prioritized features according to your vision and value, try to prioritize them with the effectiveness criteria. I often use these:
When you’ve done you prioritization, through the previous steps, it’s time for you to get into action. But remember do only one step at a time and do your best to share the first step before doing the second one. As usual, feel free to share your way of doing things or ask questions here.
Thanks to Dane Maxwell’s framework from the foundation: https://thefoundation.com