“Genius is the ability to put into effect what is on your mind.” —F. Scott Fitzgerald
In this episode, Amaury and Mitchie cover how you should organize the presentation of your product roadmap to pitch to investors, incubators and accelerators.
You can download the FREE template mentioned in this episode at: https://myctofriend.co/technicalplantemplate/
- How to put your product roadmap together in a slide show to share with potential providers, investors, incubators and accelerators
- Where to download Amaury’s actual roadmap template for free
- How to present your project in a very simple way to catch the attention of your audience
- How to show how everything works and how you’re going to make money
- How to display what the customer experience is going to be and some tools you can use
- What a balanced ecosystem is and how to show that in the simplest way
- How to display the different features and versions, and prove that people are interested in your product
- Why we can’t really multi-task and what to do about it
- What are the other things you need to define for your roadmap planning
- How to integrate how each group of people in your ecosystem sees your product
- What’s the “secret sauce” and how do you add it to your roadmap
- How to show that you have control over your costs so they can trust your figures when you talk about the revenue
- Where you can get the worksheet to help you with computing for the costs
- How to best display your plan
- How to get your audience to take action
- What’s the one thing you need to keep in mind
- Roadmap – https://outoftech.com/how-development-fits-into-your-business/
- Roadmap definition – https://outoftech.com/product-roadmap-definition-process/
- Episode 9: Roadmap definition – https://myctofriend.co/9
- Amaury’s book, Startup Without a CTO – http://startupwithoutcto.com/
- FREE Startup Technical Plan Template – https://myctofriend.co/technicalplantemplate/
- Pivot – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lean_startup#Pivot
- Artificial intelligence (AI) – https://outoftech.com/building-a-startup-with-ai/
- Healthtech or medtech – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_technology_in_the_United_States
- Fintech – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Financial_technology
- Mind map – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind_map
- Brainstorming – https://outoftech.com/how-to-find-the-greatest-success-with-brainstorming/
- Customer experience – https://outoftech.com/best-practice-build-happy-customer-experience/
- Mock-up – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mockup
- Sketch – https://www.sketch.com/
- Adobe XD – https://www.adobe.com/products/xd.html
- Figma – https://www.figma.com/
- Balsamiq – https://balsamiq.com/
- Proto.io – https://proto.io/
- Moqups – https://moqups.com/
- Marvel – https://marvelapp.com/
- Customer journey – https://outoftech.com/8-key-components-for-great-technical-specifications/
- Empathy maps – https://www.copyblogger.com/empathy-maps/
- Episode 4: Build your business vision – https://myctofriend.co/4
- Episode 5: Know your customer – https://myctofriend.co/5
- Ecosystem – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Startup_ecosystem
- Episode 9: Roadmap definition – https://myctofriend.co/9
- Wireframe – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Website_wireframe
- Prototyping – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_prototyping
- Meetup – https://www.meetup.com/
- Agile methodology – https://myctofriend.co/askmycto/how-do-i-write-the-specifications/
- Why is it so hard to talk with developers? – https://outoftech.com/why-is-it-so-hard-to-talk-with-developers/
- Landing page – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landing_page
- Airbnb – https://www.airbnb.com/
- Specifications – https://outoftech.com/how-to-turn-an-idea-into-a-startup-specification/
- Episode 8: From an idea to an innovative startup – https://myctofriend.co/8
- Freelancer or employee? What does your startup really need? – https://outoftech.com/freelancer-or-employee-what-does-your-startup-really-need/
- Project Quotation Worksheet – https://myctofriend.co/project-quotation-worksheet/
- Startup Roadmap Definition course – https://members.myctofriend.co/p/startup-roadmap-definition/
- My CTO Friend website – https://myctofriend.co/
- Key performance indicator (KPI) – https://outoftech.com/kpi-the-answer-to-almost-every-entrepreneurs-questions/
- Incubator – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_incubator
- Project planning – https://outoftech.com/project-planning-startup-style/
- Accelerator – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Startup_accelerator
- Internet of Things (IoT) – https://outoftech.com/could-low-bandwith-be-the-wave-of-the-future
- Technical plan – https://myctofriend.co/free-startup-course/
- Tech management – https://myctofriend.co/products/
- Episode 10: How to pitch and present your roadmap – https://myctofriend.co/10
- Prototyping without digital tools – https://outoftech.com/prototyping-without-digital-tools/
- Episode 11: Your first MVP with almost no tech – https://myctofriend.co/11
- My CTO Friend the Podcast on iTunes – https://myctofriend.co/itunes
Read the transcript
Mitchie Ruiz: Welcome to Episode 10 of My CTO Friend the Podcast, where founders come to learn how to manage a tech startup. This is Mitchie Ruiz, and I’m with Amaury Khelifi. Hi, Amaury.
Amaury Khelifi: Hi, Mitchie. And welcome, startupers, to today’s podcast. In this episode, we are going to explain how to present a product roadmap to investors, incubators or accelerators. In the previous episode, we covered how to define your roadmap, and today we are going to learn how to present it properly.
Mitchie: Exactly. Now remember that for this first series of the podcast, we are working our way down Amaury’s book [Startup Without a CTO], going through the tips and real startup experiences that he’s gathered throughout the years. So if you’re a founder without a technical background, listen up, because you’re in the right place.
Now, let’s just go ahead and jump right in. Last time, on the roadmap definition part of things, we left things at putting it all in a slideshow. And we talked about, of course, a template to share with possible providers, investors and accelerators. Can you explain a little bit more about this template?
Amaury: The first way of seeing things is to understand what people want to know. When you’re a startup, when you have a project, you will need some help from incubators, accelerators and investors. And in order to be serious about your project and to be seen as a potential success, you need to be clear on what you have to do and what you want to achieve.
So what do people want to know? They want to know who you are; why your project, why your idea is so amazing; what strengths, knowledge or resources you have in order to get it done. And it comes down to just general business knowledge, marketing knowledge, presentation of the idea, as well as getting deep into, “I need this type of resources, I need this type of profile, this type of technologies, and I’m going to do things in this right order in order to make it.”
Mitchie: Exactly. And you have something to provide to our listeners today and to people that go into myctofriend.co, which is an actual roadmap template.
Amaury: Yeah, absolutely. You’re going to find the link in the notes. I combined and I built the template over the years, after helping dozens of startups build their roadmap. And yeah, I just put everything in a PowerPoint template, and you can go through it directly through the link. Maybe just flip it through to see how to get started.
First things first, the project positioning. This is exactly where you are going to present your project in a very short way. Like with a baseline, a simple sentence with maybe six to eight words, that would be the best thing, in order to catch just the attention of your audience.
Mitchie: Right. And on this project positioning, people should have more of a deep understanding of their project. We’ve talked about pivoting in previous episodes. If they do have some sort of pivot in the future for them, or if they do have multiple paths or opportunities in their brainstorming, they should get to what’s the core of their value, not just defined by each path.
Amaury: Yeah, usually first thing is you are not going to pivot right off the bat. And that’s not something that you plan, usually. You pivot when something goes wrong or is not as good as you thought, and then you find another opportunity that could be good to develop. But what’s going to be the core of your roadmap is that maybe you’re going to change, for a bit, the positioning, one version after another.
Maybe at the beginning, as we mentioned, as an example, a language app, maybe you are just going to have a simple flash cards application where people will just guess how to say things. And then you will add more features, more technologies, maybe artificial intelligence [AI]. So that’s basically the global positioning of the project that you need to present in a very simple manner, kind of an eye-catching manner, in order to interest people.
And maybe putting below few technologies like we said, artificial intelligence, but there can be also some keywords that are well known and used like healthtech, medtech, fintech. There are lots of words that can be interesting to use, some buzzwords in some way. And it’s not only using those words, but also justifying why you use those words and how they are relevant to your project.
Mitchie: Yes, there are a lot of projects that might have a lot of buzzwords in the title, and that will probably not be as promising for investors and accelerators. Because the minute they ask, “Why did you use this?” you don’t have an answer for it. So make sure you know what you’re putting in the baseline, and that you can actually justify it with your project.
Amaury: Yeah, and we do this from the first slide of your project.
Mitchie: Yes. Now, let’s move on to the basic business model. So the next thing that we’re going to show is how things work.
Amaury: Yeah, how are we going to make money? How does everything work? And you should put a kind of a diagram. I like having some kind of workflow with arrows with where things start, where people move, showing the entire thing. And that will help people to get a better understanding on what is the value that you provide to people, and what are the different ways that you are going to generate revenue. That’s the key. And again, simple things, drawings using schema, using diagram, to make it very easy to understand.
Mitchie: Yes, so visual aids in this part, main thing. Visual aids are something that we use throughout the presentation, throughout the template, I must say. But in some other ways, it’s more like a simple mind map or a simple, let’s say, table of contents. In other ways, like this one would be more of an actual diagram, an actual drawing that helps you understand the business model.
Amaury: Yeah. There isn’t any brainstorming place in this type of content, in this type of presentation, because now you might settle down and funnel down to the actual plan. It’s not a matter of showing all the ideas that you came up with, the crazy ideas you came up with. It’s showing the essential of what your project is. It’s like our mobile phone. On our mobile phone, we have thousands of pictures, but maybe there is only three or four that are very important. Show just the best ones.
Mitchie: Exactly. So the visual aid is to communicate, mostly. Let’s move on a little bit. We covered how it all works, the general business model. We move on to customer experience. How should our listeners display what their customer experience is going to be?
Amaury: Well, if you catch their attention during the first two slides, they might want to know more about your application, how it’s going to work, even technically speaking. And the first thing to introduce will be some mock-ups of your application. You’re going to describe how your application looks like from the client perspective. Doing mock-ups with tools like—we can name Sketch, Adobe XD, Figma, Balsamiq, Proto.io. There’s Moqups, there’s Marvel as well, and dozens of other tools that are very good to create mock-ups.
You can even create clickable mock-ups in some way that you can demonstrate a fake application, I would say, and that will show real customer experience. So if you do this presentation, like if you send a PDF, you just display several screens. Now if you have a chance to do a real time or in-person presentation, maybe integrating a kind of a video of that mock-up might be useful as well so that they will see the entire thing, the entire experience from the customer perspective.
Mitchie: Wonderful. Now, on this part of the customer-experience display, we should tell our listeners that they could be guided through the customer journey map and the empathy map that we’ve worked on and build your business vision. If I’m not mistaken, that would be Episode 4 of the podcast.
Mitchie: That’s right, Know Your Customer. Exactly. So this is pretty much—again, we’ve already worked through the roadmap, we’ve already done the work that you’re going to display here. But you are basing all of the visual aids that you’re using to communicate and the slides that you’re going to design, you are basing all of that in the work that we’ve covered in previous episodes.
Let’s go to the ecosystems. So we’ve talked about a balanced ecosystem in the roadmap definition. I would like to cover a little bit more what that means and how do you usually display it on a template.
Amaury: Well, usually when you build up the business, you will have several parties. You will have you as a company, clients. But if you are a marketplace, you can have sellers, you can have partners. From each point of view, you need to balance the desires of people to provide real result, real achievement of what they were looking for, and you might ask them to contribute.
As an example, if you want someone to subscribe to your website, to your offer, you might provide them something. That might be just a PDF e-book, that might be a first service. You need to always exchange value. We are not talking about money yet, but exchanging value. You want their email, you want to be allowed to send them an email. That’s an authorization. They need to give it to you. You need to give them something in return. And we need to do that from each perspective.
In the previous example, we were mentioning the customer experience, the customer workflow. But if you are a marketplace, as an example, it will be required to also create the journey of the sellers. And the seller will have some different wireframes, different screens that we need to move on, one after the other. And that might be another extra slide if you have several types of clients for your ecosystem for your entire application.
And in this ecosystem slide, the goal is to just put a table for clients, what they are going to contribute, what desire the most and what result they are going to get. Same thing for sellers, same thing for partners. And you can do, as well, the same thing for you. You contribute by providing maybe a software solution, and maybe you can get some money in exchange. Or you gather information, user information. You can build a database of lots of information that you might evaluate later, maybe by selling statistics. There are so many monetization ways when we build a startup.
Mitchie: So just going a little bit back on what you said. The customer journey and the empathy map that we’re going to show on the customer experience, that should consider various users. And going back here to the ecosystem, we should have every single party involved in your application. They should have a desire, a contribution and received value by and for your product. And it should all be displayed as clearly as possible. Table is the most straightforward version.
Amaury: Yeah, maybe if I would be a designer, I would propose another way. But for now, yeah, the table is the easiest way.
Mitchie: Perfect. So just on the side, on the left, you can have desires, contribution, received value. And just on the top, different columns would be your different users—that’s just a suggestion.
Let’s talk about getting into the actual roadmap. So we’ve talked about the customer experience and all of that, and how people are going to use it. But what about when we’re talking about the roadmap definition in the last episode. Let’s dive into all of the work that we did on that episode, and all of those different exercises. If you haven’t heard it, I suggest you go back and hear it, Episode 9. Let’s dive into the real roadmap. So we have different versions that we’ve already prioritized features. How do you even begin displaying all of that?
Amaury: The first thing is to use, one more time, a table. One column for each version. Let’s assume that you have kind of a prototype or maybe an offline business that would be the Version 0, for example, or maybe a simple landing page where you describe how you did things. I mentioned an example of flash cards in a language application. We can keep using that as an example. Maybe the Version 0 of your business would be physical flash cards or PDF, or maybe a very simple website that turns pages when you click on it and be sure that you learn things. Or it can be also offline meetings like Meetup where you teach people, thanks to flash card games. You can imagine so many things.
But don’t always focus on digital versions for the Version 0. We’re going to talk about that deeper in a future episode. And the goal of the prototyping phase is to prove that you have a business, to prove that people are interested in what you propose, and that’s basically the goal of this version. So now when it comes to planning your entire roadmap, of course, you are going to plan two, three, four versions ahead, and one column for each, and you’re going to mention what is the focus of each version.
Mitchie: We start with the focus. Like you mentioned on Version 0, the focus would be to prove that the application or the product actually does have a reason of existence. And so, building an audience and proving that there is an audience for your product would basically be the focus of Version 0, I would say.
Amaury: Yeah, absolutely. And then you do exactly the same for the following version. Like for the flash card app, for the Version 1, it could be just building the very first flash card app and translating what you were doing offline into a simple application. Cheap application, but that works and that does the essential. And then Version 2, you can replicate the Version 1 of the application in maybe other languages, and not only teaching English but other languages.
And then adding a better algorithm on the Version 3, maybe with artificial intelligence, for example. And if we can imagine a Version 4, what else can we add? We can add maybe real one-on-one conversations with other countries. Because you can connect people with each other, and they can spend maybe 15 minutes on each language.
That’s basically the focus of a roadmap. And every time you create a new version, and we can find that in Agile methodologies as well, when it comes to talking with developers, you should always have a focus. You define the roadmap for the next month, for the next two weeks in terms of development, what is the focus.
Being focused, it’s not only about a startup or the roadmap, it’s in life in general. We are not able to multitask. Multitasking does not exist. That what I believe. I believe that when we multitask, we just switch from one task to another, and we waste a lot of energy switching from one to another. So that is exactly the same when you build a startup, when you build a business. If you have an application with lots of features, just decide which one you focus on. You build this one, you test it, you present it to your clients, and then you move on.
Mitchie: Perfect. Now this would be the first one. And something that I do want to add, when you’re talking about focus and displaying a main focus for each version, is that this is the beginning of your journey, for you listeners, as a startup founder, to start speaking the language of the developers. The way that developers think and the way that providers think whenever they’re going through these types of projects is in this way.
You have this focus and you base all of your development goals, all of your business goals, all of your networking goals and customer goals—you based it on that main one. So this is a way that you can translate your entrepreneur state of mind into a way that developers can actually relate and can actually identify what they need to do to help you get to that place. So a very good thing to start speaking the developer’s language, because that is something that I’ve learned with you. It is a big source of conflict and we are going to talk about that in the future.
Let’s just go ahead and move on. So the first thing for roadmap planning is you need to define your focus. Great, we’ve done that. Let’s go ahead and move on to the other two, because we do have other two things that we need to define for at least this slide in your presentation. What’s the second one?
Amaury: Yeah, focus is the why—why you are building this and what you are going to do, and what do you need to focus on. And you need to translate that into the client point of view. And the best way I found was to just write down what would be the baseline you would find on your website on each version. Today on your landing page, what is the baseline that you have. Like, “Learn English with Flash Cards,” for example. It could be for offline meeting as well. Then next it’s going to be, “Simple and Intelligent App to Learn English for French Speakers.”
And you need, at the same time, not only to define the baseline, but the third element of the roadmap would be who are you talking to. Are you talking to just people that are in your city for the Version 0, for example? For the Version 1, maybe it’s people that are in your country. And then you are going to grow and define several countries on Version 2. Version 3, maybe there’s going to be even more countries, before it’s going to be the entire world on the last version. And every time you’re going to do this, you need to update what would be the baseline, what would be the single big sentence that will be on your main website when I come to your XYZ.com website.
Mitchie: And they are developed simultaneously. Because you do have a focus, a main focus and some idea of what your targeted customer is going to be. But your baseline changes depending if you change your focus or if you change your targeted customer. So you should have all of that clearly stated in a slide. Just a snack that someone can look at and know exactly what you’re going through, and what you want to go through.
Amaury: Absolutely. And we can assume that in Version 3, for example, your baseline would be like, “Learn New Languages with Artificial Intelligence.” That just makes sense. And that’s going to show what the advantages of your solution are because now you have that artificial intelligence, which was not the case for the first versions. And for the first versions, the value proposition was a bit different. The level of the value proposition was a bit different and so is your pricing too.
Mitchie: Now something that I did want to add is, technically speaking, you are adding features to the next versions. And something that we were speaking about when we were preparing for this podcast interview was that the baseline, technically speaking, you would be adding more and more. So for example, for Version 4 baseline, you would have the same baseline of Version 0, Version 1, Version 2 and Version 3.
But in practical matters, whenever you are actually creating a baseline in the website, you are not simply listing the different types of values that you’re able to provide, but you’re encompassing a more extended version of that value. So like we mentioned, we can have “Learn English with Flash Cards” in Version 0. But when you go all the way to Version 4, you have “Master Languages with AI and Real Native Conversation Buddies.” So you can cover a lot more and you really are expanding the amount of value that you are providing, expanding the number of customers that you can, let’s say, reach out to. But the baseline is not just listing, now we have AI, now we have French speakers, now we have other kinds of speakers. You are going to cover it in a more creative way, in a more lyrical way. That is your pitch.
So it does change fundamentally, but it is adding and making sure that what you’re adding makes sense. And that’s something I just thought about actually, towards the Version 4, if you’ve added features that don’t have much to do with each other, or they don’t build up the same vision that you had towards the beginning, that baseline is not going to be as easy to produce, Version 4 baseline, if you’re adding features that don’t connect yet, you need to be building something that is cohesive along the way. And that’s something you should have been able to do and prioritize in your features.
Amaury: Yeah, you’re right. You need to add features to create better versions, but at the same time, your baseline needs to be shorter and shorter. I don’t remember the baseline of Airbnb, but I’m pretty sure it’s maximum four words. Which is amazing, because now they have hundreds of features in their platform. The more you move forward in versions, the more you communicate on your vision compared to what you really provide. And that’s the thing. In the beginning, we were mentioning “Simple and Intelligent Tools to Learn English,” as an example. And then after, it’s going to be “Learn Languages with AI.” That might be the thing and that might be more focused on the differentiating point of your application.
Mitchie: Perfect. That’s lovely, and we do have a lot of value that we covered there. Let’s talk about the features, because we’ve already focused, wrote the website baseline and talked about the targeted customer. Now we’re still making sure that each version is properly displayed, we need to make a list of detailed features.
Amaury: Yes. You need to basically list all the features, not in a very detailed way, but the features that you have in mind for each version. And then, what I usually recommend is to create a dedicated slide for the next version. Because the next version is more a to-do list. That is what you are going to plan and you need to be more specific, kind of having real specifications on how are things going to happen, how things are going to be combined all together in order to provide the ecosystem the value to all the people that are going to use your application—sellers, buyers.
Mitchie: And this amount of detail wouldn’t be necessary for the future version because that would change.
Amaury: Yes, absolutely. And when you do this, don’t always think about clients and partners, but as well as features that might be required for you as a company. Like having an administrator back office would help you to manage and to have access to your clients who subscribed and in managing subscriptions. You might need some kind of back-office interface in order to help you deal, on a daily basis, with your business.
Mitchie: So not just focused on the customer experience, but all of the users including yourself, very important. Let’s move on. So next. We’ve talked about the features, we’ve displayed the roadmap. What’s next? What are we going to talk about next?
Amaury: We mentioned the vision of the project. There is a business vision. You can describe that to an accelerator. But the vision and how people are going to see you will be totally different depending on who they are. A client might just see Airbnb as a way of just booking a night, a bed and breakfast somewhere at quite a cheap price, and that’s it. While an apartment owner will see Airbnb as a way of generating extra revenue. And partners might see it in a different way, because maybe they are going to generate some cross-selling.
So it’s important to have a vision for your application, but as well as trying to integrate how people are going to see you and what they are going to think about you. And what do you want them to think about you. And that’s the way you also position a project. Not only with a single baseline for everyone, but trying to define what would be the “why” of your application, the vision of your application for each group of people that are going to see you, and that are going to be in your ecosystem.
Mitchie: Exactly. Great. The vision that you mentioned there, I hadn’t made that connection yet. Connecting it to the business vision that you as a founder are making, that’s pretty much it. If you’re writing how your clients for your app, that’s a vision that they have from your company. That’s an idealized way of looking at it, I think, but I hadn’t connected those dots, so it’s really nice to hear that.
Alright. Then next, we have, talking a little bit about how clients for your app, we have the secret sauce. What’s the secret sauce? Did we turn into a cooking podcast all of a sudden?
Amaury: No, no. Not yet. Maybe one day. When you talk about investors, they need to know why: why you instead of the 10 other startups that are waiting along the line. In that case, you need to provide some facts. The fact that you have this understanding of this technology or the fact that you know exactly how to access a market or a certain audience. So the fact that you have a secret to kind of build a business model in a shorter way that has never been possible.
That’s the secret sauce. That is what is going to differentiate you from the competition, so making the competition kind or irrelevant, if we think about the Blue Ocean Strategy. That’s what you need to describe in a single slide. And that will lead you down the road onto the next one. I recommend you to put a technology planning, but it could be a secret sauce planning as well, where you are going to move your strategy from one to another.
First, you are maybe going to add more value by just having a real understanding of your market. Then you are going to do some data analysis. And then you are going to move to artificial intelligence, for example. That’s going to help a lot to have that planning and the technology planning that next is going to be connected to the budget of your application of each version to, of course, all the features you have and that you plan on your project, as well as the planning in terms of time.
Mitchie: Perfect. So, secret sauce, you need to explain and display why you’re special, why you. Something I do want to cover from our prep interview is that this has a lot to with our Episode 8: From an Idea to an Innovative Startup. We talked there about three categories of innovation, and how you can base exactly on these categories how your project is going to be innovative.
And this is where the secret sauce comes in to play. The innovation that you’ve decided to work on, or your secret sauce exactly, the main thing, the core value of what your innovative startup is, that’s what you’re going to provide in the secret sauce slide. And regarding the technology planning, that still has to be displayed. The technologies that you are going to use are part of your secret sauce because you are a tech startup. So it’s about innovating with the technologies you’re going to use. After technology planning, you mentioned costs.
Amaury: Yes, because costs are, you know, that’s what makes business. You have costs, you have revenues. And you have to show that you have a real control of the costs, so that maybe they can trust you in order to trust your figures when you talk about revenues as well. So the cost will be very simple. You need to have a cost per version. On each version, you need to know how much it costs for each feature, roughly, and you also need to know the type of profile you will need, like developers, front-end developers, Web designers, project managers. And that will lead you to understand and to know if you need to hire someone. Like if you need 800 days in the upcoming year to build your application, maybe you will need to hire a couple of people.
Mitchie: Or move to another planet that has 800 days. No, you need multiple people. Startups don’t work that well in Mars.
Amaury: But for some projects, and especially for the early versions, maybe just 10 or 20 days might be enough. And in that case, just hiring a freelancer will be enough. And then you will see later to maybe hire someone full-time or part-time.
Mitchie: Wonderful. So, this is something that you’ve already gone through, for you listeners, through the roadmap definition episode. Last episode, Episode 9, we’ve gone through the costs and the worksheet that you could use if you have access or if you’ve purchased access to the [Startup] Roadmap Definition course on myctofriend.co, which if you haven’t, I would dearly suggest you do. So by having that in the worksheet, you are translating that into the slides by first the features, like you mentioned and then the role. You would have two slides for each one and for each version each.
Amaury: Yes, and the features come with the versions, the global cost of each version.
Mitchie: And you mentioned before on our prep-interview, something about work packages. So that would be on the feature separation of the costs.
Amaury: Yeah, when we talk about work package, it’s when you gather features all together in one thing. Developing the back office might be one package. Developing the algorithm to improve the flash cards mechanism, that would be another package. You can split a package depending what you are going to build. We recommend, of course, to not have too big packages, so that you can analyze and prioritize. Like, your investors at some point would say, “I don’t want to invest 50K in your application, but I can invest 40. What do you remove?”
And in that case, you are going to maybe play things around and move features from Version 1 to Version 2 in order to fit to the budget that you actually have. We cannot fulfill all your desires even as a founder, and you will need to just play and readapt this. And having the cost and being very clear about the costs will help a lot.
Mitchie: Wonderful. Now after that, we have direct planning. We’re displaying our planning. How do we do that?
Amaury: The planning is all about goals. Something that you can measure as a result. So the best way to have planning is to define what you’re going to do on each version. Basically, a rough reminder of what you plan to do, what’s going to be the focus. And above all, what would be the KPI [key performance indicator]—when will you know that you reached the goal of each version. And those goals—I know investors and incubators like seeing goals in terms of business or in terms of audience. Like having X number of users and X number of paying clients. We can talk about money as well. That’s a very pragmatic goal, and that speaks to everyone.
Mitchie: Now in general, would you suggest for startup founders to have only those KPIs displayed in the roadmap presentation? Should they have more KPIs for themselves or for their team?
Amaury: You can have many KPIs. Just developing the features of your application is a single KPI, because you did it or you didn’t. But when we plan and when we talk about the project planning, usually we focus more on the business side of things, because all the development aspects have been already covered in the previous slides. And it’s not about repeating ourselves and putting again and again what features you’re going to develop. Each slide should have a specific goal in your presentation.
Mitchie: Perfect. Now we’ve done the project planning, I feel like we’re almost done. Is there anything else?
Amaury: Yes, there is one more thing. It’s why did you show this slideshow? Why did you present your project to this person? And that comes back to the call to action that you are aiming them to take. Is it that you want to meet them in person? Maybe you want to join an accelerator. Maybe you’re going to get some funds. Just be clear on what you are looking for, and that’s going to help and that’s going to make the discussion happen. That’s basically one of the things that you need to keep in mind.
Mitchie: Wonderful. Now let’s go ahead and do a little summary of what we’ve covered so far, which is, you know, a lot. But of course, if you do have access to the template that we are going to provide on myctofriend.co, you will be able to follow this. Let’s just go ahead and see.
We’ve talked about project positioning—how to display your one-sentence pitch and the technologies you would use to make your project innovative. We talked about how the product works, who gets what, overall business model. We’ve talked about the user experience and how you should help yourself with mock-ups and wireframes. We’ve also covered a few of the tools that you could use for that. Project ecosystem and having a balanced ecosystem for each party in your app or in your project and your product. The roadmap with baselines and features for each version. A detailed description of the next version on only the next version. The others might change in the future. Long-term vision of the ecosystem and who is going to get what, more specifically.
Of course, the secret sauce, and not a cooking recipe. Secret sauce is what makes you special. And you connect that also to, again the technologies that you are going to use, the technology planning. And then we cover the costs and the planning for each version. And this is where you display the resources that you may need, which role you’re going to use, which features you’re going to develop and how much they’re going to cost. And of course, towards the end the call for action—the KPIs and the call for action.
Amaury: Absolutely, yeah. And there is one more thing I would like to add. When you do this type of exercise, when you prepare this roadmap presentation—and the roadmap presentation as we mentioned is just a part of the big pitch that you are going to do in-front of investors. You need to be maybe more detailed in your market analysis—that’s not the topic of this podcast in general. We cover more and we teach about the technical aspect of leading a tech startup. But there is one thing that I would like you to recommend.
Always focus on who you are going to pitch to. If you are going to pitch to an incubator, which is very tech-related, an IoT [Internet of Things] incubator, your presentation should be focused on your tech planning, showing all the technologies you want to do. Now if you’re more pitching to an investor to finance your business development, or if you are going into an accelerator to organize all the global organization of you company and not only the technical aspect, then your presentation would be more focused on real business KPIs, on countries you want to develop, on maybe global features that you are going to be able to sell in an extra package, really being focused on the business side of things.
So always focus on what people are looking for, and then you will have a better discussion. And it’s not mandatory to communicate about everything you do, just about what interests people that you are talking to.
Mitchie: That’s really good advice. I you only pitch the technologies or if you focus only on the technologies to a bunch of businesspeople, they won’t be able to recognize the value of your project in the way that they can actually connect to and relate, and judge based on their experience and their expertise. Businesspeople don’t know anything about tech in this aspect, or they don’t know enough to know that that’s going to be a good product.
Great advice. As you mentioned, we do focus more on tech management and how to teach startup tech founders to deal with the challenges of doing a tech startup, but the roadmap presentation is still part of that. And I’m sure they can find a lot of resources for pitching, for marketing. But for tech management specifically, I would suggest myctofriend.co. I maybe a little biased because I work on it, but myctofriend.co has all of the content you may ever need. There’s so much in there.
Amaury: And regarding today’s topics, you can get on myctofriend.co/10, where you will find all the links, the tools, the roadmap template as well that were mentioning. You can download it there. And yeah, reminder as well, if you are interested in pre-ordering my book, you can do it on startupwithoutcto.com. And if you do it in a short amount of time, you’re going to get not only the printed copy of the book, but also the PDF, the digital version of the book two months before the official launch.
Mitchie: Wonderful. So what are we talking about next time, Amaury?
Amaury: So now that we know what to do, we have this presentation ready, next time we’re going to talk about the prototyping without investment. Because we were covering about the Version 0, we were talking about how to get started without investing, without developing. I want to get deeper into that technique, mentioning several tools that you can use in Episode 11, the next one.
Mitchie: Wonderful. Well, thank you so much, Amaury, for this conversation. It was filled with values. Very informative, to be honest.
Amaury: Thank you, Mitchie, for your time as well. And I look forward to hanging out again next time for the next topic.
Mitchie: Me too. Thank you, everyone, for listening. Until next time.
Amaury: And leave us a small review on iTunes, that’s going to be very helpful. We’re going to really appreciate it. Thanks again, and talk to you again soon. Bye.