How to build a design-driven Roadmap

Design credits: https://dribbble.com/rizalbgjd

Do you have a roadmap?

Many tech teams and startups consider building a product roadmap.

It’s an excellent method to show potential/existing users where your ship is heading in the foreseeable future.

A product roadmap is also vital to keep your internal team motivated and on-track.

There are many great ways how to build a product roadmap.

In this article, I will teach you how to build a “Design-first User-driven roadmap”!

Read away…

1) Plan & Design before you call the builders

The smartest way to build meaningful software products is to design it before you make it.

Play and validate each new feature with your designers even before it hit your roadmap.

🔹 Once it’s hashed out and it screams “value,” — it’s time to put it on the roadmap backlog.

🔹 Then assign a priority to each feature and assume a start and due date.

Note: Keep this roadmap separate from the active and planned sprints that your devs work on!

Want a useful tool for this: I recommend ClickUp for project management and the roadmap.

2) Let your users build it!

Open a feedback forum (Like canny.io) where customers and users can add new feature ideas or upvote existing ones.

This will keep your feature priority user-driven.

Instead of relying on your gut and feeling, you will let your user decide what you should build next!

Once you put a feature request on your roadmap, mark it as “planned,” so people can see all the features that are in “Planned.”

Sounds simple? Read on!

3) Analyze the data.

When validating new “Innovation Ideas,” let real data guide you.

Take your list of features you want to build — or enhancements you think are necessary and watch your current app’s usage to help you validate them.

This will make it more clear what to prioritize and what to build out first!

User Hotjar, FullStory, Google Analytics, and other tools to help you with this!

Let me know if your need help with this step in the comments below!

4) Don’t let devs solely drive your roadmap.

A lot of teams make this mistake.

They decide what to build next based on what the developers suggest.

Why is it a bad idea?

Developers will usually aim towards building cool features or opting for technologies they are familiar with!

Developers are great at building tech but don’t love to obsess over user behavior and higher-level business goals.

Important Note: This is not a fact; there are some exceptions here.

DM me if you have any questions about building your roadmap together with developers.

5) Maintain it.

Building a roadmap is always a work-in-progress.

You can’t build it in January and let it roll.

As the business and user goals keep on evolving, so should your roadmap!

🔹 See if feature requests are still relevant.

🔹 Merge duplicate or similar requests

🔹 Rename the titles to be short and descriptive

🔹 Add a quick bullet list to each for greater team clarity.

I hope this article will help you build your next Design-driven roadmap!

If you have any questions or want to know more about the tools mentioned here, please feel free to message me.

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