UX Design and Product Roadmaps- a Practical Guide for Entrepreneurs

Product roadmaps are a helpful tool for entrepreneurs to think about how they will accomplish their goals over the course of a year. A product roadmap is a visual representation that illustrates what products or features will be released, when they will be released, and who will work on them. A UX roadmap is a subset of product roadmap which shows how user experience or design will be involved in the process. This is useful to show your clientele that design is an important part of what you are trying to accomplish.

But it’s not just for startups– big companies like Microsoft have been using this process for decades. This article talks about UX design and product roadmaps with practical examples from successful businesses.

Application of UX Roadmaps

We recently worked with a company that was launching its first product. They had been developing it for over three years and finally decided to release the MVP (minimum viable product) into the market. Now they needed something that would help them understand how users are interacting with their app so they can make improvements along the way. This is where UX roadmaps come in handy– by using this process you will be able to identify which features should stay or go based on user feedback through testing sessions and analytics data. You can then track your progress against specific goals that have been set out ahead of time as well as improve upon existing processes to increase revenue per lead over time.

The next section talks about why these types of visual tools are important for business.

Visual tools are beneficial to businesses because they help you outline your goals, track progress metrics against them, and establish benchmarks that illustrate whether or not the team is meeting their objectives. This helps teams be more transparent about what’s being worked on throughout the day so everyone can see where they fit in– which ultimately increases accountability. It also serves as a framework for project management by making sure deadlines are kept while at the same time allowing room for flexibility when needed. The last element of UX roadmaps include how this process works with agile software development methodologies versus waterfall models, both of which have different ways of approaching projects but still result in similar end-goals depending on each company’s culture and structure within its organization.

How to Get Started Building a UX Roadmap

Step 1: Discovery

Discovery is when teams figure out exactly what goals need completing– whether this means product iteration or new features for existing products depends largely on the company itself as well as type of industry being worked on (i.e., healthcare vs software development).

First, you need to find out what your team’s goals and KPIs (key performance indicators) are. What are the main things you want to achieve in your organization? What do you hope will happen once users have downloaded and utilized the app or product on a daily basis for at least 30 days? This is where many teams get stuck– they haven’t really sat down with management, stakeholders, engineers, designers etc. to determine what their goals should be. While it’s great if everyone has an idea about business objectives from day one, this isn’t always the case so using UX roadmaps as a visual guide can help facilitate these conversations by getting people thinking more concretely about how different projects all tie back into overarching company strategy.

We recommend keeping track of key dates such as when you will need to start testing with users as well as when you plan on releasing new iterations of the product. This helps teams determine how much they can accomplish per sprint– i.e., a certain number of days dedicated towards completing specific tasks within their project timeline.

Step 2: Analyze and Organize

The next step would be to break those down into smaller pieces that can then be visualized on a roadmap so everyone is clear about how they fit in the process. This is where you identify which tasks need to be accomplished first and build a backlog of projects that have been ranked from high priority down. Everyone on the team should then know what needs to get done, who will do it, as well as how long they expect each project will take– this framework helps teams understand their responsibilities within the company’s goals.

Now comes time for prioritization — assigning values or scores based on business objectives so everyone knows what gets worked on at any given point in time. This way when new information becomes available about competitor products or customer feedback starts rolling in, managers are able to determine whether something should move up or down the list depending on its significance. Simply put: decisions can no longer be made solely on intuition but rather by data and evidence.

Step 3: Creating Your UX Roadmap

After prioritization, it’s time to visualize these goals in the form of an actual roadmap. This helps everyone get on the same page about what needs to be done at certain milestones so they can allocate resources accordingly and complete projects by their deadlines.

UX roadmaps are typically made up of several different elements that can be organized into four categories:

Milestones

A representation of an event or achievement that needs to happen before the next item on the list is started.

Milestones help teams identify what they should begin working on immediately as well as any prerequisites needed in order to move forward– i.e., “building” cannot start until design documents are complete etc. during sprints where time is limited within each day/week, these timelines become even more critical so everyone knows exactly what they should be focusing on throughout the week.

Epics

These are used to describe large, overarching goals that are broken down into smaller sub-tasks during backlog refinement. For instance, instead of brainstorming every single thing necessary for a successful product launch, teams can group things together under one epic– i.e., “launch planning” or “market research.” This helps everyone stay focused on what’s most important rather than becoming overwhelmed by too many details at once. If something becomes obsolete it also becomes easier to remove from the roadmap since there is no longer an expectation that it needs to get done within this phase in time.

Roadblocks/Tripwires

Anything that represents some sort of challenge your team might face when approaching any given milestone.

Backlog Refinement

Since teams can have anywhere from dozens of projects going at once as well as several different milestones they need to hit along the way, each one needs its own section where tasks and deadlines can be organized into lists. One column would show all of the things that must happen before a particular task is started while another breaks down time estimates amongst individual members responsible for completing them. In other words: major components needed in order produce your final product which is typically what you’ll want to include in your roadmap.

Helpful Tools to Develop a Design Roadmap

The next section describes and outlines different ways that your team can map out these processes using tools such as Trello, Google Spreadsheets, or even just regular old pen and paper (yes, we said it). By having everything in one place where anyone within the organization can access it at any given time makes goal-setting more efficient for everyone involved.

The following tools can be used to develop a UX roadmap:

Trello

Perfect for: organizing and tracking tasks across different projects with a single list where team members can add cards containing specific information such as due dates, assignments, and comments. Trello boards (better known as KanBan boards) also allow users to attach documents or images so everyone has access to whatever they might need in order to complete their work.

SaaS Spreadsheet Solutions: Google Sheets, Airtable, Smartsheets, etc.

Wherever you decide to create your UX roadmap (e.g., Google Sheets or Airtable), it’s important that all of the stakeholders involved have full accessibility at any given moment. This way when new ideas come up throughout the course of brainstorming sessions or feedback is provided by customers, managers are able respond accordingly instead of needing another meeting in order make sense of everything. The SaaS solutions mentioned above allow you to do just that. It also helps that each of these provide users with a sleek and modern UI with all the bells and whistles to be successful.

Pen and Paper

It might sound old school but sometimes getting everyone together in one room where they have sticky notes or whiteboards available helps teams brainstorm ideas easier. By writing each milestone down on separate pieces of paper (or post-it notes) you’ll be able to move things around until you find the best configuration for your product. This solution is similar to the Trello (KanBan board) idea – the only difference being, you’re using digital stickies with Trello and physical ones with pen and paper.

Writing it Out

Of course, if none of these tools seem feasible or there isn’t enough time in the day to try each one out before having to make a final decision about which works best, sometimes going back to basics is necessary. In fact, when our team falls behind on projects they have us write down everything we need help with right now so that others can jump in where needed and offer assistance as soon as possible instead of letting tasks stack up all week long without being touched.

Conclusion

In conclusion, these are just a few of the many tools available for UX designers to help them prioritize their tasks and get more done in less time. By having everything mapped out ahead of time, you’ll be able to set realistic deadlines so your team will know exactly when they can expect certain pieces of work completed by.

Leave a comment below to share some of the steps you’ve taken to develop roadmaps and what tools you’ve found to be helpful.

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