Product Roadmaps: LEAP example

Product roadmaps can be difficult to make. Manoj Agarwal, Director Of Digital Services from Hays (recruitment), spoke of his method for making efficient roadmaps to guide teams and inform stakeholders — called LEAP.

It essentially consists of being focused on individual stages:

  • Features — that you believe are valuable
  • Themes — main actions users will do
  • MVP — what is required at the minimum
  • Destination — what is the perfect product
  • Mile Markers — what are the steps between MVP and destination

With these set a clear roadmap can be seen.

Features

First create a list of features. A feature is a need of a user.
Qualify this just against the product definition — is it core to what your product should be doing?
Prioritise this list (high effort low value — ignore these)
Create user stories at a high level

Themes

Now ignore everything you have done.

Identify the primary user interests and partition these on your list (“user wants to read the news”)
Identify the second users theme (“editor has to curate news items”)
Identify the single theme for the third tier user (“advertiser wants to appeal to readers”)
More users than 3 is messy.
Add measures (metrics), instrumentation (dashboard) and customer success (help actions/user assistance) as additional themes
Validate themes with the product definition and the feature list (do they match? If not throw it)

MVP

Just enough to be happy
Create minimum viable feature to use
Select your MVP from themes
Create MVP definitions for your users types
Collect and define scope

Destination

Identify the golden/final release. What is the perfect product
Do this for all your features
Define a golden release for each of your users
Golden release is a statement of intent not a fixed goal. It will change.

Mile markers

Identify the major releases
Create two markers before first release — mobilisation and the framework
First release is usable and measurable
Plan the bronze and silver release — major release
Then put your golden one down

Map

Plot your themes and features work in the mile markers
Define work (mobilisation)
Build a framework to build on
In your MVP select what is needed
Do the same for your various releases

Don’t forget to iterate

Keep adding to your road map
Regularly update and change your targets. Be ready to pivot
Be ready to consider new themes or remove them

Questions to Manoj

How do you create an MVP from what is already there. How do you manage am MVP when features will be lost?
Do not treat them as the same product it will block you from doing work. Completely separate them.

Pivot and investor amount stays constant how do you explain this to the investor? You explain previously you wouldn’t have gotten the return in the old format. You’ve gone sideways for better.

What if you don’t have enough data to make a decision?
You must be able to measure success. If you don’t have data it is either your fault in measurement or the product. Make sure you get feedback.

Have you applied this to brown fields (when you aren’t creating a new product but instead are replacing an old)?
Yes just start from where you are. You could use this as route cause to find issues or missing features or focus.

There is no quarter 1 or quarter 2 in Product…

Spotify’s method — aim for high autonomy and high alignment

How do you manage dependencies?
It is up to you to align. Project managers should manage dependencies not product managers, but they have to be identified.
Spotify tribes and squads — loosely coupled, tightly aligned. They also focus on an internal open source model — built to be easily used.

Squads are verticals, chapters are skills, Tribes are functions

How do you create visualisations to stakeholders so they have an aligned if a compelling vision?
It must fit in one page. User a prototype (functional, visual, clickable…)
Have no colour. No images. No context. Just a storyboard.

Founder of EveryHour.xyz and Product Owner @ dunnhumby; just genuinely interested in a lot of things. Built racecars, built electronics, now building software

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