3 Inputs To a Great Product Roadmap

3 Inputs To a Great Product Roadmap

– Great marketing
cannot overcome shitty product. Product, product,
product, product. Frustrated customers,
product problem. No customer sticking around,
product problem. Product, I don’t
know how to say it. That’s it, we’re
getting t-shirts made. It’s all about
the product, stupid. (upbeat music) Three inputs required to create
a great product strategy. If you’re a SaaS founder,
and you’re literally pulling your team
every week back and forth between focus on this,
focus on that. Or your customers are
just like not feeling like they’re getting what they
expected from your product. Or, literally, you have
no vision for the product. Or maybe you have like
something two years out but nothing concrete today,
I’m gonna share with you guys the three inputs, the three
areas you need to focus on to create an
incredible product road map that you have
probably never considered. When you do this right,
you can literally have a six-week backlog of
features, and bug-fixes, and growth features that’ll
really enhance the product. Everybody will understand
what they’re working towards, and it’ll be like a
factory floor of just development and deployment,
and development and deployment, and just make your
customers crazy excited every time you do a new release. That’s the opportunity
if you understand these. Now, I understand because
when I was building Clarity, I literally was like,
I had a mindset. I was like so focused
on creating a tool, okay. So Clarity ended up,
so this is the funny part, ended up being a marketplace for entrepreneurs to
get advice over the phone. Okay, so it was like Airbnb
for entrepreneurial advice over the phone. What it started off as
was a tool and mobile app that allowed you
to create a call list. When we finally
launched this in a bigger way and we had all these
incredible members, users, experts you could
call them, on the platform, we told everybody
like, they’re there, and now these experts
are willing to take calls, but we didn’t have search. Can you imagine? We had a marketplace
that didn’t have search. What we decided to do as
a kind of intermediate step was to build a list page. Literally, it was a page with
everybody on our platform so if you wanted,
you could go there and just search the page and see if the person you’re
looking for was there. You couldn’t search profiles. You couldn’t understand
who had the expertise you were looking for. And this ran like
that for nine months, and it wasn’t ’til
after looking at the data, understanding
the different areas that I’m gonna
share with you guys today, and realizing that
we’re lacking the opportunity for real growth,
that we added the search. And our growth was about
10, 15% month over month. It literally
spiked because of search. Which is an obvious thing if
you’re building a marketplace, but in the early days we
were kind of living two lives of this productivity tool
and wanting to kind of allow people to get more call volume
and connections, and get paid for their advice. But, I wanna share with
you guys those three inputs. The first one is
really the market needs, which is the first thing that I totally did not pay
attention, tried to ignore, in building my
company Clarity.fm. And the market needs are
exactly what they expect, and what they express. Literally, if you’re
building a solution, there’s expected
needs of your customers. They’re coming in with an
expectation of what it does. And then, if they don’t find it, they’re gonna
express those needs and you need to be able
to capture that information and put it on a list of potential opportunities
to improve. But that’s a big bucket, it’s
kinda like a Venn Diagram of inputs to build a
great product strategy. Number one is the market needs. Number two is
the business goals. Every business, number
one goal is eventually have a business model that
makes money, so profitability. That’s a business goal. You might have a goal of growth, so you need to hit certain
milestones to be able to become ramen profitable,
maybe sushi profitable, maybe raise your
first round of seed funding. But those are real goals
that need to be understood so that you can guide your
product strategy to deliver on those outcomes. So, market needs,
and two, the business goals. The third is key
features that differentiate. The key features
in your product. If you have
competition out there, there needs to be
features that are unique to you. I call these product hooks. Things that get
the customer to engage, that gets them an aha moment. And that is how
you differentiate, but it’s the key feature. So if you think
about the three big buckets that you need to understand
to build a world-class product road map for strategy, is the market needs,
the business goals, and, finally, the key features. Now, I know that it
can seem overwhelming because you might only
have yourself to build this, or maybe you have a couple
other people on your team. I’m gonna share with
you a strategy straight from the folks at IDEO. IDEO is one of the number
one industrial design studios in the world, and
they have this belief that we’ve always
adopted in my product teams is that you separate,
this is huge, you separate
ideation from prioritization. Meaning that the
first part of a meeting, you can do this
in the same meeting. You can have an hour of
product strategy meeting, incorporate those
three big buckets of inputs into that list, and then really just focus on quantity, numbers. Here is the problem,
how do we solve it? Give me ideas,
give me ideas, give me ideas. And you can just sticky note
and put ’em on the walls. Sticky note,
put ’em on the wall. And, literally,
it’s about quantity. That’s the ideation step. The next part of the meeting,
the second part, is all about prioritization. Starting to group those ideas. Starting to prioritize
which ones we do in what order based on
market needs, business goals, and key features that
differentiate your product. That is how you start
to streamline and create a product strategy that’s
compelling, that’s exciting, that your customers
rave about, that allow you to achieve your
goals to continue growing and scaling the business. Now, I wanna hear from
you below in the comments. Let me know what’s the
one thing you’re gonna change around how you focus, or ideate, or maybe how you
extract the ideas to work on. But I wanna know
what are you gonna do to change the way you design
product in your business. Leave a comment below. As per usual,
I wanna challenge you to live a bigger life
and a bigger business and I’ll see you
next Monday. Cheers. If you like this video, be sure
to subscribe to my channels for other tips and strategies to start and grow your business. I’d also encourage
you to join my newsletter for exclusive invites,
free entrepreneurial training, and other community contests. And if you wanna keep going, I’ve got two videos
queued up for you ready to go. I’ll see you next week.

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About the Author: Oren Garnes


  1. Trying to sort through all the feedback from your customers, team and inspiration? Here’s the 3 inputs (and filters) to use to prioritize the best product roadmap.

  2. Good info Dan, but why do I get "narcissist" titled suggested videos on the right? I'm serious.
    Anyway thank you for the information. Can you maybe talk about guerilla marketing strategies for saas sometime (if you haven't already)?

  3. One month into prod launch I was scrambling to manage all the feature requests that was flooding in and I tried managing simple list in Evernote to a dedicated channel on Slack. Nothing was really helping until I came across canny.io it was truly a life saver for me. Might be bit costly but it's all worth it.

  4. Great video, great info. Will be focusing on the three ideas you outline here. Market needs, business goals, key features that differentiate.

  5. You're very inspirational and definitely got me motivated and moving on some changes in my business. I wish you good luck in all aspects of your life. Peace.

  6. Thank you – this was extremely helpful. Concise, compelling and useful. I am in the process of putting together our first Product Roadmap and will definitely use these inputs as a guide.

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