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07 October 2021

All You Need To Know About Validating Your IT Project Roadmap

business

Are you in need of powerful validation of your project roadmap?   

We all know that fresh ideas to update the roadmap for your product and validate it in a reproducible way do not grow on trees. Although a product backlog can strike multiple ideas by competitor analysis and client representatives, we ought to remember that it all begins with the customer. Therefore, all objectives, plans and potential changes need to be rooted in a customer’s demands.   

To keep your roadmaps pointing in the right direction, you must constantly verify your current direction and future results. So, let’s jump in the deep end and go through the practices to validate IT product roadmaps.   

The importance of IT project roadmap

Setting up your product roadmap is ground-breaking for the full project implementation. It allows you to clearly put across goals to your team visually so that they prioritise specific tasks and determine time needed to complete each project phase according to the baseline. Meanwhile, it also prevents miscommunication between stakeholders.  

Even more, thanks to an effective IT project roadmap, the company’s upper management can get a concise overview of the expected results without having to go through extended technical documentation.

In the beginning, there were Customer Needs  

Imagine a product, however polished and well developed, but with no clients willing to invest in it. Quite disturbing. The same goes for your roadmap – however well-designed as it may appear during the product development journey, it may not survive the validation stage if you do not take matters such as user sentiment and validation criteria. UX is booming, and if you want success to confirm the effectiveness of your roadmap, you need to take a step forward and meet the needs of your customers by well-thought strategies, not only the internal insights of the teams.  

What if you would gain access to the knowledge needed to understand the user and their use of your product within one set of criteria? And could they be utilised for driving a product strategy, mitigating risks, and uncovering chances for developing your products? 

The floor is open. Let’s learn more!

How to Validate Your Product Roadmap: all the essential preparation   

Okay, we are on the same page that it is essential to evaluate the IT roadmaps in the project lifecycle in perspective of client needs and deliverables. Let’s explore the ideas below collected in a clear summary.

Collecting insights into usage 

The underlying step is to know the proportion of persons who use a particular feature of your IT product at given frequencies. It will allow you to confront your roadmap with factual data and set up realistic expectations. You can find multiple analytical techniques for monitoring and reporting the use of features by the users. Pick one that is suitable for your software and your spending plan. 

One of the most exciting methods include the Feature Adoption Funnel that demonstrates a real-life usage and retention of clients:   

  • Exposed - user % exposed to the feature – you need to be aware of the number of people who have activated the feature and were exposed to it. Unsatisfactory usage very often may not be the fault of the product.  
  • Activated - user % who activated the feature - Some functions do not require activation.  You may omit this step altogether if the feature you measure does not need to be activated in the first place.  
  • Used - user % who used the feature – another key funnel component is the percentage of clients who have used the functionality at least once, regardless of the time dedicated to it.  
  • Used again - user % who used the feature multiple times. Thanks to this step, you will track repeated use to verify how many clients are using your feature once and multiple times. 

One of the most effective characteristics of the funnel is that it can be used in the long run to optimise usage of a feature, which can help modify your roadmap so that it is adjusted to the latest trends. However, when it comes to visible results, you should establish attainable, well-defined goals.

Analysing user’s sentiment  

Another game-changing aspect indispensable to effective product roadmap validation is a proper examination of users’ sentiment. You may learn about the existing user issues and define functionalities that are most relevant to clients. Consequently, you can update your project roadmaps according to provided user research results. This customer-centred strategy ultimately allows you and your customers to be satisfied. 

There is a catch here. Analysing users’ sentiment appears to be an overly subjective variable that is not qualitative enough to measure.  

But fear not, as there are defined criteria that you can use to conduct user research and improve your roadmap. For example, you can start collecting user feedback through surveys and online comments, examining support calls and setting up online sessions with the clients.  Then you continue to the more qualitative data that will show the right direction during the roadmap validation. An excellent example of specific and measurable forms of analysis includes the number of rage clicks, rate of user abonnement, feature feedback on social media and platforms, and support queries. 

As you would expect, you must collect and interpret substantial quantities of data. Thankfully, there are quite a handful of quality tools to analyse sentiment. With our Dedicated IT systems optimised for success, we can help you ensure a smoother supply chain, safeguard customer retention, and boost profits.

Passing the validation criteria 

Let us pull ahead to the further analysis in the delivery department. If you have measured your project roadmap against the customer’s usage, sentiment and retention, now is the time to check the preliminary solutions proposed after the customer need analysis. Make sure your delivery team applies the bellow validation criteria to provide the best version of your roadmap.  

  • Does this seem to address the problem, and will your users believe this is impactful?
  • If so, Is the suggested solution usable?  
  • Does your team have the resources and skills to develop it?  
  • Will you exert the proper type of business impact with this solution?  

In the perfect scenario, all of these criteria should be considered during your IT project roadmap creation. But if not, the last verification must be carried out to guarantee that only valuable ideas get to be included in the final roadmap. 

Don’t ever get discouraged  

Please keep in mind that the roadmaps for IT project development are only guidelines for developing your product. It’s OK to change some ideas when discovering new aspects of your clients’ requirements and company objectives.  

Validating the roadmaps will aid you in successfully deploying your project in line with your customers’ expectations. 

If you need extra help in growing a product, validating a roadmap or scaling your operation, feel free to check out our extended model – we will do our best to meet your needs.  

Need help with your project?

Author
Marcin Bartoszuk
Chief Technology Officer

With Microsoft technologies related since 2005. He graduated from the Computer Science Faculty of the Bialystok University of Technology where he was the leader of the .NET Group and the Microsoft Student Partner. Four times finalist of the national stage of the Imagine Cup competition, and later the mentor and the jury member of the contest. Co-founder of the Bialystok .NET Group. He lectured .NET development at the Bialystok University of Technology. Microsoft MVP in the Client Application Development category in 2008-2010, when he actively participated in the IT community. Constant new technology enthusiast and IT consultant.