How to Align Your UX Design Strategy with Your Product Roadmap

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You have a great product roadmap. You also have an amazing UX design strategy outlined. Everything is set to make your product the next best thing after Google, right? Well, sorry to puncture your balloon.

Without an alignment between these two exercises, you’re better off filing a leaky bucket with water.

The principle is simple, really. If several people are working toward a joint goal and each person is working in isolation, with different strategies and values, that goal will never be met. 

Do you now wonder why some products have never really stood out or why the companies have not broken even? The answer is not far-fetched – they didn't align their UX strategy and product roadmap

And if you also don't do this much-needed alignment, you will have the same experience. 

You know we won't be having this discussion if I don't already have a blueprint of how you can get this critical alignment. So, without further ado, let’s get to it.

Create your product roadmap the right way

Yes, you already have a product roadmap, but hear me out. An alignment won't be successful if the elements are not right. If your product roadmap is flawed, the alignment will also be faulty.

Create your product roadmap the right way

So, let’s get that out of the way. Here are six steps and tips for creating a great product blueprint

Invest in product management software (Check out Canny competitors)

Digital transformation is changing every aspect of business and roadmapping is not an exception. There is product management software now available to make building a product master plan easier. 

Canny is a popular brand, but if it doesn't suit your needs, check out this list of Canny competitors. These alternatives help you discover and create products that are in line with your vision and goals. 

Divide your roadmap into stages

Every project has four lifecycles. Dividing yours into these phases gives you a clearer view of what’s expected of you at each point and lets you create a good product. Find these phases below. 

  • The initiation stage: at this point, you do research and flesh out the product idea
  • The planning stage: this is the phase where you define problems and the desired outcomes, set objectives and action plans
  • The execution stage: this is when you carry out tasks and execute the project.
  • The monitoring stage: here, you measure your achievements and update the roadmap as and when due

Pen down your vision and goals for the product

This is a vital step in creating a product master plan. Ask yourself why you’re creating the product in the first place. What purpose is it going to serve? What problem is it solving? Which needs is it meeting? What value is it bringing to the market? What business model will you adopt? What are your epics

Pen down your vision and goals for the product

The answers to these questions will guide you and your team on how to build a blueprint. If you skip this step, it’s like embarking on a trip without knowing where you’re heading to. This step gives you clarity and something to keep going back to when you’re stuck.

Ideation 

When building a product master plan, team members are bursting with ideas. Don't discard any of them. Instead, pen down all these ideas and organize them in order of priority. 

To do this, outline metrics based on your vision and score these ideas using the metrics, then choose the best ones.

Outline features and requirements 

This is the stage to note the precise features your product will deliver. Features are specific elements of new or improved functionality that add value to users. Let your vision and goals guide you here. 

Also, note the requirements of each feature so that you can start planning toward how to build them. 

Set your roadmap timeline

A product roadmap is not complete without a timeline. A timeline will guide you on how much time to spend at a stage of the project. However, you must be realistic with your timeline. If it’s too short, your team will end up being frustrated; if it’s too long, the project will drag. 

A realistic timeline gives enough time to do the job without prolonging it.

Get experts with UX designer skills

It’s important to note that many so-called designers don't have the required UX designer skills.

Without these skills, you can't come up with a solid UX design strategy. Some of the skills to look out for in expert UX designers include:

  • User research
  • Research methodologies 
  • Wireframing
  • Information architecture
  • Graphic design
  • Prototyping
  • UX writing
  • Collaboration/teamwork
  • Critical thinking

With these skills, your UX design team will be equipped to draw out strategies that will properly align with your product roadmap.

Ensure your UX design strategy has the right components

As said earlier, for best results, you must first ensure the elements you’re aligning are well-formed. Developing a solid UX strategy is not a ride in the park, but it's totally worth every effort.

Your design strategy helps your team prioritize and execute UX design principles and best practices. Here are the components your UX strategy must have.

Well-defined goals 

You can't make any progress when there is ambiguity. Define your UX goals. It will give you clarity and direction. What experience do you want your users to have? How will you know when they have had this experience? 

These are questions you must answer in your design strategy. 

A good understanding of the user

UX is not called user experience for nothing. The user is the main reason for building a product, so you must have a solid understanding of who this user is. Rely on tools for usability testing to understand your users' pain points, problems, needs, desires, ambitions, behaviors, and expectations.

A good understanding of the user

A user persona comes in handy here. It is a user profile that represents the needs and wants of your target audience. Sometimes, you have more than one user for a product; in this case, ensure you have a clear understanding of all users. 

A competitor analysis 

A competitor analysis lets you know what obtains in the market and how you can build something better. It is a document that gives you an in-depth understanding of the key players in your industry. This analysis answers these questions:

  • Who are your competitors?
  • Which audience do they target?
  • What product or service do they offer?
  • What are the main features of their products or services?
  • What is their market share?
  • What are their strengths and weaknesses?
  • What are their strategies?
  • How do they advertise their products and services?
  • How much do their products or services cost?

An action plan

Your design strategy must contain a detailed plan of how you want to provide great experiences for your users. An action plan is basically a document that outlines steps to be taken to achieve a determined goal

An action plan

This action plan should have the relevant metrics for measuring your goals. 

Best practices for aligning your UX design strategy with your product map

When you want to make an elaborate dinner, you first prepare your meal. This prepping ensures that all subsidiary aspects of your meal are ready, making the main cooking faster and easier.

Creating the right product map and building a solid UX strategy are our meal preps. Now, let’s get to cooking. Find below three ways you can align your UX strategy with your product map.

Incorporate your UX design strategy into your product roadmap

After cutting your veggies and mixing your sauces separately, what do you do? You pour the veggies into the sauce for a perfect blend. It’s the same principle; while creating a product roadmap, integrate your design strategy for a flawless cocktail of results.

Keep UX design and product teams aligned

There’s no point having separate teams for user experience design and product. They’re both working to achieve a common goal, so the alignment starts here. Let everyone be on the same page and work as a team. This will bring better yields. 

Keep UX design and product teams aligned

Clearly define roles and responsibilities

An alignment should not lead to confusion among team members. Despite the integration, every member must know what their tasks are

Product managers, designers, engineers and other team members must know what part they will play from conception to product launch and even post-launch. Doing this will make the alignment successful.

UX design strategy and product roadmap alignment – the recipe for success

No one eats carrots and cabbages separately and calls it a salad. The two vegetables become a salad when they’re mixed. Likewise, integrating your UX design strategy into your product roadmap is one sure recipe for product success. 

However, this marriage won't succeed if you don't get each component right. Master the art of crafting a product roadmap by following best practices like investing in a product management software, dividing your roadmap into stages and outlining your product’s vision and goals. 

Other practices are penning down features and requirements and setting a roadmap timeline. 

Also, perfect your UX strategy with well-defined goals, user understanding, competitor analysis and an action plan.

To align your design strategy and roadmap, incorporate your design strategies into your roadmap, integrate your product and design team and define roles and responsibilities clearly. 

About the author 

Peter Keszegh

Most people write this part in the third person but I won't. You're at the right place if you want to start or grow your online business. When I'm not busy scaling up my own or other people' businesses, you'll find me trying out new things and discovering new places. Connect with me on Facebook, just let me know how I can help.

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