In our daily lives, we pursue specific goals with numerous steps and milestones without even thinking about them. For instance, assembling an outfit or preparing a meal isn't the end goal but contributes to our desired outcome—looking good or satisfying hunger. Likewise, in product development, our roadmap should extend beyond individual features and enhancements, representing the desired outcomes. Goals should always align with the bigger picture.
Outcome-Driven Roadmaps: A Key to Scrum Success
For professionals holding certifications like Professional Scrum Master or Professional Scrum Product Owner, the Scrum framework provides a perfect environment for outcome-driven road mapping. In Scrum, the Product Backlog, managed by the Product Owner, consists of features, enhancements, and fixes necessary for the product. It's essential to remember that these backlog items should contribute to achieving desired outcomes rather than just being a list of features to be developed.
The role of a Professional Scrum Master involves facilitating the Scrum process, removing impediments, and coaching the team toward self-organization. The process of promoting an outcome-driven mindset assists the Scrum master with ensuring the team's efforts are aligned with the desired outcomes and not just on completing tasks.
As a certified Scrum professional, you can further influence the alignment of the product plan with the desired outcomes by holding your team accountable to the Scrum Values, and the team's focus remains on achieving results. This approach of applying professional Scrum increases the probability of successful product development and contributes to overall business success.
Building a Sustainable Product Strategy
A product strategy that is more focused on closing deals than creating positive outcomes can often lead to a roadmap bloated with features. While revenue and new customers are vital for a business, feature and sales-driven roadmaps can lead to unsustainable practices in the long term.
As Dave Chalmers of Ansarada rightly pointed out, "Features become a sales strategy. Success is measured in winning contracts from those features. Your product becomes a bloated mess." This kind of mindset can detract from the intentionality of product management, leading to statements like, "Some things you just can't measure."
In contrast, an outcome-driven roadmap aids in building a sustainable product strategy. It not only ensures the product's strategic potential but also aligns with the product vision, creating a well-designed product plan. A roadmap emphasizing outcomes over features promotes a solution-oriented approach to achieving strategic objectives.
Why Outcome-Driven Roadmaps?
The problem with feature-driven roadmaps is that they often fail to convey the 'why' behind what's being built, the chosen sequence, or the intended result. Focusing solely on delivering features can make a product development organization seem like a feature factory, leaving the team disconnected from meaningful customer and business outcomes.
On the other hand, outcome-driven roadmaps provide context and communicate a product's strategy more effectively. By focusing on outcomes, every step has a purpose and measurable goal.
Let's consider the analogy of preparing a meal. Start with the “why” and who will eat the meal. We are then in a better place to plan the work required to achieve the desired outcome, from selecting recipes to acquiring ingredients. We then set interim outcomes leading to the final result—a delicious dinner. This approach ensures that each step is captured, and scheduled in an appropriate order, excluding unnecessary tasks.
Apply this logic to product development—an outcome-driven roadmap should allow anyone to understand the goal, see why items are included, and adapt if required.
Shifting from Feature-Driven to Outcome-Driven
Transitioning from a feature-driven to an outcome-driven mindset isn't easy. But remember that stakeholders and customers care about results, not the number of features shipped. An outcome-focused approach often leads teams to work more on improving existing features rather than merely adding new ones.
A product's roadmap is its strategic compass, and it should focus on the most important aspect: creating positive outcomes for stakeholders and customers. As a professional Scrum Product Owner, you can leverage your skills in product design to facilitate this transition.Outcome-Driven Road Mapping in Scrum
Outcome-Driven Road Mapping in Scrum
In Scrum, a popular Agile framework, road mapping is a continuous process. As a Professional Scrum Product Owner and Scrum Master, you work with the development team to plan, execute, review, and adapt. You focus on delivering value incrementally, aligning your product plan with the broader vision and strategy.
Embracing an outcome-driven approach in Scrum enables teams to better connect their work to key business and customer satisfaction metrics. This approach, known as applying Professional Scrum, ensures that the team's efforts align with what matters most—delivering tangible, valuable outcomes.
The Role of Metrics in Outcome-Driven Roadmaps
In today's data-driven landscape, metrics and measurability are critical to business strategies. When discussing outcome-driven roadmaps, the primary focus should be on metrics that tie directly to the desired outcomes. Rather than being obsessed with numerous Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), the roadmap should focus on a select few that align closely with the intended results. By concentrating on these crucial metrics, product teams can effectively contribute to moving the needle and achieving desired outcomes.