Updated: Aug 10
Without a product/service, there is no business. So what’s your plan to bring your product/service into reality?
UPDATE 3/1/23: The framework is a legacy framework, but the content is still helpful for anyone trying to plan out a minimum viable product (MVP) for their startup
The Roadmap Framework was designed to help bring your product/service into reality, by turning your large and brilliant idea into smaller bite-sized pieces. Its a lot easier to finish and test smaller pieces of your product/service, which will allow you to de-risk your product/service faster. De-risking fast and testing often will increase your chances of successfully bringing your idea into reality.
The Roadmap Framework helps you break your idea down by starting with the product/service and forcing you to reduce your product/service vision into one sentence. An example of how to do this can be seen with how Basecamp defines their products (See Getting Real by Basecamp):
Basecamp: Project management is communication
Backpack: Bring life’s loose ends together
Campﬁre: Group chat over IM sucks
Ta-da List: Competing with a post-it note
Writeboard: Word is overkill
The Highlights and Core sections will help you further refine your product/service by helping you understand what aspects make you different and what aspects are core to your product/service. By understanding your highlight and core aspects, you can now start thinking about what needs to be included in your Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Your MVP is the simplest form of your product/service that will showcase your highlight and core aspects. For complex products/services, it may be best to have multiple MVPs that build on top of each other. For instance, Uber started out with lincoln town cars owned by the founding team to test out the base software in a small area, then added other drivers and their cars, and then add more cities and features.
A good way of choosing what aspects to implement and test first is to think about what aspects are the highest risk or most critical to your business. By testing out the highest risk aspect initially, it will save you time and money if it ends up that your high-risk aspect is not in the final form it needs to be in. By figuring out the final form of the high-risk aspect without the rest of the aspects and features, you can act quickly on changing and pivoting without worrying about how it will affect other things. With the idea of de-risking your product/service as your guide, you can start filling out the MVP planning section so that you know what aspects to focus on first and what aspects to include as you refine and de-risk the original idea. A side benefit of following a derisking-focused MVP road map is that if you need to raise funds, you will be able to clearly show potential investors that your product is getting less risky and how critical each key aspect is to your success.
The Deadline section is for your MVP deadlines. Deadlines create urgency and will help you stay grounded. It’s great to think that your first MVP will only take a week to build, but does that actually make sense? Also having deadlines, it will force you to focus and reduce your MVP complexity so that you can test critical aspects. A rule of thumb from Basecamp is to have “Fixed Time and Budget, but Flexible Scope.” This rule of thumb will keep you on track as you release and test bite-size pieces of your product/service.
Time to start executing on your roadmap!
Next week, we will be going over the Company Setup Framework, which is aimed at helping you answer the question of did you do all of your paperwork?
“A goal without a plan is just a wish” ― Antoine De Saint=Exupoery
- Getting Real by Basecamp PDF book https://basecamp.com/books/getting-real
- Your Goal is 10 Unaffiliated Customers