I'm struggling to map our product work into ProdPad
One of ProdPad's key benefits is how it supports teams to focus on discovery and solving customer problems. However, if your team has previously been very focused on building new features or historically you've been delivery-focused, it can take a bit of work to map everything in the right place.
So if you're thinking, why can't we push roadmap initiatives into Jira? Or, how can I use ideas to track customer requests? Here are a few tips on how best to use ProdPad to get the most from it.
Input from prospective and existing customers (internal or external) on their experience with your product or service. Feedback can be used as insights to validate ideas as you move them forward, as part of the discovery process, and also as research into potential problems to solve.
Example: Feedback can come from customer calls, surveys, feedback portals, or even from internal stakeholders.
What do you do with Feedback?
As part of managing feedback, you should triage when it comes in and add relevant attributes and link it to ideas that are connected to the feedback as evidence e.g. different features that might solve the problem the customer is experiencing.
Ideas are potential ways to solve problems that deliver both customer and business value. Usually generated by internal team members based on customer feedback or problems identified, ideas can manifest themselves as experiments to undertake, bets, or potential solutions. Encompasses both the "what" (description, functional specs, designs) and the "why" (business case, persona, impact/effort). Ideas are normally mapped to Jira (or equivalent) at the epic level and if you're used to tracking features, ideas are where you want to log them.
Example: Ideas could come from team workshops, suggestions from internal stakeholders, or just those lightbulb moments when you've been reviewing feedback from customers.
What do you do with Ideas?
Ideas should be managed regularly so as a product team you can keep on top of validation and discovery around potential solutions to your customer problems. Ideas should be progressed through the workflow, as per your ideation process, and where relevant ideas should be added to roadmap initiatives to represent the strategic direction of your product.
A good user story tells you what’s motivating the user and what problem they want to solve. If a spec tells you to make a button blue, the user story will tell you what that’s meant to help the user do. These should be focused on outcomes (JTBD) rather than outputs to make ensure it's focusing on allowing the user to achieve something.
Example: User Stories are normally the more granular user tasks, more part of the speccing process with more detail than the overarching idea. Could be used for typical Acceptance criteria format e.g. As an x user, I want to y, so I can z or Jobs to be done e.g. When...I want to...So I can...
What do you do with User Stories?
User stories will be developed and managed as part of the scoping phases of an idea. They can be progressed through their own workflows, and if your team is specifically focused on these, User Stories can be also added to roadmap initiatives for extra granularity.
An initiative can be a project, expressed as a problem to solve. They can be framed as a hypothesis or opportunity (How can we do this, in order to achieve x….)
Initiatives group a set of ideas and stories together so you can understand what and why you are working on things and will link back to a set of objectives.
Example: Initiatives on your roadmap are best constructed at the problem level rather than the feature level. Release plans are complementary documents that are constructed outside of ProdPad in delivery/project tools and would normally only include items in the "Now" column on your roadmap. These initiatives likely come from strategic meetings or from reviewing opportunities in your backlog and identifying key problems to focus on over the next period of time, in order to meet business objectives.
What do you do with Initiatives?
As part of your strategic roadmapping, regularly review and update your roadmap based on up-to-date priorities. Share a published roadmap with relevant stakeholders to aid them with their own roles and responsibilities and help with alignment.
Objective - Reducing time to conversion
Initiative - How can website users intuitively find what they’re searching for?
Idea - Add search bar to the Homepage
Feedback - I really struggle to find the right page, I'd love better menu options or options to search
For example, if an idea comes in that is “We would like a red/green/yellow dot close to the title that indicates an activity’s status” that is coming in as a fully formed solution but what I would ask is what problem is that solution looking to solve? If it's something like
How can we provide a better indication of an activity insight to our users?
You would frame that as the opportunity at the initiative level and then off that hang all the ideas as potential ways you could solve that problem or take advantage of that opportunity. In that scenario Add a colored dot next to the title would be an idea that hangs off that initiative. As that is a discreet idea in itself it probably doesn't need to be broken down into a user story but what you can do is set up multiple integrations with different mapping eg Idea > story and Idea > Epic just name them appropriately and then when you have an idea that is small and discreet like the above example you would just push it as a story. After all, ideas can come in all shapes and sizes so you can be flexible.
And if you have lots of similar ideas... link all the ideas together using the linked ideas functionality that way you keep the "trail" of who contributed to that idea but you reduce down the number of ideas you have for the same thing. Once linked you would move all but one to a workflow stage duplicate and archive. As you move forward, all of those ideas should really come in as feedback about what doesn't currently work with the paragraph functionality in your reporting tool and then you as the PM can group that feedback into one idea for how to solve that issue.
Make sure you've got your workflow set up to reflect your ideation process within ProdPad.
Your roadmap initiatives may include ideas that are reviewed and go through discovery/validation but are not progressed with at that time. So progressing ideas through the workflow as well as reviewing your roadmap regularly will help keep everything up to date.