The unmet needs in your customer's job-to-be-done provide the foundation to make smart decisions about which customer problem you should tackle first and the order in which you should deliver solutions.
Each job typically has about 100 customer needs. You can prioritize your customers' unmet needs with surveys to ask customers how difficult it is for them to satisfy the need. Unmet needs are difficult for customers to satisfy with current solutions in the market. When prioritizing which needs to target, you should prioritize the needs that are the most difficult for your customers.
What Is a Product Roadmap?
The same mindset can be used to plan your roadmap. A great product roadmap will balance the cost of building the product, and the impact it will have on your business today, with the promise of the product tomorrow. The product roadmap should act as a summary, strategy and big-picture plan, all rolled into one, helping to explain what you’re building and why you’re building it.
There are different types of product roadmaps and they depend on the type of product you’re taking to market, product development goals, product features, whether you’re working on multiple products, customer segments and customers’ unmet needs. Regardless of the type of product roadmap, the purpose is always the same: to make it easier to articulate your vision of the product to stakeholders and customers, and to get everyone on your product development team to buy-in.
Product Roadmap Prioritization Steps
During your idea generation, you probably came up with some brilliant ideas but they may take a long time to build, or be very expensive to execute. This doesn't mean you should ditch them. You just need to figure out how to increment your way to the brilliant idea while meeting customer needs better and better along the way.
This is where the process of product roadmap prioritization begins (a relatively simple two-step process).
Step 1: Determine the incremental improvements that will take you from where you are today to where you want to be tomorrow. Ask yourself, “How can I get my customers’ job done faster and more accurately than the existing solutions in the market?”
Step 2: Decide on which of those incremental improvements to tackle first. The criteria for this prioritization is the extent to which the improvements satisfy unmet needs better than the existing competitive solutions. You should prioritize the work that tackles the most difficult needs to satisfy for your customers.
Prioritize Customers’ Unmet Needs
Without good customer metrics, such as needs in the job-to-be-done, companies often prioritize their roadmap based on an imprecise projection of business impact, the charisma of people lobbying for the features they like, and the "HiPPO" (the Highest Paid Person's Opinion). All of these methods are subjective and/or based on unreliable assumptions.
You don’t want your roadmap meetings to feel exhausting, or characterized by brutal debates amongst product team members. In fact, your product roadmap (and your tradeoffs) should not be prioritized by your team at all. They should be prioritized by your customers’ unmet needs in their job.
To learn more about prioritizing your product roadmap and satisfying your customers’ unmet needs, start using jobs-to-be-done today.