Themes: A Small Change to Product Roadmaps with Large Effects
Jared M. Spool

“Themes” is virtually identical to the concept of “user goals” that we use in the imapct mapping method.

In both cases, it’s asking the question “what bigger problem does the user/customer need help with?” that does the trick.

At InUse Experience, we’ve used impact mapping, combining and aligning business goals with user goals for well over a decade. And it works beautifully on several levels.

So it is really a great idea and a great tool.

It gets us better buy-in from management. It provides stronger direction in product development — for example, a good way to say “no” to features, since we can easily show that they don’t really fit with the users’ higher goals.

The method was originally described in a book buy Ingrid Domingues and Mijo Balic; the current best description is in Gojko Adzic’s book Impact Mapping, which I highly recommend.

(I’ve also presented the method Impact mapping at several conferences; if you want to know more, please get in touch.)

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