OUTCOME BASED ROADMAPS : Unleash the Power of a Shared Vision and Purpose

Jason Doherty
The Startup
Published in
10 min readSep 23, 2019

Outcome Based Product Strategy

At Denver Startup Week this year (2019), Kelsey Stevenson, Thomas Vela and I presented a talk on Outcome Based Roadmaps which proved to be quite popular! This post is a summary of our talk and a link to our presentation.

TL;DR: Give me the slides!

Here’s a link to a PDF of our presentation: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1iOJxWwjKvo8eXDdBf-3xkBlqv-CfGkjC

Kelsey Stevenson presenting at Denver Startup Week

Avoiding The Feature Factory

Many software teams struggle to deliver value to customers. More often than not, it’s because product and engineering teams stopped talking to customers. Or they don’t measure whether what they delivered (features) had the desired impact. They are stuck in a feature factory, just “building stuff” and churning out features — and hoping that someone will use it.

Did customers like what we just released? Can we improve the feature? Are customers getting value out of the feature? If you don’t measure this stuff, and don’t talk to customers, you’ll be unlikely to have an impact on the market.

Shipping a feature does not equal success. Changing customers’ behavior in measurable and positive ways is what leads to success.

Luckily there is another way.

Roadmaps vs Release Plans

A Release Plan is a list of features and dates.

A Roadmap on the other hand is a document intended to communicate the strategic direction of the company — what are our goals, what are our outcomes, and how will we win in the market.

Since everyone likes a good Netflix story, here’s the Netflix roadmap from 2007:

Netflix strategy — circa 2007. They did every single thing on this roadmap!

Many companies really only have a release plan. They try to predict the impact of multiple features, at scale and over time, many months in advance. Executives like this kind of…

Jason Doherty
The Startup

Technologist and Product Leader who likes to build stuff