Any suggestions on Roadmap Software that uses a Jobs To Be Done approach

I’m looking for Roadmap software that will let me drill down from:

  1. Strategy
  2. Objectives
  3. Outcome user wants to achieve
  4. Feature that achieves outcome

I’ve looked at Aha and it seems pretty good but I don’t see anything like an Outcome. It drills from Objective (1-3 month, and more company focused) to Feature.

I’ll be looking at ProductBoard next.

I’ll post what I find.

Any suggestions?

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I think a good framework for this is an Opportunity Solution Tree. There are quite a few articles and essays on this, here’s one example (the original, I think, from Teresa Torres): Opportunity Solution Trees: Visualize Your Thinking - Product Talk %

When the topic of OSTs and software tools has come up here before the consensus seems to be that using digital whiteboards like Miro, Mural or perhaps a mindmapping tool to iterate through creating the content is the best option.

Then the more detailed goals, OKRs, objectives from this work can be entered in to Aha, ProductBoard, Jira or whatever. I will say have used Miro’s Jira integration before to have up to date cards in an OST that mirror Jira issues but you have to do the work on a custom hierarchy of issue types in your Jira to add goals or other objects to the standard epic, story, task issue types.

I haven’t yet found a roadmap tool that natively renders an OST though I can imagine a way to do it with custom hierarchies using Jira Advanced Roadmaps (but unfortunately there are lots of prerequisites and constraints and your Jira environment needs to be configured just so to pull this off) Advanced Roadmaps Guide | Jira Software | Atlassian I can also imagine using Aha’s Objectives and Initiatives to create something close using their “Starter” roadmap view.

Hopefully some of the roadmap vendors will innovate in this area soon.

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@Naomi, I’ve come across this one :slight_smile:

I also love the JTDB framework and tag some of our own work with the “Main Job” and then use OST tactics to get to solutions.

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Awesome! I popped to this website and felt like I’ve glanced through it before recently. I’m going to take a closer look as I have a new gig starting with a greenfield for tools and approach. I tend to work in Miro but would be nice to publish the brainstorming in something more structured.

Now if you could just go make software babies with Threads and that might be a feature complete toolset for async-first strategy and planning without needing email, Slack/Teams or PowerPoint!

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@Naomi, I’m a miro user and love it. It’s excellent for ideation and brainstorming, less so for all the structured tasks you’re alluding to that can be optimized.
We’re looking at several upstream tools to integrate with, like miro, dovetail, notion, pendo, intercom, etc… (I think Threads would fall into this category, I honestly don’t know much about them).
And downstream delivery tools like Jira (We just launched this integration), notion, github, linear.app, etc…

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I think Threads (as an example of a threaded discussion tool) is highly complimentary alongside JTBD, the OST and managing business experiments. It provides a structured, async forum to discuss those things.

I’ve tried getting exec stakeholders to comment on content in Aha but most won’t even use such tools. We’ve tried to use Confluence content with inline and page comments but many won’t engage. Jira, configured with simple Kanban views has a lot of capability, including threaded discussions with @ mentions, without being terrible hard to use but it’s reputation as the “dev” tool makes it off limits for the non-tech leaders. I can get comments in Miro but that only works during a live meeting. I even tried (a while ago now) Strategyzer’s own web tools which have some theoretically nice experiment managment features and some Miro-lite whiteboarding but there’s no threaded discussion tools there at all (and I ended up exporting my work by stitching together multiple screenshots)

Stakeholders will all use Teams or Slack but strategy discussions, decision making and business hypothesis and experiment managment get lost in the noise (and properly threaded conversations are in afterthought in the UX design off both products).

I’m old enough to have used bulletin boards as a kid and private Usenet newsgroups in a professional setting early in my product career. Threaded discussions aren’t a new idea. But getting the experience right so that execs (and other stakeholders too) are willing and able to engage in async style work on these topics is poorly served today.

Since I was a Pendo client at a previous company I’ve asked Todd, Pendo’s CEO, if they had any plans to provide more tools to help manage business experiments. It seems to me a natural extension of what they already do. Maybe perhaps I planted a seed but it hasn’t grown yet.

I’ve also had several discussions with friends and mentors who have had master-level training with Alex from Strategyzer. There seems to be more energy focused on training courses and books than tools at Strategyzer and only the Business Model Canvas has a Creative Commons license

I think from what I can see of Vistaly screens the way you show the status of OKRs is similar to tracking a business experiment. I could imagine adding in Experiments as a data object fitting quite neatly. As long as you have deep permalinks to objects in Vistaly you don’t necessarily need fancy integration to allow for discussions in Teams, Slack or Threads. However I think there is enough value in having one destination for async strategy work that it might be worth adding your own native threaded discussion forums, meaning independent of comments left on objects in the tool. Just one graybeard product manager’s thoughts and feedback for whatever they are worth.

PS re: PowerPoint, as a long time Aha customer at multiple companies I remain stunned by how much time an energy they have put in to recreating PowerPoint inside Aha. Maybe somebody uses it but I have never once used that part of the product and I’ve spent way too much time pasting Aha screenshots in to actual PowerPoint decks over the years.

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@Naomi, This is great, and the idea of discussions on particular objects (we call them cards or nodes) in Vistaly comes up quite frequently. We’re trying to determine if we should support comment threads natively or use something else.
We have deep linking to cards to make getting feedback and sharing information more accessible. Part of our vision is to improve how organizations empower teams & enable autonomy. We feel there needs to be more transparency everywhere, but it often lacks “at the top.” In addition to transparency, there needs to be a level of commitment, so objectives & goals are not constantly moving targets or, worse, just an extra time-consuming and useless step in a ridged process.
So… communication & transparency around decisions & strategy, plus the commitment to decisions. We hope that making this all visible will help create real focus and autonomy and, ultimately, lead to more fun and impactful work.

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@KaranTrivedi, I’m fascinated that there’s a plethora of OKR tool vendors but the ability to join product planning with OKRs involves stitching together multiple tools. I managed to hack a BetterWorks to Aha connection using a dedicated Jira project as both tools connect to Jira but it was very fragile. At a different company we had OKRboard embedded in Jira which was actually decent with the one big exception that made it less than useful: you couldn’t see even the name of the linked objective or even if an objective was linked or not in the Jira UI, you have to click the OKRBoard link on the ticket to find out if something is there. (The linked Jira issues were visible in the OKRboard interface.)

My vote would be to have native support for async discussion both tied to the objects and more independently. That way you can recruit some customers who are shopping for Threads or similar who are then stickier because they can start building out OKRs too. And vice versa. If I’m persuading Exec stakeholders to adopt a tool it’s way better if it’s one thing not two. Still critical to push rich, actionable notifications in to email/Teams/Slack.

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@Naomi, Of course! DM if you’d like early access or want to hop on a call and talk product. I’d also love to get your take on our Jira integration and hear how it compares to others you’ve used.

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I think you can build a wireframe like this using Airtable as it enables you to set interconnections between different entries.

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I think just whiteboard one it’s not that deep or complicated.

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Productboard allows you to define your own multi-level hierarchy however you want, but treats Objectives as a property that can be assigned to any item in the hierarchy.

Jira Product Discovery only has one level, but you can create custom fields and views that allow you to organize features basically however you want.

Fibery.io allows you to define your own structure from scratch.

What tool works best for you comes down to how opinionated you want it to be (Aha) vs. how much customization you’re willing to do (Fibery).

Good news is, it seems like a new roadmapping tool comes out every month these days, and most provide a free trial or basic plan to try out!

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Documents? Spreadsheets? Slides? Drawing boxes in Figma if you really want to be fancy?

Not everything needs a custom-built “tool.” Too many people on this sub seem to think that overpriced software will make them better at their jobs. Keep it simple.

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I would maybe recommend trying out the ProductBoard I have tried it myself and it seems pretty good so I would give you recommendation to have a look at this solution. You can actually create a trial as well which I find very nice which will guide you through it.