Lean UX & Roadmaps - How predictive can you be?


Hi everyone!

[B]Here’s my scenario[/B]:
Let’s say you want to adopt a lean UX approach for this new project of yours.
You understood that lean UX proposes a set of iterations from Set a hypothesis => Build ==> Measure ==> Learn ==> iterate (even though I prefer starting with the “Learn” part).
Along your discoveries, you might have to to major pivots. That means that you’re mentally prepared to the idea that your product will probably change a lot to what you currently have in mind.
Now, your managers are asking you to provide them a roadmap and timing estimation. They want to know what you’re going to build, which activities you’re planning to undertake and how much time it’s going to take for each phase.

[B]So my question is the following:[/B]
How could you create a decent roadmap and present it to your managers if you have no idea what you’re going to discover yet? (And the final product might be so different to what you initially expected to build?)

Am I missing/misinterpreting something? How would you tackle that?

Thanks for your thoughts on this! :slight_smile:


Excellent question! Let me send some eyes this way. :slight_smile:


No I don’t think you are - this is a fairly classic scenario! :slight_smile:

I could be wrong and this may not apply to your situation, but I’ve heard of many situations like this before.

You may know and understand Lean UX process but does your manager? Not always. Sometimes it gets tossed around like a buzz word and everyone is happy but sometimes they don’t fully understand what it actually is. They may have agreed to something they don’t actually understand even though they may have said they did! Think about what drives managers - the bottom line. At the end of the day, they need to think about resources (like you!) and costs- they want the roadmap because they think it will give them that.

To me, the answer is there is a disconnect and a possible lack of understanding that needs to be addressed. Were they included in the process from the very beginning? Even if they were they’re still humans so I would sit down with them and just talk to them. Reiterate the process that you guys have decided to follow see if maybe that needs to change? The key is to be flexible and try and come up with an approach together.

One thing that works well with roadmaps is to use terms like ‘usability evaluation’ rather than ‘user testing’ - that’s just one example but it provides you with flexibility in the specific activity you plan to undertake.

I hope this is helpful,



Thanks for your answer Ashlea!

Indeed, we’re a small company and our boss asked each one of us to decide on conducting a side project (it should be fun for us but also bring value to the company). Therefore, as you say, she wants to know how to allocate resources (i.e., avoid that all her employees work on their side projects at the same time while leaving our clients frustrated).

There hasn’t been much discussion on the process yet. But you are right, I should go and sit with them to discuss about it.

But because she’ll still want an idea of how much time and effort we’re going to need, I think that I’ll estimate the plan in iteration units.

1 iteration =
Time to understand, define, diverge & decide on what to investigate

I think this can also serve as a good basis for education/clarification as well.

But for this to happen, I think that I should already come up with a proto “value proposition” (i.e., meant to change) that could give her an idea of what the MVP might look like by the end of the year.


That is very cool! It sounds like an awesome working environment! :slight_smile:

I like your approach and I think once you guys have a discussion things will be a lot clearer. That article is cool, maybe you could share it with her and your other colleagues (if you haven’t already). I once had co-workers (non-designers) that thought WCAG 2.0 was something I made up until I shared an article with them on the subject - it worked! They totally got it and stopped giggling every time I mentioned Level AA conformance! hahaha

You should draw that chart up somewhere at work as a reference tool.

Let us know if you have any more questions and please do tell us how your project goes! :slight_smile: