OKR and lean roadmap when included together as a part of product map can help in building autonomy and alignment in the product vision. The Product Map is a vision that describes the strategy or plans toward the end goals in a step-by-step manner.
The purpose of the product map is to provide guidance to deal with the problems that the team is expected to encounter while working towards the product vision.
What is a lean roadmap?
“Your goals are the road maps that guide you and show you what is possible for your life.”
The lean roadmap is kind of a prototype for the strategy. However, it is quite different than the traditional practice that used a timeline roadmap.
Unlike the timeline roadmap, the lean roadmap does not focus on providing the exact sketch of what is planned to be achieved and when will it be delivered, instead it offers time horizons.
They are often denoted as now, next, and later. The “now” covers the immediate issues to be resolved. The problems included here are clear and the team has enough information in hand to find a solution.
However, the flexibility for finding the solution is low due to time constraints. There are granular areas that need to be focused on and specific scope for novelty.
The “next” comprise another group of problems that the team will have to face in the coming time. Here, there is a wider area available for focus. They have some flexibility of time for finding solutions.
While the “later” includes problems that might probably occur when the team is close to achieving the product vision. The area here is rather broad with maximum flexibility.
Thus, it focuses on problem-solving while making it easier by helping in prioritizing the problems.
The entire plan of a lean roadmap is based on the product vision. It also helps in describing the objectives based on assumptions made for now, next, and later stages.
The best feature of a lean roadmap is an experiment. When describing the time horizons it simultaneously provides the time limit under which the team is allowed to experiment.
This helps fetch out the creative side of every employee. The entire team brings out innovative and novel solutions for the problem at hand. These solutions can be tried and tested, and the best ones can also be kept aside for future use.
This way lean roadmap experiments instead of using pre-assumed features. The entire team instead of making false promises based on assumptions is able to focus on finding the right solution.
Moreover, lean road mapping also provides scope for validation of these experiments. The solutions can be tested within the set time frame and validated for the results they are capable of delivering.
How OKRs and lean roadmap work together?
Objective and key results comprise the objectives that are an essential part of the lean roadmap.
Moreover, the key results help in validating the experiments by determining whether the team is moving in the right direction.
Therefore, when used correctly OKRs help design the structure as well as determine the purpose of the roadmap.
Actually, objectives describe the goals where a team or the organization sees itself at the end of that particular quarter or year. While the key results help in estimating the progress towards these goals.
Incorporating a lean roadmap strategy with OKRs helps in easy communication within the team. It allows every team member to clearly understand what they are doing and how they are going to achieve it.
The lean roadmap comprises the actions that need to be taken to reach the goal. Moreover, it also describes the time horizon during which the particular action will be required.
Hence, together OKR and lean roadmap make things very easy for the employees who can focus on their work while tracking their progress in real-time as well as participating in the problem-solving process.
OKR and lean roadmap when used together allow time-based planning. Also, they help in creating alignment as well as autonomy in a team.
While the OKRs help in creating alignment within team and organizational goals as well as keeping everyone on track, the flexibility of experimenting given by the lean roadmap also allows the team to maintain their autonomy.
This allows everyone including the smallest member of the team to contribute towards framing decisions. Everyone is invited to give ideas that are heard and implemented as and when required.
Therefore, not just the management but everyone has a say even in the major decisions.
This allows the real problems to be heard and resolved as the people working on the ground level and closest to the customers provide their opinion.
This gives a huge boost to the entire process of problem-solving as it unleashes the enormous potential of the employees and opportunities for the organization.
Hence, when OKR and lean roadmap are made to work together they help in building high-performing teams that are capable of thinking out of the box and exploring new areas with great opportunities.
Furthermore, the lean roadmap divides the entire strategy into time horizons. This allows the team to make informed decisions with time.
The areas under the “now” zone are to be dealt with as a priority and require immediate solutions. But, as enough relevant information is available it is possible to find solutions while considering all the significant aspects.
The solutions for the problems included in the “next” and “later” stages can wait while the team collects more information for making an appropriate decision.
“If you define the problem correctly, you almost have the solution” – Steve Jobs
OKR and lean roadmap work together to create alignment within the teams as well as between the team and the organization. They also allow the team to maintain their autonomy.
Also, having time horizons allows for making an informed hypothesis. Further, it offers ample time for experimenting and validating the product vision.
Therefore, teams that use OKR and lean roadmap together are able to outperform teams that use a traditional strategy such as a timeline roadmap.