Sometimes it is good to check in on the basics and ensure all stakeholders are aligned. A common cause of confusion and resultant inefficiency is ambiguity in language. This is often amplified when working across domains: customers, sales, marketing, CX, Engineering etc. There may be a subtle difference in groups that use seemingly standard terms. This will also shift between organisations. Nailing down common vocabulary in a multi-stakeholder group is vital to surfacing any nuance in language. Striving for clarity and simplicity in all communication is also key to efficiency.
Platinum Informatics is customer-centric and one way we drive this throughout the organisation is how we organise and describe our work. From customer problem to a delivered solution, there are three layers to this, each with a specific purpose:
The roadmap is a high-level strategic tool used to chart the direction of the business. What features we plan to deliver over the next few years, how do they fit together, are there any dependencies? What is the business value vs engineering expenses? The roadmap is a tool to answer these questions and drive collaboration between leadership in the business.
The next stage involves taking an Epic and breaking it down as User Journey mapping. This involves taking a feature from the road map and walking through what it means in the user’s eyes. Thinking about how they will interact with new and existing parts of our software. This is a deep collaboration between many aspects of the business. Expressing it through the eyes of the user anchors the solution to the needs of the user.
The final stage is to further refine the User Journey into a set of User Stories that can be picked up and implemented by engineering. A User Story is a small contained piece of work that can be delivered in its own right. The description is from the user’s perspective interacting with the system.
From Road Map, through User Journey and finally, to User Story, we achieve deep collaboration across the business to deliver customer-centric features. At any stage, it should be easy to understand what functionality is being described, who it is for and what value it has – putting our customers at the centre of our development processes.