A YC Company’s Public Product Roadmap

ozzie 2

Last week we wrote about how to create and triage your growth ideas. Read more about our process here. Now we want to follow up with a real example of a startup’s roadmap.

I didn’t want to use YesGraph directly here, because I wouldn’t want the underdogs at Google and Facebook to copy us. But VetPronto is different. 

I first met VetPronto’s founders through YC. We were batchmates in the W15 class. So I was delighted when Joe from VetPronto reached out saying they were up for running a growth triage and publishing it.

VetPronto lets veterinarians make house calls for your pets. Book online, and a vet comes to your house when it’s convenient for you. As a pet owner myself (that’s Ozzie in the pic above), I know this is awesome. It’s painful to schlep your pet to an office just to wait for 20 minutes just to get a single pill or shot.

VetPronto isn’t overly worried about competition because their main problem is customer awareness. When someone books for the first time, they love it and switch to using them again and again, but most pet owners don’t even know this is possible. They’d be delighted if a competitor spent VC dollars teaching the world. So now you can read all their ideas freely!

Plus, they’re going to give a discount to all the growth focused pet lovers out there. Mention “YesGraph” when you book to get $25 off. They only operate in the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles for now.

We followed the same process I recommend in our post about triage. We came up with lots of ideas, categorized them, and then estimated their cost and impact. VetPronto does a lot of ground marketing, like door flyers, so they also added “trackability” as a dimension. Ideas came from walking through the user flow, their current marketing channels that work, and brainstorming new marketing ideas.

Each of these ideas was put into a spreadsheet. Here is a snapshot, click through for full resolution.

Screenshot 2015-12-17 16.45.31

VetPronto likes using Trello, so each idea had a Trello card with more details. Here are two example cards, again click through for full res.

Screenshot 2015-12-17 16.46.07 Screenshot 2015-12-17 16.45.53

Triaging your growth puts your company in a position to work things that actually move the needle.

I’ve done this kind of product roadmap planning many times now. There are different ways to get it done, but let’s review the core parts.

There is far more you could do than you have the resources to do — whether you’re 1 or 1000 people. So you must triage. Triage by potential cost, benefit, and risk. Cost means both money and your team. Benefit means what metric will move if it works. Risk is an estimate of how likely it is to work. Run experiments using science: make a hypothesis and try to prove it right or wrong.

If you’ve run a similar process, I want to hear about it. Leave a comment below or email me at ivan@yesgraph.com

If you want to get future blog posts right to your inbox, subscribe here. Our next growth post will focus on how to organize your growth team to get as much done from your triaged list as possible.

And don’t forget to give VetPronto a try! They’ve been so generous with their transparency — Thanks to Joe and the whole VetPronto Team!

  • http://kamilrextin.com Kamil Rextin

    Good read. We use a process very similar to this but with some differences:
    1) We actually have a weighted sum of traction/effort/priority as the end column in the spreadsheet to give us a final score and sort it by that.
    2) Our Trello has a ‘Black Hole’ section where I shoot off all custom feedback emails/ticket from ZenDesk and such to go through once a week and clean them up.

    • https://www.yesgraph.com/at/ik Ivan Kirigin

      I love the idea of having a process to put user feedback into your roadmap. (#2)

      I’m a bit skeptical of getting too quantitative here because some things are very hard to estimate. Judgement is required.