November, 2021
Project managementUser research

Discovering all wants & needs in a workshop to create a roadmap

In this project I facilitated a workshop to uncover the clients feature wishes for a their new digital researching tool, encouraging them to think from multiple user perspectives. The main objective of the meeting was gathering input for a roadmap with al features and a concrete first release plan.

About the client

Over Onderwijs Gesproken (OOG)

What They do
OOG gives advice and guides education-related organizations in the policy field. They saw the necessity of a digital application that gathers and analyses real stories of parents/caretakers and professionals regarding the educational system, to improve educational policies. I was part of a team that successfully completed a proof of concept regarding this idea. Now, the next steps should be determined.

Problem to solve
Distillate ideas and wishes in a workshop where only one of many stakeholders was present, and compose a roadmap containing the features of a tool in which parents/caretakers and professionals fill out forms and OOG-advisers can analyze and interpret them and us them for policy improvements.



Since there was limited time I took inspiration from existing design thinking methods. I wanted the attending stakeholder to emphasize with other stakeholders that weren't present.

Setting up
I labelled and hung one brownpaper for each chunk of the application on the wall, brought multiple colors of post-its to indicate the different users and made sure to bring enough sharpies so everybody was able to write at any time.

Facilitating the meeting
First we identified all users and stakeholders. They had 5 minutes for themselves to write as many as they could on different post-its. Then they where shared, grouped and labeled with the group. Now that all users were visually portrayed we spent an hour per brownpaper to come up with wants and needs per user. Again sharing, grouping and labeling them. We used a user-story format to keep all users in mind. We ended up with five brownpapers full of stickies, in other words: an organized mess.

Making sense of gathered input
I made four Trello columns, each one contained a scoped portion of the application. I transcribed every sticky-note to a Trello card and placed it in the correct column. Luckily I got a lot of help with this. We removed duplicates, rewrote a few things and determined the priority of the stories. We used labels with release dates to do so. This resulted in user stories sorted in four releases.

Creating a roadmap and specifying release I
I translated the results of our Trello process to an easy to understand presentation by grouping the userstories in a release in epics instead of listing all user stories. Each release contained around 5 epics. We did a high-over estimation session with the scrumteam to put prices on the epics and give the client an idea about the possible costs.

Create manageable work items for scrum team
I broke the epics down into tasks that fit the working system of the scrumteam so they can be refined, estimated and planned. The user stories from the workshop were not sufficient enough.


Challenges & Insights

  • Making sense out of a big pile of sticky notes and finding the best organization structure to do so.
  • Provide some space in the prepared workshop format, it is okay to deviate a bit.

Users and stakeholders often don't know what they want exactly :)

A workshop doesn't need to be in a recognized format, mix and match formats that fit the goal.