An Eye on the Future

How can we plan for a successful future?

As we approach the end of another year, we all begin the process of reflecting on what the past year has brought and start thinking about what we hope to achieve next year. As you look back on your personal struggles and how to overcome them, companies are also looking to re-evaluate their current projects and get their budgets straight for a successful new year.

Personally, I love this time of the year and especially love helping companies plan for their future efforts. There’s a handy approach that I like to follow that I read about on the great Intercom blog some time ago. They called it the 666 Roadmap. I’m guessing the name alone gets you interested. It got mine! Fortunately, it’s not about making a deal with the devil, but IS about a great way to plan for success.

How the 666 Roadmap Works

Think about your current products from all perspectives – what do you love about them and what do you want to improve? Consider specific features that goals for your product. Where do you want your product to be in 6 weeks, 6 months, and 6 years? – There’s the 666 reference! Granted, there are some people who prefer to use 10/10/10, but I think that 10’s are a bit too long to make sense. 6 weeks is great because it lines up with a usual sprint, 6 months is the halfway point to the year, and while 6 years seems like forever – especially in the startup world – it’s still a time period that most can relate to.

6 Weeks

In most of my projects, a sprint is usually between 4 and 8 weeks. 6 weeks makes a lot of sense as it fits right in the middle of that standard period and is a great reference to see what’s critical to get done in that period. As you know, 6 weeks really is a limited amount of time. It causes you to prioritize and focus on what features need to be built and how they are going to be shipped. Consider this your high-alert to-do list.

6 months

This becomes your backlog for future sprints for smaller tasks or something that you break up into multiple sprints for larger tasks. 6 months is time to build a lot if you are well prepared, but can pass pretty quickly if you aren’t task oriented. Consider this your queue – small AND big projects fit into this and provide you with a bi-yearly goal plan.

6 years

This is a bit more tricky. It’s less of a backlog of things to be accomplished and more of a vision for the future. Considering you’ve implemented all of the changes you’ve wanted in the past 6 years, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself. Where is your product now? What does it do? How do your users relate to it? What do you think the biggest challenges will be 6 years from now? What kind of technology are your users using to access your service now and is that relevant to the future? Consider this the plan you need for achieving your vision.

I think this is an awesome exercise that you can use throughout the year. It forces you to think about the bigger end-goal while staying sensitive to the smaller tasks. What are your challenges in the next 6 weeks, months, and years? I’d love to hear about them so send me an email and let’s work together to a better future for ourselves and our users!

Please share:TwitterLinkedInFacebook
Get more writing like this

Sign up and get new writing, just like this, every other two weeks. Unsubscribe any time (I'm not a dickhead).

Books

User Experiences that Matter (2016)
Mastering Freelance (2017)

If You're Getting Started in UX

What's a 'User Experience' Anyways?
How Do You Learn UX?
Working as a UX Designer

Next Steps in UX

Working as a UX Lead
Defining a UX Strategy
Writing as Part of the UX Process

Thought-pieces

AI Ethics - A New Skill for UX-Designers
Designer Ethics & The Moral Implications of our Apps
The Future of the UX-Designer
Voice Input’s Effect on Social Norms

The Work We Do

Chasing Growth
New Tools Don’t Always Equal Productivity
Why Designers Need to Write
The Tools I Use to Run My Business

Featured Writing & Interviews Elsewhere

Q&A With Anton Sten, Author of User Experiences that Matter - Adobe
What the F*#!ck is a UX Designer anyway - Working not Working
It’s Time for a Code of Ethics for Designers - Medium Modus
The Art of Going Freelance - .Net Magazine
It Takes Time - Being Freelance episode 100

From My Newsletter

UX of Email Newsletters

Working as a UX-lead

2018 in review

What’s my location?

I’m taking a break

Stay humble, stay eager

Back to Work!

Vanity Metrics

The Future of Retail

2017 review

What do you do?

Carpe Diem UX-designers

What´s Good Design?

Chasing Growth

A Redesign

Is Less More?

Why Simple is Hard

Pricing It Perfectly

Trusting Your Gut

Built to last

An Eye on the Future

UX Design explained

Bite-sized Posts

Leave the Phone at Home

Delight Comes Last

The Cost of Lies

Big Mood Machine

Simplicity is a war

The next iPhone

Leadership or management

Everyone should own a dog

Silence is gold

Cameras that understand

Humans, not users

Keeping AI Honest

Right to privacy

The State of UX in 2019

Why scrap scrappy?

Organized for browsing

The iPhone Franchise

Why Small Teams Win

The Bullshit Web

Just keep at it

Let them eat cake

Netflix Culture

Skype

Unfoundered

Tech is not Neutral

Productivity

Whose risk?

Why Small Teams Win

Phone Bored

Karim Rashid

Dieter Rams

Bleeding Out

Fake News is spam

Conversational Design

Dropbox

Bye bye Facebook

Cuba

The seat at the table

Givenchy

Love letters to trees

Pricing Philisophy

Specialize

Personas

Make me think

Hawaii Missile Alert

Why Design Systems fail

What You Build

Checkout for Winners

Living a Testing Culture

Creative Class

How To Predict Your Future

Github

Medium

Design quotes

Enough

Why?

ARKit

Designing for Mobile

Failure, Reflect, Renew

Growth

Working with me

Great user experience

Naming your icons

Conversations

All writing

Leave the Phone at Home

UX of Email Newsletters

Delight Comes Last

The Cost of Lies

Big Mood Machine

Simplicity is a war

The next iPhone

Working as a UX-lead

Leadership or management

Everyone should own a dog

Silence is gold

Cameras that understand

Humans, not users

Keeping AI Honest

Right to privacy

2018 in review

What’s my location?

The State of UX in 2019

Why scrap scrappy?

I’m taking a break

Organized for browsing

Stay humble, stay eager

The iPhone Franchise

Why Small Teams Win

Back to Work!

The Bullshit Web

Just keep at it

Let them eat cake

Netflix Culture

Skype

Unfoundered

Vanity Metrics

Tech is not Neutral

Productivity

Whose risk?

Why Small Teams Win

Phone Bored

Karim Rashid

Dieter Rams

Bleeding Out

Fake News is spam

Conversational Design

Dropbox

Bye bye Facebook

Cuba

The seat at the table

Givenchy

Love letters to trees

Pricing Philisophy

Specialize

Personas

Make me think

The Future of Retail

Hawaii Missile Alert

2017 review

Why Design Systems fail

What You Build

Checkout for Winners

Living a Testing Culture

What do you do?

Creative Class

How To Predict Your Future

Carpe Diem UX-designers

What´s Good Design?

Chasing Growth

Github

Medium

A Redesign

Design quotes

Enough

Why?

ARKit

Designing for Mobile

Is Less More?

Why Simple is Hard

Pricing It Perfectly

Failure, Reflect, Renew

Trusting Your Gut

Built to last

An Eye on the Future

Growth

Working with me

UX Design explained

Great user experience

Naming your icons

Conversations