As Esports One has grown, so have our processes and methods for building great products. At the end of the day, we are lowering the barrier of entry into esports to help grow the industry that we love. While passion and good intentions serve as wonderful inspiration, those alone won’t build products that people love. In this post, we’ll be diving into how we make our ideas a reality, starting with the product vision and roadmap.
As any Product Manager will tell you, it all starts with a problem. If you build a product that doesn’t solve a real problem, then chances are no one will use it. For us, we know the problems of esports because we live them every day. We love esports and want to share our passion with others, but the complexity of these games and the fragmentation of this space makes that a tall order. Take League of Legends, for example; there are 144 champions in the game, each with 4 abilities and a passive. That’s 720 things to recognize in the game, and that doesn’t include items, runes, summoner spells, objectives, meta-strategy, and a whole lot more.
For us esports fans, it’s not a great feeling when you try to share your passion with someone, and they end up scratching their head and walking away. So we asked around, and it wasn’t just us that felt this way. We asked game developers, professional esports teams, streamers, fans, their parents, and really anyone who was even slightly interested in esports, and they all want the experience of watching games and esports to be more accessible. Problem defined. This forms the heart of our vision at Esports One. For a more detailed breakdown of the steps we take to define our vision, I highly recommend reading this article.
Once the vision is defined, we turn it into a presentation deck and share it throughout the company to get buy-in across the board, making tweaks and changes as necessary. In fact, we share this vision with each new employee on their first day. During this time, we also create user personas, so we know exactly for whom we’re building this product. Next, we start thinking about the steps we could take to deliver our vision. This is our solution to the above problem. To help figure this out, we run Design Sprints. If you’re not familiar with this process, please check it out, as we could write a whole other post on this alone. The product sketches that result from these Design Sprints form the backbone of our initial product roadmap. For the roadmap, we take the ideas and features from these sketches and group them into milestones. Each milestone is a cohesive collection of features that represent a marked step forward for the product. Internally, we define these milestones as Minimum Viable Product (MVP), Minimum Loveable Product (MLP), and Loveable Product (LP). You may have heard of Minimum Viable Product (MVP); this is the smallest product you can make that will deliver value to your user. The Minimum Loveable Product (MLP) is the smallest product that people will fall in love with and start telling their friends about. The Loveable Product (LP) is the feature-rich 1.0 product that can scale to the size of its market.
From there, we’ll take that first milestone of features from the roadmap (the MVP) and our incredible UX team will transform them into high-fidelity wireframes. These wireframes are so good that our development team can start estimating their work based off of them, especially the foundational tech infrastructure that will be required to build the product. While this estimation is happening, our UX team fleshes out the wireframes into detailed designs. As a final gut check before full-on development, we’ll turn these designs into a clickable prototype and put them in front of real users to gather their feedback on the user experience. This helps ensure that we’re on the right track before we devote valuable development resources toward building the product.
At this point, we have our vision and roadmap, and we’re ready to plan out exactly how we’re going to build this product milestone. We’ll discuss this in part 2 of this post, along with how we take the product to market and assess how well it solves the problem for its users. Stay tuned!