Translating an Idea to a Validated Product Vision & Roadmap

Icon of a triangle with an exclimation mark in the middle


Validate an idea into prioritized product vision

Icon of a location marker with five dashes coming out from the top


Clickable prototype and strategic resources for investor conversations

Who is Grandstand?

Ryan Walsh had an idea for a business and came to thoughtbot to give his vision some legs.

His idea, which he named Grandstand, was to create a product that would connect government officials with the general public via succinct real-time video updates. As a sole entrepreneur, he was looking for a partner with technical expertise and product strategy skills. Those skills could help him advance his vision to the next stage of its evolution, getting to a place where it could be a viable investment for a financial partner. 

After researching options online, he stumbled upon the thoughtbot website. What stood out to him was the team’s ability to work with clients in different stages, the range of capabilities in house, and the methodology used to uncover the right products the first time.

Grandstand Quote

As early as the first conversation in the sales process I got a sense of thoughtbot’s knowledge and credibility in building great products. The individual team members earned my trust from day 1 and always came across polished and professional.

Ryan Walsh

The Challenge

The challenge Ryan faced was two parts - firstly looking to translate his vision into a product experience and secondly a validated technology recommendation so he was better equipped to explore the next stage of product evolution. His hope was after the first engagement he would have the understanding and tools to tell his story more clearly and establish legitimacy with external stakeholders.

Screenshots of the Grandstand Discovery

The Solution

Ryan and thoughtbot worked together to plan a Discovery & Roadmap Validation Sprint.

The team facilitated product strategy exercises from a Product Design Sprint to inform the creation and user testing of a prototype with target users. In a parallel effort, thoughtbot supported a branding exploration for Grandstand and technical analysis informing the MVP roadmap and tech stack recommendation.

At the end of the engagement, thoughbot’s deliverables included a technology recommendation for the foundational product, branding guidelines and a validated clickable prototype that showcased the critical path for primary user workflows aligned with the jobs-to-be-done. We recommended using React Native for the frontend which would support cross-platform out of the box and would allow a smaller team to build and maintain both iOS & Android applications moving forward.

Screenshot of Grandstand early design direction

The Outcome

Not only did the sprint equip Ryan with a concrete plan for a path forward, but one of the largest takeaways was the learnings collected from user testing.

The sprint gave him the ability to reach and collect feedback from a variety of users across demographics he otherwise wouldn’t have been able to reach. The user tests weren’t just a quick survey getting high level thoughts, the prototype testing allowed him to present the future state of the product. The team was able to quickly test the effectiveness and potential adoption of the product before heavily investing in the build. 

Through the research and  product design sprint exercises, Ryan was able to think more comprehensively about how to approach the problem he was trying to solve and what solution makes sense to serve that need for a larger population.

Quote from Grandstand Founder

thoughtbot is a premiere consultant who understands the product strategy space. They work to the direction their clients give, yet are able to provide knowledge to fill in the blanks where needed. They stay in your corner and work together with your team to help reach your goals. We had strong lines of communication - it always felt like we were on the same page, they listened closely to my feedback and all Phase 1 deliverables came in to my satisfaction.

Ryan Walsh

What does success look like for your project?