Exercises for Product Managers – Definition (1 of 2)

After the research is completed, it is time to define the features that will be developed.

The goals of the definition phase are:

  1. Create wireframes for a given product or project.
  2. Storyboarding to start user testing our product ideas.
  3. Organise the content on our product, following information architecture heuristics.
  4. Translate user needs into product features and user stories.
  5. Prioritise features and create product roadmaps aligning the team and the company.

On this post, we will list the first three exercises that will help to define a feature or product effectively.

Exercise 1. Wireframing: Sketching

The goal of wireframing is (1) to communicate with stakeholders, (2) test your product with users, (3) team collaboration and iteration.

Sketches are great for brainstorming with customers and teams, as they enable rapid exploration, and are intentionally ambiguous.

Tips – Do focus on:

  • Content layout
  • Information hierarchy
  • Relationships
  • Interface functionality
  • User interaction

Tips – Do not focus on:

  • Branding
  • Colour schemes
  • Actual copy
  • Polish

Example of sketch:

75 UX patterns on goodui.org


  1. Individually sketch the wireframes for a mobile app, i.e. dog-walking app with pen and paper.
  2. Share it with a colleague and get quick feedback.
  3. Create quick sketches in the group.



Exercise 2. Wireframing: Storyboard

A storyboard is a series of sketches or wireframes outlining the sequence of events that a customer will experience while using your product during a specific activity.

Screen Shot 2018-09-08 at 16.25.01.png

What you can communicate is (1) Layout “what it looks like when I…” (2) Flow “what comes next when I…” (3) Behaviour “what happens when…”.


Turn the wireframes from exercise 1 into a storyboard for an app:

  1. Think about the user flow for the app i.e. a dog walking app.
  2. Arrange the wireframes into a storyboard.
  3. Add new wireframes to fill in the gaps of the flow.


Exercise 3. Information architecture: Ontology maps

IA is the art and science of organising and labelling websites, intranets, online communities and software to support usability and findability.

An ontology map is a way to visualise the IA of a system/product. Ontology maps help to:

  • Find meaning
  • Establish structured knowledge
  • Map understanding
  • Surface relationships
Image result for ontology map
Ontology map example.


Create an ontology map for the Olympics.

Exercise 4. Information architecture: 10 heuristics

The Understanding Group developed a checklist to critique the content of any product or website based on 10 usability and IA principles:

IA heuristics checklist by the understandinggroup.com


Perform a card sort activity for a supermarket.

  1. Write your content list on index cards
  2. Organise the cards into groups and name the groups

Evaluate the sorting against the 10 heuristic checklists.

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