Wireframes Aren’t Just for Designers

I was just getting started in product management, working as a junior at Ask Jeeves, when I first came across wireframes. With a pinch of artistic flair, I found one can easily layout screen controls in Balsamiq to draw enough to show what a webpage could or should do. Just like this, article on Mind the Product says, "Wireframes Aren’t Just for Designers". They're a thinking and communication tool for Product Managers.

They're a great way to help form your ideas while ideating. Using Balsamiq or pen and paper will allow you to assess a hypothesis further, fail quickly and learn more by clicking through the initial concepts with colleagues. Be careful, as it's easy to become preoccupied with finding this solution. However, it's always important to remember there is a team around you to help you do the following:

The role of a product manager is to discover a product that is valuable, usable, and feasible.

Inspired: How to Create Products Customers Love by Marty Cagan

Your wireframes will be a helpful communication tool to share the ideas you've distilled with your teammates during a discovery meeting. Similar to a storyboard used in film and television to convey the protagonist's journey. Ideally, the team's designer will revise your rough concept and produce a Hi-Fi, clickable prototype. Next, you should validate these ideas with your stakeholders. Or, better still, perform some initial user testing to validate the concept further. Ultimately your initial wireframes, you should be able to learn:

  1. Has the team discovered a solution to the customer's problem?
  2. Can this be built?

I hope you give it a try.