Product Roadmaps (and Product Managers) Discussion

Just listened to a good podcast from Janna Bastow on building product roadmaps. In 24 minutes, here is what you will here:

  • Start with what problem are you solving and for whom.
  • 2 sources of input for roadmap
    1. Top down product management: vision + objectives + big steps
    2. Bottom up approach: conversations with customers, team, competitors – in the trenches.
  • Challenge – dealing with tons of data from customer, prioritizing, and communicating
  • How to address getting input from the team into the product plan: product tree game
    • Innovation Games was the inspiration
    • Put people from multiple disciplines in a room and put a huge tree on the white board
      • Trunk represents the core – foundation
      • Infrastructure is represented by the roots.
      • Ideas are the branches.
      • Have a bunch of post it notes and put them on the tree
  • Separate release plan (2-4 weeks out) from roadmap to give you agility – roadmaps do not have dates.
  • 3-6 months out for roadmap is reasonable for an immature product; 2 weeks is sprint for them. 
  • Roadmap should not be a set of features; distill out the higher level meaning of the features into more meaningful themes.
  • Every product should have objectives and metrics – but how do you measure the effectiveness of a product manager? Who knows:)
  • Is the HIPPO hijacking the roadmap? Stakeholder management and saying no are critical skills for a product manager.
  • Who else is doing interesting work in the product management thought space? Nate Walkingshaw, CXO at Pluralsight

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