Agile Roadmapping – Webinar

The Product Team attended a webinar on Agile Roadmapping led by   Scott Gilbert from Enthiosys and Jeff Brantley from Borland Software.

The went through the purpose of a roadmap. My favorite quote from the start was:

Roadmaps are Scary because it forces you to articulate what you are NOT going to build and it makes you commit to an uncertain future.

Overall it was an informative but very basic session. Here’s a shot that gives an overall view of how a product roadmap should play out.

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Here are some highlights:

Benefits of a Roadmap
Roadmaps identify and clarify the tactical and strategic intent of your product

Internally, roadmaps are a filter for prioritizing, consensus around direction, and ensure the ship is headed in the right direction. It also avoids the Last/Loudest priority problem.

The webinar noted key Roadmap Failures:

  • No visible Logic
  • Created unilaterally
    • Lack of buy in
    • Poor technical and market inputs
  • No plan for internal or external sharing

A roadmap is a living internal planning document designed to answer strategic question such as:

  • Who are my market segments?
  • What do they care about?
  • When should I serve them?
  • What factors must I consider?
  • What technologies can I leverage?

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Other items noted was the importance to be aware of Market Events and Market Rhythms

  • Market events occur on a one-time basis based on regulatory-related dates
  • Market rhythms occur on a consistent basis such as industry conferences

Roadmapping Best Practices

  • Active participation of key constituents
  • Product Management, Engineering, Marketing
  • Document participants that created each version
  • Extended in-person working sessions
  • Time to research issues to get a good version
  • Quarterly reviews and updates
  • Clear (written) distribution plan
  • Roadmapping Best Practices
  • Use legends (colors, shapes, etc.)
  • Use versions & dates
  • Document assumptions, facts & decisions
  • Should align with business plan & model
  • Document possible scenario alternatives
  • Easy to say, hard to do

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