facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

There are a surprising number of organizations that don’t use roadmaps to guide and manage their development efforts. This is a major risk to future growth and revenues. Two companies I’ve done consulting work for were so far removed from using roadmaps that they had no view towards what they were doing three months down the road, much less three years. This meant that engineering couldn’t choose tech stacks strategically, marketing couldn’t create a brand or messaging that could remain consistent or trustworthy, and the customers never knew what they were going to get in the medium to long term.

While a development organization needs to be responsive to existing customers, there also needs to be bandwidth for developing new features and new products that will help to grow the customer base. Adding features requested by existing customers is always necessary, but so is looking at market trends, technology trends, and potential growth of the customer base. Also taken into account are market trends, competitive analysis, and customer acquisition. These all go a long way towards defining product requirements.

When engineering hears that product managers want to own the product roadmaps, there can often be a threat of an uprising. While engineering and marketing both rely on roadmaps, there is a strong argument for having the market and customer requirements strongly influencing the roadmaps. How those requirements are turned into engineering schedules is a different story, but it is absolutely critical to the health of the product line that the engineering efforts are focused on what will satisfy existing customers and, critically, allow for new customers. For this, the roadmap needs to be developed and owned by the product manager.

Of course, the collaboration with engineering in defining the roadmap is also critical. How else will the product manager know what is possible and in what time frame? For this reason roadmap ownership does not mean the roadmap gets developed in a bubble. If your engineering teams and marketing/product management teams aren’t working together in every stage of the product development lifecycle, you’ve got bigger problems then just the roadmap.

 

 

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail