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7 Tips to Create and Sustain an Agile Product Roadmap

A product roadmap charts the intended evolution of a product over time. Its purpose is to bring alignment and seek the best solutions. Yet product roadmaps fail when they are misconstrued as binding “contracts,” or when they are disconnected from product vision. So in a post for EBG Consulting, Ellen Gottesdiener shares seven tips to build a roadmap that works:

  1. Do not use specific dates for milestones, but instead broader “time horizons.”
  2. Specify outcome-based metrics.
  3. Keep the roadmap strategic rather tactical, not going in depth about features and stories.
  4. Use strategic themes.
  5. Your roadmapping process is collaborative.
  6. Make the roadmap visible, visual, and accessible.
  7. Link everything to vision and objectives.

Paving the Way

When it comes to setting dates, a lot of guesswork is involved, so it is more practical to establish time horizons (with general ranges of dates) than concrete dates for milestones. In each time horizon, identify outcome-based metrics like objective key results (OKRs) or key performance indicators (KPIs).

About use of strategic themes, Gottesdiener writes this:

A theme is usually represented as a short phrase that captures the essence of the core user behavior, product capability, competitive advantage, technical improvement, parity imperative, or problem for a specific time horizon.

Themes such as performance improvement, platform expansion, or registration self-service communicates intent and avoids locking you into specific features or stories. Themes gives you the flexibility to revise the how—the specific features or stories needed to deliver the theme and desired outcomes—based on capacity and feedback.

Themes can also serve as a decision-making filter for tactical planning sessions. “Does this story (or features or epic) that we are considering for the next sprint (or release) align to the theme?”

Ultimately, many hands will play into building the roadmap, including customers, tech partners, and business partners. Just make sure that the roadmap is properly broadcast once built. Plaster it in hallways if you can!

You can view the original post here: https://www.ebgconsulting.com/blog/7-ways-of-creating-and-sustaining-an-agile-product-roadmap/

About John Friscia

John Friscia is the Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He began working for Computer Aid, Inc. in 2013 and continues to provide graphic design support for AITS. He graduated summa cum laude from Shippensburg University with a B.A. in English.

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