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Your Audience’s Real Roadmap Questions


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Your different stakeholders have different (often opposing) goals and incentives, which means they probably want different product decisions and therefore different roadmaps. You need to understand and anticipate their agendas. What is your sales team thinking while you talk about next quarter? What questions are your marketers too polite to ask? And the questions you wish your executives wouldn’t ask?

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Your Audience’s Real Roadmap Questions

  1. 1. Your Audience’s Real Roadmap Questions (And What to Do About Them) Rich Mironov Auckland Product Community 20 February 2018
  2. 2. • An ongoing political process, not just algorithms or artifacts • Your stakeholders DO NOT WANT the same things • You need an allocation model and a selling strategy The Roadmapping Challenge
  3. 3. • Our goal: deliver whole products that meet long-term customer needs and make money • Use evidence and judgment to get right things done • Rarely satisfies all stakeholders/audiences Today’s Roadmap Is Just A Snapshot
  4. 4. We Confuse Tools and Artifacts with Results
  5. 5. Audiences to love our roadmaps and tell us we’re smart As Product Managers, We Want…
  6. 6. “Why isn’t my strategic customer’s feature included?” Sales Wants to Know…
  7. 7. “What’s new, interesting, or makes our customers look like heroes?” Marketing Wants to Know…
  8. 8. “Why aren’t we getting more done?” “Why aren’t we more innovative?” Executives Want to Know… “Why aren’t we getting more done?”
  9. 9. “What about our urgent bugs and UX/UI improvements?” Customer Success Wants to Know…
  10. 10. “Convince us that we’re building the right things, which users will love.” Development Wants to Know… “How does prioritization work? Criteria?”
  11. 11. “I’ve made an expensive long-term commitment to your product. Show me a sensible plan that won’t embarrass me.” Customers Want to Know…
  12. 12. • Prioritization is hard • Roadmap is just an artifact • Must plan for inevitable conflicts • How to structure discussion and trade-offs ahead of individual escalations? Ugly Product Reality
  13. 13. • Limited development resources = household budget • Too many expenses: rent, food, repairs, entertainment, petrol, property taxes, Girl Guide biscuits… • Kids Execs don’t remember what we spent committed to yesterday Portfolio Planning
  14. 14. • Hard to rank-order unlike items • Next bug versus minor feature • One-off customization or DevOps work • Instead, group similar requests • Which two features will we put into v6.5? • P0, P1, P2, P3… • We can fund one audacious, long-term research effort (teleportation?) Prioritizing Within Buckets
  15. 15. • What did we actually spend last quarter? • What portion was “unplanned” or sales interrupts? • What’s our absolute #1 top priority (by slice) for this quarter? Reality-Based Trade-Offs, Implicit Product Strategy
  16. 16. 1. Roadmaps are (just) artifacts 2. Need to understand audiences, plan for inevitable conflicts, have selling strategies 3. We fight for our products and customers, not internal stakeholders Takeaways
  17. 17. Rich Mironov Mironov Consulting San Francisco, CA, USA +1-650-315-7394 @richmironov
  18. 18. 1. , Annie Spratt 2., Muhammad Haikal Sjukri 3. 4. Johnson; Bastow 5. discrimination-a7229091.html 6., Marcos Liuz 7. 8., Alex Knight 9., Nik MacMillan 10. 11., Freddie Collins 13. 16., Clay Banks 18. Image/Photo Credits