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Roadmaps That Inspire

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Wouldn't it be great if no one could argue with your roadmap? Wouldn't it just rock if you could cut through the endless debates and circular arguments, get to consensus, and just execute?

I'm Bruce McCarthy, Founder and Chief Product Person at UpUp Labs. In 20 years as a product person, I've built a roadmapping methodology on 7 pillars:

* Strategic Goals
* Generate Ideas
* Objective Prioritization
* Shuttle Diplomacy
* Benefit-oriented Themes
* Appropriate Format & Cadence
* Punctuated Equilibrium

At last year's ProductCamp, my standing-room-only session on prioritization was a huge hit with product people. This year I've focused on translating your priorities into a roadmap that will inspire your whole team to buy-in, stick with it, and over-deliver.

Published in: Business, Technology
  • Hey Bruce! Thanks for amazing presentations! I wanted to ask: what do you do if features that were prioritized differently got into different themes? Should you prioritize themes too? Or combine the features' scores inside themes?
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  • Really good slide deck. A roadmap is so important, so if shifting through the BS. We think roadmapping is key to project success. http://www.panopticdev.com/blog2014/roadmapping-session-key-project-success/

    Another topic near and dear to my heart that you touched on is looking at the real value of a feature instead of the hype around it. This is true for new product ideas, so many times in my career have I seen a pet project with no real value get funded because a 'favorite engineer' is championing it and a great product idea wither on the vine because it's not championed by 'the popular kids'. In this blog I outline a few ideas to try to prevent that. http://www.panopticdev.com/blog2014/optimizing-your-new-product-idea-pipeline/
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  • Excellent and very clear deck that cuts to the core of roadmapping - thank you!
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  • This is a great presentation, Bruce. Thank you for sharing. I liked how obvious some of these are, but also hard hitting. I am proud of myself for doing some of these without knowing/defining them but now I understand the structure well. Particularly liked - shuttle diplomacy and prioritization steps.

    What's HML ?
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  • Thanks for sharing. If you are looking to build brilliant product strategy and roadmaps, you might want to check out Aha! (www.aha.io)

    Check out beautiful roadmaps here: http://www.aha.io/product/features/info

    And sign up for a free trial here: http://www.aha.io/product/signup

    If you have not discovered Aha! yet, here's the background story.

    After our last two companies were acquired by Aruba Networks and Citrix respectively, we wanted to help product and engineering managers in software companies get their mojo back.

    We were tired of using spreadsheets and wikis and trying to apply generic project management tools that were not designed for product and software management. We also had a hard time explaining the 'whys' and well as managing all of the 'whats.'

    We also saw too many product folks beaten down by soft strategies, weak communications, and lousy tools. So, we built Aha! and seem to have touched a nerve and are already serving some of the best known technology and Web companies around.
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Roadmaps That Inspire

  1. 1. The Dirty Dozen Roadmap Roadblocks Roadmapping 312 Bruce McCarthy Founder & Chief Product Person, Reqqs www.reqqs.com
  2. 2. Bruce McCarthy
  3. 3. What is a Roadmap?
  4. 4. A good roadmap inspires
  5. 5. It keeps you on course when storm clouds threaten
  6. 6. “Is this more important than what’s already on the roadmap?”
  7. 7. The Dirty Dozen 1. Being Too Agile 2. Prioritizing on Gut 3. Over- or Underestimating 4. No Strategic Goals 5. Inside-out Thinking 6. Trying Too Hard to Please 7. Focusing on Features 8. No Buffer 9. Playing Catch-up 10. Not Getting Buy-in 11. Being Too Secretive 12. One Size Fits All
  8. 8. 1. Being Too Agile
  9. 9. “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.” Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1957
  10. 10. 2. Prioritizing on Gut
  11. 11. Value / Effort = Priority
  12. 12. 3. Over- or Underestimating
  13. 13. 4. No Strategic Goals
  14. 14. Ask yourself: “Why are we doing this product in the first place?”
  15. 15. Deriving Product Goals from Company Goals Improve Student Outcomes Serve Sm-Md Districts Improve Customer Satisfaction Increase New Wins Improve Engagemen t X X X Measure Usage X X Show Results X X X X
  16. 16. 5. Inside-out Thinking
  17. 17. A roadmap demonstrates your commitment to solving problems for a specific market
  18. 18. 6. Trying Too Hard to Please
  19. 19. Roadmaps are not a popularity contest
  20. 20. 7. Focusing on Features
  21. 21. Keep Things Simple Fewer steps in the check-in, check-out process Streamlined workflow High-level, few words
  22. 22. Keep Things Simple Quicker access to your data A list of access points and time stats Consolidate details
  23. 23. Keep Things Simple Support millions of colors Match your branding Make the benefit obvious
  24. 24. 8. No Buffer
  25. 25. 9. Playing Catch-up
  26. 26. 1. Be a category of one Analyze your losses Scare yourself
  27. 27. 10. Not Getting Buy-in
  28. 28. Shuttle diplomacy
  29. 29. Eng UX Marketing Services Sales HR Finance BD Customers Partners Analysts Your Boss C-Suite Other Tech PMs Lead Legal Architects
  30. 30. 11. Being Too Secretive
  31. 31. 12. One Size Fits All
  32. 32. Roadmaps should come in flavors for different markets, but all made from the same basic ingredients
  33. 33. 13. No Story
  34. 34. Your roadmap should tell the story of how you will make people (and yourself) successful
  35. 35. The Dirty Dozen 13. No story 1. Being Too Agile 2. Prioritizing on Gut 3. Over- or Underestimating 4. No Strategic Goals 5. Inside-out Thinking 6. Trying Too Hard to Please 7. Focusing on Features 8. No Buffer 9. Playing Catch-up 10. Not Getting Buy-in 11. Being Too Secretive 12. One Size Fits All
  36. 36. Product X is focused on solving problem Y best for market Z H1‘14 H2’14 2015 2016 Benefit A Likely Feature 1 Likely Feature 2 Likely Feature 3 Benefit B Benefit D Benefit E, Phase II Benefit C Benefit E, Phase I Benefit F Weaselly Safe Harbor Statement
  37. 37. The Wombat Garden Hose is focused on perfecting the landscapes of affluent Americans H1‘14 H2’14 2015 2016 Indestruct-ible hose 20’ length Easy connections No-kink armor Delicate Flower Management Putting Green Evenness for Lawns Infinite Extensibility Severe Weather Handling Extended Reach Permanent Installations Weaselly Safe Harbor Statement
  38. 38. Discussion & Feedback
  39. 39. I Help Product People Team coaching via UpUp Labs Tools: Reqqs - the smart roadmap tool for product people Blog: ProductPowers.com Slideshare.net/bmmccarthy Twitter: @d8a_driven Email: bruce@reqqs.com Want to chat?: sohelpful.me/brucemccarthy

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