Product Roadmap Evaluation
Product Management and the resulting product roadmap are all about the features, functions, options, bells and whistles; whatever we want to call them. I will call them “functions” for now. The level of complexity and scope is, of course, dependent on where the product is in its life cycle.
I feel it is important to always keep the minimal viable product (MVP) concept in mind along with this “simple” question: Is this function going to bring us more net new customers?
Another level of complexity is that existing customers that are paying for maintenance or subscription expect ongoing upgrades of existing functions as well as the addition of new functions.
All this needs to be supported by market research not just feedback from existing customers. The results go into a business plan to accompany with the roadmap.
Portfolio Roadmap Evaluation
For one product the roadmap is complex enough but, if you have multiple products, then road mapping is way more complex. The calculation goes like this in my opinion: number of products to the power of number of products – 1.
Often the different products have some base modules in common, overlapping functionality, integrations, different UI paradigms and different tech-stacks evolutions. Not to mention other potential issues if products are added through M&A activities.
The art of portfolio management is in determining the benefits of a function related to revenue, net new customers, updating a tech stack, UI and existing customer satisfaction to name a few.
The result needed is that functions proposed by the product teams are prioritized across all requested functions and work for the entire portfolio. It also includes looking at eliminating existing functions to reduce maintenance and R&D, for example, or EOL’ing a complete product.
The next step is Go To Market now that we have the portfolio roadmap and individual product roadmaps aligned.
Before announcing and release a new product or product feature a lot of items needs to be created, updated, distributed, timed and checked off.
Website updates, marketing materials, press releases, blog postings, manuals, educational materials, sales team training, targeted ads with calls to action, customer comments, etc.
Not have a well thought out Go To Market plan together with a staffed project team will undermine the benefits you need and want from all the hard work in building the new release of your product.