When you’ve found 15 versions of a product roadmap circulating around in email chains and shared drives, you’ve got a problem. Just like there should be only one number one priority at any given time, there should be only one source of truth for the roadmap.
Often the culprit to this mayhem is no good way to prioritize enhancements. Sometimes though, the puzzle pieces don’t align and some stakeholder is going to get shafted. Priorities are easily addressed through weighting of the stakeholders (future post). To work the roadmap puzzle though, you’ve got to break the roadmap into several sections:
- Competitive functionality- the items that your competitors have and use often to establish themselves as differentiators
- Gap functionality – the items that any normal user would expect to be there but for some reason isn’t
- Hot potato – the items that establishes the product as a differentiator
- Performance and infrastructure – items that the end user may not notice but are needed to ensure maximum uptime
You should have a goal to release items from all sections as often as you can. Neglecting one would cause performance, competitiveness, innovation, or user base to drop.
This also makes it easier to change course swiftly if say a promising hot potato came around. Expect (and embrace) change, of course, but using this method will help prevent unnecessary change.