The process of building products can be challenging and needs to be iterated on as much as the product itself. In this ProductTank San Francisco talk, Rohini Pandhi, Product Manager at Square, shares her thoughts on roadmapping and its role in the product process.
Watch the video for her talk in full. Or read on for an overview of her key points:
In any product team, there will be a unique set of rules and organizational cultures that influence them. However, no matter the organization or team, there will be some shared “rules of the road”. No one will have these rules down on Day 1 but over time they can create a specific process and flow. This process will eventually create habits that can drive the roadmapping process at different time horizons. The very top level of these horizons is the strategy, where the annual strategic plan for the team and overall business objectives are defined.
Following the annual strategy, the next level down should focus on quarterly goals. These can take the form of OKRs and allow for cross-functional buy-in.
This provides a more focused view of the roadmap. For Rohini and her team, these initiatives span six-week periods. These initiatives could include features that need to be worked on or other product enhancements.
Finally, the lowest level of the roadmapping process focuses on tasks. This spans a two-week sprint period that favors many product teams. Tasks are taken from initiatives and then broken down into smaller tasks for team members. Using this process for creating a roadmap can connect the top of the organization to the bottom. The roadmap should allow team members to find information that is relevant to them and unblock them if there are any issues being faced.
The key takeaways from this talk are that roadmaps should be easy to visualize, usable, provide value to specific teams, and be kept up-to-date to make sure information is valid. Roadmapping is a process, not a destination and aligns everyone around common goals.