Product Roadmap is Dead. Long Live Product Roadmap!

Long Live Product Roadmap! Welcome Priorities.

In a world where development of most technology products is moving to agile methodology, does it make sense to have a product roadmap?

I don’t think so. Today, I am writing this piece to explain why I think so. Albeit some of you may disagree so I would love to hear your side of the story.

If you are product manager and you were used to publishing the product roadmap (like the one shown below) then guess what!

tradtional-product-roadmap

You shouldn’t be required to do that anymore.

Some may argue that you still need product roadmap but it needs to be agile. And my counter question is what does that mean? Isn’t having roadmap for products, which are working using agile methodology akin to having marathoner, run in sprints? There is no roadmap in Agile…there are potentials, and you pick what you work on depending on what you think provides most value at that time. And, as the times change the perceived value of items can/will change and hence you can not have roadmap like concept which tells everyone what you will do in 6 months, 12 months, and in 18 months.

IMO we need to accept the reality. It is what it is!

The world is changing rapidly and organizations need be agile to be able to respond to the changing environment. That comes with some tradeoffs and one among them is not being able to show what we will do in next 18 months. May be we can show you what we are planning to do in next release and what we think are the high priority items for release beyond that like in the picture below. That’s it!

agile-priorities

 

The truth is, even when we had roadmap, it wasn’t set in stone and now it just doesn’t make sense to create one because PMs aren’t 100% sure what will make the next release forget the release after.

I don’t think this is necessarily bad. It’s just different from what we PMs were doing earlier. And, like every change it’s going to be difficult for some us to transition into.

IMO time has come to accept that the concept of “product roadmap” is the concept of the past. “RIP Product Roadmap” we have decided to move on!

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