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Recap: Product Roadmapping w/Bill Galfano, President, MileMarker

posted Nov 23, 2011, 12:38 PM by CindyF Solomon   [ updated Nov 29, 2011, 4:57 PM ]
Please retweet: Recap 11/14 Product Roadmapping w/Bill @Galfano @GetMileMarker http://bit.ly/s2FHR8 #prodmgmttalk #prodmgmt

Bill Galfano, President And Co-Founder, MileMarker, Leads Discussion About The Value of RoadMapping In Managing Product Evolution                          
Bill Galfano, President, MileMarker
@getmilemarker.com                                                                                                            Bill Galfano, President  And Co-Founder, MileMarker spoke at the weekly Global Product Management Talk on Twitter Monday, November 14, 2011 using the hashtag  #prodmgmttalk.
We utilized the beta product, stanzr Social Media Chat for the last time.

Each week, The Global Product Management Talk features an expert guest speaker who asks questions of the participants on Twitter in a Socratic discussion. The speaker and co-hosts broadcast their audio comments live over BlogTalkRadio. The transcript of Tweets and podcast are available after the live event.

Bill says, "I'm excited to participate in the Global Product Management Talk, a forum that brings together the great talents of the product management community."

ABOUT BILL

Bill Galfano has been working in the Internet and software industry for more than 16 years. What started as a career with a small firm building websites and web applications, turned into a passion for user experience, product design, and marketing. Bill is currently Executive Director and Strategist for Minneapolis based marketing firm, Magnet 360. Bill is also the President and Co-Founder of MileMarker, a web-based application designed to help product managers and innovation leaders better manage their product roadmaps. 
Bill believes that everyone who manages the development of a product--and who has customers--has a product roadmap. However, the formality and the maturity of the roadmap can differ wildly from organization to organization. In this talk, Bill is interested in learning how others view the value of a roadmap, its role in managing the evolution of a product, and its role in communicating to executives, teams, and customers. 


  • MENTIONED DURING TALK
Stanzr Social Media Tool http://bit.ly/rZG2Ta
Come for the X, Stay for the Y http://bit.ly/u4qS4Y
Prioritization Matrix http://bit.ly/vQlys7
Uservoice for internal & external board
  • PLANNED QUESTIONS
Q1 Please introduce yourself & where you are tweeting from! Share your involvement/interest with products & roadmaps
Q2 How do you currently manage your product roadmap and how would you rate its effectiveness?
Q3 How often do you communicate the current or future direction of your product to your management team?
To your product teams? To your custumers?
Q4 How does your organization decide what features will take priority in the evolution of your product?
Q5 In what ways does your organization support internal collaboration around the current or future direction of your product?
Q6 Do you invite customers to collaborate around the current of future direction of your product?
Q7 What role does customer feedback play when deciding how to evolve your product?
  • ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS RAISED
What do you put in a backlog? Tasks or fine grained user stories or features or epics?
Anyone use "themes" in their roadmaps and try to avoid features and fine-grained stories?
Do frequent iterations and demos relieve some of the pressure for detail in product roadmaps?
Do you have the technical prod mgr set release cycles or a project mgr? Or both working together?
How do you rate the effectiveness of a product roadmap? i.e., what criteria do you use to evaluate whether a product roadmap is "good" or "bad"?
Do all the stakeholders understand the priorities?
How detailed is the roadmap that it changes every week? Why does it change so often?
Is your roadmap an expression of your vision or an expression of the tasks your team needs to work on?
Do you focus on full Cost Benefit Analysis or a more quick and dirty relative prioritization?

Q2 How do you currently manage your product roadmap and how would you rate its effectiveness? 

lmckeogh Our roadmap is communicated using PPT and reviewed quarterly. We look out 3 years w/ more concrete features closer in
ProdMgmtTalk A2 Currently, update roadmap weekly - but after the fact, like a report – not projection
roadmapwarrior Req backlog > periodic prioritization sessions > creation of internal & external roadmaps, usually 4+ release cycles out
johnpeltier A2: My roadmap for a v1 product in dev shows milestones until GA and planned user stories for each. Very helpful.
saeedwkhan @johnpeltier How detailed are the points under the milestones? Is it rendered in bullets in ppt or something more detailed?
galfano At #pcampmn answered that shared RoadMap w/customers who expected/ demanded it, quarterly exercise
roadmapwarrior Effectiveness is a tougher question - depends on the audience
lmckeogh @roadmapwarrior : our backlog is rolled into overhead time. Size of features dictate time dedicated. Mostly it contains tasks
roadmapwarrior @lmckeogh Good point. I didn't mention it but the roadmap creation has to reconcile priority & packaging ability
rcauvin "What do you put in a backlog? Tasks or fine grained user stories or features or epics?" Anyone use "themes" in their roadmaps and try to avoid features and fine-grained stories?
saeedwkhan @rcauvin Have used themes (e.g. connectivity, performance etc.) but people want to know the details.
lmckeogh @rcauvin : Yes, we've got themes - 6. Not all get worked all the time but try to assign all tasks back to these central themes
roadmapwarrior @rcauvin I'll use themes on the public/external view of the roadmap, less so for the dev version
rcauvin Do frequent iterations and demos relieve some of the pressure for detail in product roadmaps?
saeedwkhan @rcauvin No. :) Iterations/demos are good for some int. customers, but sales teams & ext. customers want longer term view.
roadmapwarrior @rcauvin Depends on whether a client is asking their account person or not
ProdMgmtTalk @rcauvin says demos are multi-tiered strategy to elicit feedback from customers (& appease their need to know progress)
roadmapwarrior @cindyfsolomon @galfano Do you have the technical prod mgr set release cycles or a project mgr? Or both working together?
cindyfsolomon @galfano says "Want tech prodmgm & projmgmt working together to understand ramifications"
ProdMgmtTalk @galfano says "Yes, keep collab to understnd how release cycles impact prod direction
rcauvin Per the question, how do you rate the effectiveness of a product roadmap? i.e., what criteria do you use to evaluate whether a product roadmap is "good" or "bad"?
saeedwkhan @rcauvin By how many people believe it's actually going to happen with no changes. :-)
VFigatelix A2: Currently managing at a strategic level and very useful 4 a #starup company
rcauvin @saeedwkhan So in other words, by how well you've deceived them? :-)
saeedwkhan @rcauvin but sriously..by how well it aligns with strat and other biz goals and is achievable, assuming no other changes
VFigatelix A2: we decide if it's good based on how many agree on it and how much it will contribute w/ company's goals
rcauvin @saeedwkhan What about the effectiveness for *communicating*?
saeedwkhan @rcauvin :-) well isn't that Y every roadmap pres. starts w. big disclaimer abt how none of it shd be viewed as commitment.
wapolanco I ask "would you buy/consume the product not just based on what it solves for today but based the planned enhancements"?
rcauvin A product roadmap helps communicate. Communicate what? Communicate to whom? Communicate why?



Q3 How often do you communicate the current or future direction of your product to your management team?  How often do you communicate To your product teams? To your custumers?  

roadmapwarrior @rcauvin Depends on the form. Internal comms to dev on where their heads should be next. External comms to sales on value.
saeedwkhan @rcauvin roadmap is a plan based on & tied to strat, mkt dynamics, goals etc. It comm. intent and PLANNED direction
bfgmartin Communicate roadmap every quarter, updates/changes every week
ProdMgmtTalk @bfgmartin Wow - consumes a lot of time updating roadmap - who does this?
VFigatelix Quarterly if it is a well established company, 4 a startup monthly?
saeedwkhan @bfgmartin how detailed is the roadmap that it changes every week? Why does it change so often?
VFigatelix @carlymicallef nice distinction! team vs. exce's
wapolanco A3: Direction should come from the PM if s/he has a pulse on market and align to org's vision.
VFigatelix to customers, I only keep a informative version and it is probably once a year
bfgmartin @saeedwkhan all about agile - roadmap changes to match market and customer needs
rcauvin If, by "roadmap", you mean backlog, then you'll update frequently. If based more on long-term themes, less frequent updates
galfano Is your roadmap an expression of your vision or an expression of the tasks your team needs to work on?
roadmapwarrior A3: comm to dev is continuous, to sales/account/mgmt monthly #prodmgmttalk 4:32pm
saeedwkhan @bfgmartin so every week you learn something new that changes what you were planning last week?
saeedwkhan @galfano Good question and point! roadmap is a plan, but is expression of your vision. Agreed!
bfgmartin @rcauvin both roadmap and backlog change frequently - just differ in level of detail
wapolanco @roadmapwarrior exactly right. Come for what you see, stay for what you'll get (soon)!
roadmapwarrior @galfano I think I'd use the term "evolution" rather than full "vision" for roadmap
rcauvin @bfgmartin But don't documents w/ low level of detail generally require less frequent updates?
bfgmartin @saeedwkhan not every week, but often enough we need to be able to react that quickly galfano @wapolanco & @roadmapwarrior Stay for the value you get today!
rcauvin One form of product roadmap focuses on themes that address or group prospect problems.
bfgmartin ROI ROI ROI, what's going to move the dial the most for the least effort
roadmapwarrior @rcauvin New positioning? Or just more complete?

Q4 How does your organization decide what features will take priority in the evolution of your product? 

galfano A4: Feasibility + Value = Priority ; Operation Feasibility, Tech Feasibility, Business Value, User Value
rcauvin Value prop & positioning should drive prioritization of roadmap, backlog, and all product decisions
roadmapwarrior @bfgmartin IMO that could be looked at 2 ways - your ROI and customer's ROI, both are important
carlymicallef We have 4 measures to rate against, conversion and awareness, engagement, penetration and retention.
bfgmartin @rcauvin yes but you still need the flexibility to change often - even if you don't
saeedwkhan @bfgmartin Is it always just that? move dial with least effort? Isn't it sometimes more complex or strategic than that?
wapolanco @galfano Agreed. Current feature set needs to make your clients stay. But roadmap will help sell based on what's coming.
Brioneja @rcauvin Unfortunately the definition of what a product roadmap is varies a lot
ProdMgmtTalk Value = new biz opp, prove ROI, user value=measure of talking to cust, direct cust feedback, user/ concept testing, Data drives
bfgmartin @carlymicallef Amen, tie it back to KPIs, always.
Brioneja @rcauvin I personally use product roadmaps more for longer range planning, major modifications/ versions
bfgmartin Do you focus on full Cost Benefit Analysis or a more quick and dirty relative prioritisation?
Brioneja @rcauvin Others use them for every minor version change
carlymicallef @bfgmartin I wish my organisation would go for quick and dirty!
galfano @bfgmartin I think it's somewhere in the middle.#prodmgmttalk
bfgmartin I do quick and dirty - most important thing for my small team is to work on the most important thing at any one time
bfgmartin @roadmapwarrior if your ROI isn't aligned with your customer's you have problem… ;-)
saeedwkhan @roadmapwarrior - gd. pt WRT ROI, but can U always get good measure of cust. ROI 4 everything? A lot is subjective isn't it?

Q5 In what ways does your organization support internal collaboration around the current or future direction of your product? 

rcauvin A5: Believe it or not, direction is pretty clear due to a shared understanding of the core value prop.
saeedwkhan A5 - Impossible to answer in 140 chars. :-(. Lots of ways, across many teams and activities. but in the end, it comes down to personal relationships across key team members and working w ppl who think alike.
@galfano @saeedwkhan yes alignment of vision & how ppl work together to fulfill it
bfgmartin Clear vision/mission, product focuses on defining problem so all can contribute solutions, transparent process and open inputs
roadmapwarrior ProdMgmt & SMEs for the product domain have a great relationship


Q6 Do you invite customers to collaborate around the current of future direction of your product?

roadmapwarrior A6: Yes but looking to expand that effort
galfano Do any of you use online tools to get input from business stakeholders and customers?
saeedwkhan @galfano what kind of online tools are you thinking of?
galfano @saeedwkhan RE: tools for getting input: Feedback tools, online communities, etc.
bfgmartin @galfano UserVoice - love it. Have an internal and external board.
ProdMgmtTalk @rcauvin re: vision, when look at value of particular features - criteria alignm w/single vision or per feature/problem?
ProdMgmtTalk @galfano says "ProdMrktg must make sure there is clear line of site to keep prod teams on path" align on core value prop

Q7 What role does customer feedback play when deciding how to evolve your product?

rcauvin A7: Customer feedback is critical and on-going. However, the overall product vision doesn't change too much. roadmapwarrior A7: If you don't listen to customer feedback you risk losing customers - loyalty always depends on emotion not just function
ProdMgmtTalk @carlymicallef hard communicating w/vendors, they get disgruntled when features they would have paid for get scrapped.
bfgmartin Don't just listen to feedback! But to what the client really needs #prodmgmttalk Cars, not faster horses.
saeedwkhan @bfgmartin yeah but Ford completely failed later cuz couldn't adapt to market and competition. i.e. he didn't listen. :-)
roadmapwarrior @bfgmartin Agreed. Listen to what they need for what to build. Listen to what they say to show concern
Brioneja @carlymicallef @bfgmartin it is critical to interpret what the customer is saying. Faster transportation, not faster horses
Brioneja @saeedwkhan Ford's Model T case is that of the "one innovation hit wonder company". Dell is today's best example

Thank you Bill @galfano and Roger @rcauvin for your participation today! Listen on iTunes  bit.ly/silH98  

Today’s Stats: 151 tweets generated 117,245 impressions, reaching an audience of 13,399 followers 

Join us next week for Global Product Management Talk On Overcoming Limited Resources And Unrealistic Expectations w/ @wapolanco bit.ly/w47k08 #Business


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