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How to empower teams to run Roadmaps (part 1)
This first part touches on Roadmap Week and Roadmap Pack
Each company has their own approach to roadmap. I’ve tried many of them. Talked to a number of VP’s and CPOs on their approach and landed on mine. Here’s how it works👇
Every quarter we run a Roadmap week. This is a moment for the Product, Engineering and Design teams to get out of sprinting and focus on planning the quarter.
Roadmap week culminates with Roadmap day. But before diving in, there are a number of steps to prepare all teams for a great planning.
First we build a Roadmap Pack. This is a combination of documents and content that empowers teams to design their own solution space.
The Roadmap pack contains 4 sections: a) Insights from “Listen to the company”, b) Stakeholder Priorities, c) Strategic Opportunities, d) Research Advice. Let’s dive into each section:
a) “Listen to the company” starts 2 weeks before roadmap week. This is a moment for product leaders (Directors, Heads of Product) to open their calendar for 15/20 min calls with as many non-leadership people across the org as possible. The goal is to listen to concerns and feedback regarding the product and customers straight from the tactical field. This is then summarised into insights.
b) “Stakeholder Priorities” is the document resulting from sessions with Area leaders. These sessions should highlight the priorities of each team and which problems product should help.
c) “Strategic Opportunities” come from Leadership. These are limited but core areas that teams are strongly suggested to analyze. They shouldn’t be prescriptive nor consume the entire roadmap, but there is a high likelihood that these move the needle.
d) “Research Advice” comes from a research team (if you have) or each squad’s own research work during the previous squad. They should either be recommendations for future initiatives or open feedback from customers.
After gathering all these, the Roadmap pack is shared with teams. During the days of Roadmap Week, someone presents the insights from each document. It helps reinforce the information and offers a space for Q&A.
During these days, teams should be mostly focused on thinking through the insights, and discussing them within the squad for a good understanding of the opportunity space. Another key recommendation is for teams to discuss tech debt (and what should be tackled) and carry over (and how much should transition vs new opportunities).
Finally, the last day of the week is Roadmap Day, where the squads build their Solution space. The goal is not to end it with detailed epics, but a combination of initiatives and hypothesis, connected to insights from the Roadmap pack. This lays out the focus for the rest of the quarter.
Roadmap day is coming on Part 2