Triple track of roadmapping
How to deal with roadmaps throughout the quarters so you can ship continuously
Building roadmaps is one of the hardest parts of the PM Job.
“Isn’t that the whole job?”.
No. The job is solving problems. A roadmap is a way to communicate how you’ll solve them. Building a roadmap is just one part of the puzzle (not even the most important IMHO).
“So what’s the process to get to the roadmap?”
Here’s how I explain what the product teams need to do to get to an effective roadmap:
1. There are always three tracks. A discovery track, a build track and a measurement track.
2. All these tracks run in parallel within a quarter, and have an inflection point when a new quarter begins (if you run quarterly roadmaps of course)
3. The discovery track focuses on learning. What’s the problem space? How do customers solve their current problems? From what should we stay away as a business?
4. The build track focuses on execution. What’s the solution space? How can we effectively build what we believe is the best way to solve the problem, within the timeframe we have?
5. The measurement track focuses on reflection. Were my decisions good decisions? Were the problems I picked the best ones to move my metric? Were my solutions the best ones to solve the problems and get to the outcome?
As a new quarter begins the discovery track becomes the build track; the build tracks goes into measurement mode; and the measurement track kicks off the feedback loop for the discovery track.
Even though roadmapping is one the hardest parts, the truly toughest one is building effective feedback loops between these tracks so that you can build small and ship continuously.