How do you track and communicate changes in your roadmap?
April 11, 2018
April 11, 2018
There are many moving parts in running a product team and the biggest issue is communication across all members involved with the product when a change comes up. Here is a common scenario:
- A customer requests a feature which is put on the roadmap.
- The product team communicates this to the customer with a target release date
- Something changes. This could be as basic as a developer is sick, technical support pulls additional resources or something in your landscape changes such as a new competitor or higher priority change needs to occur.
- As a result, the initial customer request gets bumped out.
In addition to the customer that requested the change, support, sales and marketing teams may have communicated that the feature is in the works and coming soon.
When this occurs, it is a delicate communication as you do not want your customers or internal teams to feel unappreciated or frustrated and you do not want your brand to be viewed as a team that lacks follow through. So how do you avoid this?
The way to avoid this situation is to ensure upfront when you approve a request for the roadmap you do not lock in a specific date range for a release. If pressed for a window, always triple your expectations for the unknowns because missing a commitment is always worst than beating a bloated estimate.
However if it has occurred you need to track and communicate changes in your roadmap consistently and publicly. You want all stakeholders to have visibility of what you are building and when you estimate delivery. If you provide visibility into your product roadmap then the expectation gets set that while a feature is planned, it is always subject to change and when it is changed, the new target date is viewable. Transparency is the key to a product roadmap to ensure there is constant communication and visibility to keep all parties informed and up to date for when something shifts which it will always do.