What is the Roadmap Revolution?
A roadmap revolution is a complete re-evaluation of a product roadmap, commonly conducted at the beginning of the year.
You tweak, update, and adjust the roadmap throughout the calendar year. However, the promise and possibilities that come with the start of a new year offer a unique opportunity to rethink the strategy.
Roadmap revolutions are more than a periodic strategic review. These exercises challenge all the assumptions the product roadmap is based on. This ensures that what’s on the docket makes sense given the current state. That the roadmap strategy isn’t just a reflection of a previous mindset and market conditions.
In short, roadmap revolutions shake things up. It’s an opportunity to define what’s most important for the foreseeable future. To set a course for achieving current objectives and goals based on predictions for the coming year.
Roadmap revolutions could occur at any time of year, but January presents a unique opportunity for this event.
The new year represents a relatively blank canvas and a clean slate. The focus lies on what’s ahead, what’s possible, what the future could be, versus what’s already happened.
The staff is usually more refreshed after the winter holidays. Vacations and family time-shift their focus from work and their products, allowing them to come back with fresh eyes.
January is also often the start of the fiscal year. Meaning there are a fresh set of financial goals, sales targets, and budgets. So it’s an excellent time to lobby for resources or shift funds around to align with any updated plans.
Finally, internal stakeholders are typically more open to new ideas and suggestions than any other season. Fresh from making resolutions and ringing in the new year, there is more hope and promise in the air than usual.
Why the Roadmap Revolution Matters to Product Managers
While the entire organization can participate in a roadmap revolution and feel the effects of whatever changes are made, there’s no role more pivotal than product management.
First, product management will often be the impetus for the revolution, to begin with. With their focus on strategy and not just execution, it’s a natural starting point for kicking off a wholesale evaluation.
Second, product management is the ideal facilitator for the revolution. Cross-functional by definition, they can pull the right people into the conversation. They can source and present critical information and research and lead those hard conversations.
Third, product management put all the pieces together. They will be the ones creating a new and improved roadmap that reflects new ways of thinking. It’s their responsibility to best position the product to achieve its strategic goals and key outcomes in the coming year.
Finally, once the revolutionized roadmap is complete, it’s product management to share and socialize the plan. It’s a product manager’s responsibility to communicate the plan and ensure its understanding.
From corporate all-hands meetings to one-on-one sessions with key stakeholders to customer presentations, product management will be the ones presenting these roadmaps to different audiences and selling them on the new way forward.