In conversation with Product Manager Peter Moore
We hear from product people all the time that it’s really hard to keep their roadmap up to date when their team operates under an Agile framework. Here’s how our team uses Wizeline Roadmap to make sure our roadmap is always up to date, without slowing us down.
#1 Know your roadmap audience
In my case, we use our roadmap to align our development team, collaborate with other internal stakeholders, and share our plans with customers or other external folks.
#2 Categorize to match your universe
Each of those audiences cares about different things. Developers care about the rationale for and ownership of our plan; executives care about strategic vision and alignment; sales cares about revenue potential; customers care about how their needs are served.
We create Custom Fields for each of these dimensions and label work on the roadmap accordingly. That lets us filter down and tell a relevant story to an audience on the fly.
#3 Create items to match your epics
In this case, I’m using ‘epic’ as in the Agile/Scrum sense of the word: loosely, a group of user stories that address a common problem, and have a finite definition of ‘done’. This is different than a strictly time-boxed sprint, or a general label that categorizes work indefinitely (i.e. ‘security’ is probably not an epic, but something you’ll always be working on to some degree).
Each item then represents one of these epics. Next, we depend on our developers for delivery timing estimates. These estimates are usually never accurate on the first pass. However, if you follow the next step, you’ll always have the most accurate estimate available.
#4 Run standups with Roadmap open
Sort by target delivery date, and filter by item owner from the list view. Then when each team member provides their updates in our regular standups, adjust details based on what’s new.
If you already update things in JIRA or something similar, keep doing that. But at the end of your more tactical update, try asking your team how they’re feeling about the target date for the entire epic (we use a 1-5 scale).
If people are feeling confident (4-5), mark it as on track. If you hear lots of 1-2’s, mark it as high risk or adjust the date accordingly. If there are discrepancies in how people feel, it’s time to have a talk about why everyone feels differently about your project. Whatever update you make, drop in a comment to provide context for your stakeholders asynchronously.
#5 Measure everything and improve
This method doesn’t just keep our roadmap up to date. It also helps our development team to keep the business implications of our delivery times in mind. Estimates get more accurate over time as a result. Keep track of how your team estimates, gamify improvement, and I bet your initial estimates will get better and better on the average.
We’d love to hear what works best for you and your team! Sign up for Roadmap and try out the Wizeline approach. For a limited time, we’re offering a 20% discount off annual plans with the promo code “2018PLAN” at checkout.