I have written a few times on Product Management and of course this is something thst can be talked about till the cows come home. It’s a good topic.
I used to work with Cody and have followed his musing at Techstars as well.
I like his latest article and it has me thinking again :: https://medium.com/techstars/why-most-product-roadmaps-are-a-train-wreck-and-how-to-fix-this-12617e3adabc#.eht5nsqxc
And yet every single investor deck, board deck, and company all hands deck has it. And it’s a train-wreck. You know what I’m talking about. The 12-month product roadmap.
Painful but mostly true.
I do agree with the learning construct and that we all know the 12 month roadmap is not written in stone. Meaning in month 3 you may learn something so profound that you completely alter your roadmap.
For me I tend to think you want to pick a solid high level direction with some sense of what folks are working on and then realize that along the way it will change. The goal is to change based on the data and the learning from how things are going.
Cody sets out an interesting model for how to address that below:
Start Learning Now
As I visit our various Techstars programs across the world, the thing I try to impress upon the companies I meet with is to try to change your company habits into a learning-based culture by doing two things:
- Every person in the company should have a daily individual learning goal. Each person should wake up each day and have one thing that they plan to learn about their product, market, or customers that day that they can learn in 10 minutes or less without writing code. You can learn it by studying your analytics dashboard, by asking your customers something new that day, or by reviewing sales or purchase data. But make a point of learning something and sharing it back with your team or your company during standup.
- Have a weekly company-wide learning goal. This should be a goal that the entire company works in some way shape or form toward learning in a given week. It should be established at a weekly all hands or sprint planning session and reported back to the company with lessons learned (ideally in the form of data) the following week. It should be meaningful and may require some work. And if you really get in a habit of doing this well, you’ll soon increase your throughput and will have bandwidth to do more than one company-wide learning goal per week and will soon have a bigger backlog of desired learning goals than you can imagine (which, aha moment here!, becomes your Learning Roadmap!)
Remember, if you don’t have data, you only have hope. And none of us are doing what we’re doing because we hope it will work. We believe it will work and we’re doing everything we can to validate our beliefs every single day.
It reminds me of the Pollenizer guys and their flearn concept :: http://anthillonline.com/fail-learn-flearn-tweet-it-post-it-and-most-importantly-share-it/
Fail and learn and retool. One way to look at product management.