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Engineering Analytics

3 Tips for Product Managers Who Want to Improve Software Roadmap Accuracy ‍

Arnaud Lachaume
Tom AzernourLink to author's LinkedIn profile
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June 27, 2022
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3
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Effective Software Product Roadmap

Software product management is a challenging, yet critical role. It’s also one with high visibility. When things go smoothly, nobody notices the work product managers do behind the scenes. But when things don’t go well, everybody notices. Pending review cycles, unclear communication channels and missed deadlines all paint a less-than-ideal picture of the product manager’s ability to get things done on time and on budget. As a result, effective software product managers take great care in ensuring their teams are set up for success before moving forward with any new initiatives. A key method for doing so is by improving software roadmap accuracy to reduce waste and increase accountability among team members.

Know your numbers

Product managers who want to improve software roadmap accuracy start by knowing their numbers. How much time does it take for an issue to be addressed? What is the average time it takes your team to churn through Pull Requests, Issues or Bugs? How many bugs are being raised on average on specific features? How many items are being closed in each sprint? These statistics (among others) are vital for product managers because they help paint the full picture of how the team is currently working. Armed with this information, product managers can then create strategic plans for improving software roadmap accuracy. 

Establish clear requirements

Product managers who want to improve software roadmap accuracy also make sure to establish clear requirements for any new initiatives moving forward. Are you building the right product? Are you meeting your customer’s needs? Are you building the product in the right way? Establishing clear requirements enables your team to assess whether or not an initiative is the right fit for your product. That way, if a new idea doesn’t align with your customers’ needs, or if it’s not the best way to implement an existing feature, your team can abandon it before spending valuable time and resources on a doomed effort. This also prevents bad ideas from slipping into your backlog and kicking off a chain reaction of future problems that could have been avoided with a little foresight.

Avoid the temptation to react to everything immediately

Product managers who want to improve software roadmap accuracy also avoid the temptation to react to everything immediately. This is especially challenging in high-growth environments where new initiatives are kicking off on a daily basis. By avoiding the urge to jump on new ideas as soon as they come up, product managers can ensure their teams are addressing the right initiatives at the right times, and apply some rational emotional distance into their strategic thinking. This helps keep the backlog of the next release clear, puts a damper on decision fatigue, and helps prevent critical oversight. Too many ideas at once can make it challenging to focus on the most strategic options. It can also be difficult to separate critical initiatives from those that are more frivolous. Avoiding the urge to react to everything immediately gives you time to make sure each new initiative aligns with your overall product strategy.

Be selective about the tools you use

Product managers who want to improve software roadmap accuracy also need to be selective about the tools they use. For example, use the tools that your team members prefer. Otherwise, you risk putting additional stress on your team members, who may not be able to use the tools as efficiently as they’d like to. This means, while your product management tool is critical to you, the engineering team Git repositories is critical to them. You should avoid, as much as possible to get them to navigate from one tool to another. Adopting a development intelligence solution (like Keypup) which consolidates information from both Gits and PM tools will help you consume the information while keeping the team focused on what matters the most to them and ultimately to the company. This isn’t to say that you should completely ignore the need to use company-standard tools. But it is important to use the tools that your team members are most comfortable with. This helps create a smoother, more efficient workflow that leaves employees with more time to get real work done.

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Conclusion

In order to improve software roadmap accuracy, product managers need to know their numbers. Establishing clear requirements for new initiatives helps ensure that those efforts are focused on building the right product and meeting the needs of your customers. Relying too heavily on tools is also a roadblock for success. While tools like Kanban tools and scrum boards can be helpful to visualizing progress and hold teams accountable, you’re better off pairing them up with information from Git repositories with a tool like Keypup. This helps you keep track of all the necessary details and collaborate with the team from a single dashboard.

 

Finally, when it comes to avoiding the urge to react to everything immediately, it’s also important for the product manager to be selective about the tools you use. Pairing PM tools with Git Repositories through a Development Intelligence layer is a good way to rationalize your toolbox. You’ll also want to be sure to regularly review what initiatives are being worked on and prioritize those that are most important to the business.

 

How do you keep your roadmap accurate? Share your tips with us on Twitter!