Product Roadmapping

Monday, March 2, 2020
3:30 PM - 5:30 PM <-- Two Hour Session!

​Whether you are a startup founder or a product manager at any stage tech company, product roadmapping is a valuable tool. The roadmap allows all key stakeholders - from co-founders, investors and the board to the entire company, partners and (sometimes) customers to be aligned on product vision and objectives. The process to develop the roadmap itself often illuminates the effort involved to move current and future products forward and necessary tradeoffs.

Assignment:

Complete the required reading and formulate your strategy based on the role you’ve been assigned and in the context of the caselet. We will be doing a hands-on exercise in class to simulate the roadmapping process. You will be assigned your role on Friday, February 28. Please do not discuss this case with your classmates before Monday’s session!

​Time allowing, we will do two product crits at the end of this session. Christina will notify teams by 5pm Friday, Feb 28.

Required Reading

  1. Caselet: SassCo’s First Roadmap, by Julia Austin

  2. Guide to Product Planning: Three Feature Buckets, by Adam Nash

  3. Building a Product Roadmap by Richard Banfield

Recommended Reading

  1. 20 Product Prioritization Techniques, by Daniel Zacarias. Skim this long post (also available as a free PDF ebook) which describes and categorizes a set of techniques for prioritizing product features.

  2. Estimating, by Mitch Lacey. Comprehensive description of different methods for software project cost estimation.

  3. Before You Plan Your Product Roadmap, by Des Traynor. How/why to conduct a feature audit that shows the fraction of users who use each feature and their frequency of use.

  4. Pandora’s Product Prioritization System, interview with Pandora CTO Tom Conrad describes an approach in which proposed features are assigned a price and planners get a budget to spend on them.

  5. The Alternative to Roadmaps, by Marty Cagan. Makes the case for OKRs instead of roadmapping.

Melissa Perri, Senior Lecturer

Harvard Business School

Rock Center 312