7 steps to a wonderful product roadmap

How to define a efficient product roadmap? what a good question. I would like to share with you the seven points I always check when even making or evaluating a product roadmap

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Collect insights

Key insights are the basis of your roadmap. be sure to collect very insights from every possible sources before even starting to think about building a roadmap. Too much roadmaps are build before started. Be sure that you include in your collection Business, environment, sales, strategic inputs. If you have the possibility and I strongly recommend to do so, go to your clients and ask about feedbacks and ideas. Collect quantitative data to back-up your analysis.

Create patterns

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Group all your data and informations in order to create patterns and headlines.

If your customers are coming back and back before buying, that’s one pattern.
If technologies are all moving to a precise direction, that’s another pattern.

Those can then help you to define your projects.

 

 

Define Program

Easiest steps in a way. Define from your work the projects that could be launched.

Evaluate them

Organize your projects in order to identify the most valuable ones.

Business value is certainly the most common criteria to classify projects. But I would mention « Pain removal » (what level of pain does your project remove from your customer life) and « effort » (what effort is required).

Place your project on a graphical representation. A matrix is a good way. One can add projects classification (improvements, new products or services, breakthrough) and necessary efforts to address the market (new market, existing one with established competitors…)

Select and prioritize the projects

once all that job has been done you should be able to set all your projects propositions into some categories. The ones I use for my portfolio are:

  • Fixing: Projects helping to fix bugs, issues and so, starting by the most painful (for the client or the product) with the least effort.
  • Improve: This is where you launch projects to improve existing features or stick back to the competitors.
  • Disrupt: An major innovation that will help you to go to the Blue Ocean…. Innovate with great I with the projects classified here

I make it visual for better communication.

The mix among the three categories should be carefully stated. There is no perfect mix. It clearly depends of your products, its competitive positioning, its life cycle position… Do it your way but don’t forget to check the business creation value of each of them.

Place it on the time-line

Of course a roadmap is a time-line. So now that you have chosen your projects, just put them on the time-line taking into account delivery dates, development time, important sales events etc…

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Start to work 😉

 

 

Why are they more innovative than you?

Startup Stock Photos

In your own company or outside, you meet people that have always something new to present, a new product to sell, a new project running/starting/ending… Why are those people more innovative than you? They have in mind and managed to implement in their environment those 8 characteristics which make their actions more innovative. Let’s discover them and see how you can leverage them.

  1. Listen to your customer. Outside and inside the company. Ask for feedback, what’s good, what’s wrong, what should be changed or improve. Listening to your customer is something that will always, ever, pay off.
  2. Created a momentum and more important, keep the high pace. Innovation today is more a question of pace and speed than a question of size, engineering capabilities or so… Install an innovation momentum from the start of your project, stimulate your team to creative thinking.
  3. Kick-off lazy managers. You don’t need any manager in your projects just to look and steer. Focus on actions. Ask those managers to come and join. Innovation is a game but also a war. Invite them to share their knowledge and drive the other wild dogs to the success.
  4. 3 words: Team, Team, Team. You can’t innovate alone. With your project team you are on a mission ans thus you will be able to innovate better and faster. Let your team embrace the project objectives and make their. Let them decide where and how to go. You will have astonishing results
    Startup Stock Photos
    Startup Stock Photos
  5. Use Creative Problem Solving. Being creative and innovative is a process. Creative Problem solving is a very good tool to help you getting new approach and ideas. It works on organisation, process and technology.
  6. Structure your approach. use canva and testing methods, use tools to validate your hypothesis and evaluate the value creation.Management support
  7. Encourage versatility. More ideas and insights come if you encourage your team to switch position or change their habits. allow your team to visit customers, talk to clients, go to some place to inspire them…
  8. Prepare the business. The most important part of your job: insuring that your deliverable will be included into the business and create value for you and your customers. Prepare the hands-on with production team, with sales team etc…

I hope those 8 tips and good practices I have identified will help you to innovate more in practice. Let me know in the comments section if you see some more.

I found it on the web… Product Manager Club

Product-Manager-ClubHere we are. The first article of a serie called « I found it on the web« . The goal? Sharing with you my most valuable findings on the web.

First of a row is Product Manager Club. I found it while looking for resources for my daily job. And believe or not, it is one of the most interesting website I have found in a year. something fresh, something new, made by daily practitioners just as we are trying to do with innoweo.com to « to help us create the playbook of product management. »

I have not yet spotted all interesting articles on the site but some are in resonance with latest or coming posts on innoweo such « Build a Product road map« , « Persona » or « KPI’s and metric definition« . Those are close to innoweo’s article « How to create a persona » or « Choose wisely your innovation KPI« . We also have on in our bag regarding roadmap (coming soon).

So, lots of good articles, nice design, good mood… A must read.

The Product Manager Club

Improve your Lean Start-up cycle

eye-1560x1107Customers have their eyes on your products. Their feedback is one, and may be the most, important aspect of the Lean Start-up. However lots of company don’t get the most of it.

Let start with a fact: do you read all customer feedbacks?

I have been surprised to see lots of start-ups I follow or company deploying Lean Start-up setting the whole process with lot of care and when running almost ignoring the customer feedbacks they had under their eyes.

That’s a major mistake. Customer feedback is THE most important way to learn about your MVP and to change things if needed, even to pivot when necessary.

Engage your all team (if not your all company)

Getting and analysing customer feedbacks are the most important tasks of your journey to product or service design. Everybody should be focused on getting and analysing it.

Engage your all team to customer Feedback process is key. This is the good way to:

  • have all employees being aware of the maturity level of the MVP
  • have them « feet on the ground » about what they do and have the necessary step back
  • be aware of the work still to do

How to engage everybody?

One moto of Design Thinking and Lean start-up is « go live« . Develop and test. Send your development team to the field, give them the mission to look at customers or clients and see how they use the MVP, what they say they love and hate. Confronting your all team to the field truth is the only way to have them fully aware of what is going on there.

One solution I have personally experiment and which works quite well is organizing Customer feedback sessions (after a test event for example) and let a team member conduct the interview. It works well and empower your team mate to have the issues solved.

I also strongly recommend to have regular feedback sessions, not less than every 3 to 6 weeks.

In one word: Send your team to face the truth of the field.

Do you have some more hints to engage your whole team to take customer feedback seriously? Tell us in the comment section.

 

Choose Wisely your innovation KPIs (hint: we help you)

KPI

So important for your activity, to track its performances and weaknesses, your KPIs must be wisely chosen to serve your strategy and objectives.

Let’s start at the beginning (it is much better).

What kind of KPI?

  • composite KPIs ==> helps to track complex activities within your company and aggregate different indicators to evaluate their performance
  • Measuring KPI ==> quants KPIs helping to follow the activities and performances of your company
  • Quality KPIs ==> Specific KPI to measure Quality, Clients satisfaction, emotions etc…

Choose them wisely

An error when casting your KPIs can have tremendous impact on your activity. here are some steps to help you find the right one for you.

  1. Set the Direction: Define clearly your objectives and strategy
    Yes, your employees and your company deserve clear objectives and strategy. It will definitely help later to chose the right one if you know where, when and how you want to drive your company.
  2. Chose your vessels: Define the tactic
    Lots of people misunderstood Strategy vs tactic. Tactic is how you get where your strategy is aiming you. Each tactic plan has a given objective (gaining clients, selling more, increase the revenue per client, developing more cutting edge technology, Patenting more etc…). It should give access to a quantified results and participate to the company strategy.
  3. Do it! Elaborate your action plan
    Your action plan is your daily reference document. It contains all actions and activities necessary to achieve your goals. Each line should have a given KPIs helping you to drive your actions and evaluate their results.
  4. Drive: Follow and adapt
    Build, Test, Learn, the magic words.
    Follow your performances, line by line, set targets and thresholds and even more important, learn why your actions have the given results, get feedback from customers or clients, and adapt your tactics. Your clients are not reacting the way you thought, learn why and adapt your actions. That’s the only way to be successful.

KPIs and Innovation

Oh yes, I couldn’t finish this article without having a word on Innovation. There are good KPIs for innovation. Depending of your targets, objectives, strategy and tactics of course. But there are bads any way, whatever you like to achieve. Here they are:

  • Number of patents…. So easy to write a patent. Is the company needing it?  Is there a market out there?  If yes, does the investment worth the sales? Answer those question (and some others incl do the owner get money when filing up?) to be sure patents are necessary but anyway it is so easily deviated…
  • Number of ideas per employees. First my personal opinion is that suggestion or idea boxes are killing innovation and collaborative innovation. Don’t start an idea box to innovate. Start it for continuous improvement, for employee engagements whatever you want but you will never innovate with an idea box. especially with a quantified « per employee » number of ideas. It kills the dynamic (if you managed to have one), overflow the process… If you had the chance to have one good idea, now you are sure to miss it.

Tell me if you have some more deadly KPIs for Innovation in the comments.

Agile + Design Thinking

I have found on Medium a very interesting article about combining AGILE and Design thinking.

Both Agile and Design Thinking require a state of mind and an organisation to be fully deployed with all necessary steps and create the most value.

This article is somehow one of the most interesting I have read so far on the subject of Agile and Design Thinking, A must read: Agile and design Thinking by Tom Roach

 

 

Become a networking King

As I am participating to lots of conferences, start-up meetings and other networking events to develop both my professional and personal network, I would like to share with you my little tips.

I was bad at connecting and networking with peers. I have search the web, spoke with some friends I know are good at it to improve my networking capacities. After all, here are my top tips for you.

  1. Choose your meetings wisely
    Not only according to the contents but also according to what you know bout the future attendees.
  2. Book meetings before you arrive
    Speakers or attendees, book meetings before you arrive. Use the online app or attendees directory in advance.
  3. Define a plan
    Define your goals and set a plan to attend them. Whether you want to meet professionals or learning more about providers, stick to your plan.
  4. Don’t just take Business Card
    Frankly business cards don’t make a project so speak, engage people by discussing about their proejcts, needs and problems.
  5. PRO TIP 1: Use a business card reader
    Not only helping you to organize your enw contacts, most of them help you to add comments and notes.
  6. Share
    Share your contacts and hints with your colleagues once back
  7. Connect as soon as possible
    At your hotel or back home, go to linked-in or whatever social network you invest in and connect. If you don’t like social network send an email to remind people who you are and how you know each other.
  8. PRO TIP 2: Use mailing soft
    I personnaly use Mailchimp once back home to make a list per conference. I then can share hints and informations directly to all attendees I have met.

Comment to give your tips.

Creative Problem Solving (CPS) helps you innovate

CPSI have used Creative Problem Solving techniques for more than 10 years now and facilitated more than 100 workshops using this method or one derived from it.  CSP is at one hand one of the most useful techniques to innovate, both for established companies and for start-ups.

CPS: a simple process to be creative

CPS is a simple but key process critical to any innovation process. yes, creativity and problem solving is a process and can impact strongly your innovative initiative.

From a couple of years now I have developed my own approach to CPS and workshop facilitation. My version of CPS takes the best of Design Thinking, Lean 6 sigma and creativity tools to travel from the problem identification to launching the project that will at the end solve it.

The necessary missing step of CSP

If the steps I used towards CPS are more or less the ones defined at Buffalo college in the 1950’s I strongly recommend to go as far as possible to the implementation phase.

My point is that often CSP workshops end with a lot of so-called « idea-sheets » or « action plan » to be implemented. That’s not enough if you want to deliver and innovate to create customer value. At this point my « Project Manager dark side of the force » takes the lead and drive it along the « Initiating Project Process ». It is a key factor of success to have, ready to sign for the sponsor, a project charter to launch the first activities necessary to evaluate and implement the solution to the CSP topic.

The definitive CSP steps

  1. Clarify the problem: Identify and converge on what your group understand from the topic
  2. Explore the problem: Define clearly the topic
  3. Analyse the problem: Analyse all the parameters and dimensions of your topic. Be sure to have everything in mind all the specifications of our topic
  4. Ideate: generate ideas, cross-fertilize them…
  5. Challenge the ideas: evaluate all ideas and transform them into concepts (a more advanced state) and explore all positive and negative aspects of the possible implementation
  6. Implement the ideas (initiate the projects): prepare the project, define the ready-to-launch actions incl. project charter, preliminary WBS and stakeholder map.

If you want some more information, don’t hesitate to leave a comment or send us a mail