Sharing Your Point of View via Roadmap
Every PM deals with the problem of too many customer requests to accommodate, and the moment when you have to share your roadmap and inevitably disappoint someone in your user base is always tough. I find a now / next / later view of the roadmap (vs a date-based format) helps orient customers on if / when you might get to their ask. But there tends to be a lot of stuff in the later bucket…
In a recent discussion with a PM in my network, I learned that Asana actually does something interesting / unique when presenting their roadmaps to customers: they have a section titled “Notably Not”. It’s basically a way to get ahead of customers asking “what about…”. I loved this anecdote because I think it accomplishes as much as you can from a customer love perspective without actually shipping the feature.
Recognition - it acknowledges the customer and makes them feel heard - I’ve worked with so many customers over the years who are just frustrated because they think their feature request when into the void due to lack of follow up
Absorption - it highlights that you actually spent brain cycles / scoping energy considering it and are now in a position to have an informed discussion about it
Prioritization - it surfaces the internal strategy / prioritization scheme by which the feature fell below the line and gives the customer an “in” to debate
Any time you can elevate the customer from external, commercial stakeholder to internal, collaboration partner I think you’re modeling the essence of customer obsession, so this is a practice that I’m definitely going to adopt.
As always, I’d also love to hear from readers about how they’ve said not to putting things on the roadmap - please chime in via comments👇. And if you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing.
further reading / references
an interesting read on the origins of the Now / Next / Later roadmap format
childish drawing / interpretation