Product roadmaps and a good compass

by oneafrikan on February 4, 2006

_ Product roadmaps are dangerous – Signal vs. Noise (by 37signals)

Jason talks about the idea that product roadmaps are dangerous for various reasons – I think that he distills his argument pretty well (You’re saying “6 months ago I knew what 18 months from now would look like.” You’re saying “I’m not going to pay attention to now, I’m going to pay attention to then.”) and certainly I find myself rejecting some of the traditional corporate type software dev practices in flavour of more fluid, flexible approaches which allow me to adapt and change tack as the situation demands.

Fact is, right now I’m not trying to build something where I have 6 moths of business analysis from a team of 3 BA’s to supprt why something should be done a particular way, how long it shoudl take and what the iteratios should look like, and I doubt that many people building next generation web apps are either – so my mantra is becoming “be like water” and KISS.

Every time I find myself trying to define something too much based on information or knowledge that I don’t fully have, I repeat that to myself, and it’s working.

I think that an analogy that works really well in this situation is that of a pioneer exploring new lands:
he doesn’t have a detailed map of the landscape that tells him he should travel 30km in a day, but rather he has an idea of where we wants to go, he has a working compass, and he has skills that enable him to react to situations and stay alive long enough to reach his destination.

Of course, your boss / client / partner may not like that – let’s bring in the stealth bombers!!


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