Product roadmap: a long route to the cemetery

Do you know why the new startups are successful? Not because they have cool ideas. Not because they are at the right time and the right place (although it helps). And just because they have the courageous workers.

These people have not burdened corporate rules. These people think creatively and are not afraid of their ideas. These people want to make products better and solve user problems first, and only after this reach the business goals. And that is why they catch unprecedented success in the first, and then in the second.

Do not be fooled and do not tell me about how in the IT-corporations encourage new ideas — it is not there. I worked and talked with many people from the IT-market — if you are a simple product manager and if you want to prove at the level of need for significant changes or launching a new service, it will be equivalent to the proof of your innocence in court.

Moreover — in such companies discourage all attempts to make the world a better place, and all the instructions and orders come from the «sky» — from the guys who talk and meet with their users only via microphone on the stage. I arrived in San Francisco from Russia, where he was communism and the KGB. Something same, no?

Need proof? Everyone knows why was successful Slack. The guys have solved the problem of group chats and expanded beyond the usual online messenger. After just a month of popular desktop messenger decided to catch up with his rival and published a web version of its application. But who is it need it now? Coincidence? Not sure. Everyone knew about the problem of desktop applications, and everybody knew how it could be solved, but no one wanted to take the liberty to voice and solve it.

Does Slack develop something new? No, they just quickly decided the current problem. The result — the success of Slack.

I, you, and all users of any service feel what his weaknesses and that we can improve it. We share these ideas with friends and colleagues, who, of course, approve them, because experiencing the same problems as you. You try to write about these issues in the release notes, ask questions on Quora, but what’s really going on? NOTHING. A Little portion of neglect and «Thank you, we will consider your wishes.» Why?

Because in the department of product management already drawn and approved a product road map, and God forbid if somebody it will interpose something new.

These damn road maps. Who draws them? Understand that real road maps are drawn on the already paved road, which stood and will stand for hundreds of years. The product road map has a thousand factors, features and things that can not be folded into a precise algorithm even in the next six months.

Be honest with yourself. Think back to when you started the project at the very beginning, what were you thinking? How fast can you make your decisions? How close do you feel that you need for your users? What led you to success?

Can I answer for you? Your courage — that’s what made you successful!

Where is your courage now? Sometimes I get the feeling that she had fallen asleep on the soft leather chairs for $ 700.

Do not tell me about the board of directors and shareholders, who do not miss your initiatives — these guys are primarily interested in your growth and prosperity, and if you can not convince them of it, who can you convince? Remember Steve and that through which he had to pass. Who was right in the end?

Well, yes … «We have money and we can do whatever we want.» In fact of the matter is that you are doing what you want, not the users. Thus, you often solve the problem which was far-fetched, and which … do not exist. Why notes service need the discussions, if not solved the problem of his usability? Do you think that the free operating system overrides the fact that it keeps track of users? Games in the messenger? Are you seriously? You spent a pile of man-hours, money and effort, but … why are you doing all this?

How many months ago have you been collecting feedback from your users? Send a simple form, that ask about what is missing your users. Not those silly «How do you recommend our service to your friends on a 10-point scale?». Yes, NPS (net promoted score) is a cool thing to reports that show the meetings and then removed to the archive.

But understand, that your product is not a simple 1-10 points — thousands and hundreds of thousands of points that can not be measured by one question.

Understand that hundred reports from your users is more effective than the monthly salary of all your product manager together.

Are not you tired in fear ProductHunt view pages in search of those who will soon be able to oust you from the market? Not tired of paying their shares for the purchase of other start-ups, which can also go out as quickly as it lit?

Those for whom you are doing this already with you. All you have to do — just ask them what they need.

Decision on the surface — be bold and make a bold your product managers. Let them listen to your users. Let them think about what they want. Allow them to introduce new features of your products in the active road map. And believe me, you and your products expects unprecedented success.

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