Agile Project Management Process Grid–Process 1.6 Product Roadmap


John Stenbeck created an Agile Project Management Process Grid in his book “PMI-ACP Exam Prep”, which divided the 87 processes he named into 5 process groups and 7 knowledge areas.

I am currently covering those processes in the Planning process group and the External Stakeholder Engagement knowledge area.   The first process in this block of processes is 1.6 Product Roadmap.

Product Roadmap

Why is the product roadmap related to “External Stakeholder Engagement”?   Because stakeholders who are taking their vision and enlisting your company to help make it a reality need to be on board with the process of designing a product roadmap.

What is a product roadmap?   In the world of traditional Project Management, it would be what features the product would entail, sometimes called the product backlog.   For example, the application Duolingo is an app that is used to teach foreign languages for free.    The creation of the app itself would be an example of a product roadmap.   Each language on Duolingo consists of the same features.  The emergence of a course on a new language on the Duolingo app would be an example of a release.   For example, Duolingo has just released for English speakers the 15th language, namely, Polish.    Other languages–Spanish, French, German, Italian Portuguese, Dutch, Danish, Irish, Swedish, Turkish, Norwegian, Ukrainian, Esperanto, and Russian–are examples of earlier releases on that application.   And the release of a new language is itself composed of a series of phases which in an agile project would be handled in iterations.

So the progression from large to small is product roadmap, then release, then an iteration.   Why is this mapping of the releases onto the product roadmap, in other words, the release plan, such a critical process?    Because is how you can use estimating techniques to show a predictable schedule for the delivery of an individual feature or of an entire release from the product roadmap.

In an agile project where it must be completed by a certain date, the release date is defined in advance, but the specific features of the release are negotiable.   Given the team velocity, that is, how many user stories can be processes in any given iteration, you can calculate how many iterations it will take to complete entire set of user stories.

This gives the stakeholder a degree of confidence that the project will be completed on time.   And that is why the stakeholder must be engaged starting at the top level of plans, namely, the product roadmap.

The next process is 1.7 Identifying Minimal Marketable Features (MMF), which is covered in the next post.

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