Jenny Cox
January 31, 2021

Am I building the right thing?

Some version of this question plagues every product manager - if not all the time, then at least semi-regularly in the form of quarterly roadmap planning. The struggle of what to build next, in what order, and most importantly, WHY is real.

This is hurdle number one. Even when you’ve figured out what to build and WHY you have to communicate this up and down the organization to strategic stakeholders and decision-makers like the BOD and the executive team and operational development, marketing, and functional execution teams.

This is not always an “inform” conversation, depending on the audience. Priorities are questioned, sequencing and timeline unwound, and the roadmap folds in on itself until the product manager is cross-eyed from keeping Google slides, Google sheets, a product roadmapping software tool, and a product development tool all aligned from conversation to conversation.

Inevitably this cycle leads to questions like: Is this the best use of product management’s time? Can this be solved by more people with the same or different skill sets? Do we need more product operations people? Is this even a people problem? Or do we need a better process? And more, different people to make and manage the better process?

What if instead we asked: Is it possible to build technology for the product manager to help her:

- Make clear and holistic assessments and decisions about what to build next, what to do more research on, and what NOT to spend resources on developing or researching?

- Communicate priorities, sequencing, and logic to all stakeholders in a single place?

- Contain any and all questions on revisiting of priorities or sequencing or timeline in the same place?

- Unlock design and development and build with the confidence of the entire organization behind her?

We think so, and we’re trying to do it. Our vision is to build a set of products we wish we had for a group of problems that we saw in-house and continue to see at companies we’ve worked with over the past few years.

We see roadmap alignment as a critical step for any company building technology because every tech company has a list of features that could be built. Still, we all only have so much time to build them.

Every few weeks or months, many people spend lots of time debating what to build next—often unintentionally wasting this precious resource of time. After these debates, product leads are often expected to communicate these decisions over and over again - and that’s all before execution.

This time is better spent designing, building, testing, and researching. Not debating and rehashing decisions that can be proven right or wrong more solidly through active, client-engaged iteration.

People and processes are essential, but decision-making and logic are what count. We’re building products to help people think, assess, decide, communicate, and build.