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Framing a Roadmap

Amy Rambhia

Product Manager at Microsoft

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Problem

"I was assigned to a team of 10 engineers who were working on a day to day basis on the same product space. Nobody was able to take a step back and see the bigger picture of where they needed to better align themselves."

Actions taken

"I helped the team to spend some time together in order to align themselves with the bigger picture I had wanted them to discover. Then, we agreed from there that we would need to set up a roadmap and come up with metrics to measure impact."

"What I did was seek to understand the history, context, and known information on the market from the people who had been working in that area for a while."

"Then, I spent the same amount of time intending to understand the market from an individual and neutral point of view. In doing so, and this varies depending on the product space, I set out to find out what solutions exist in the space already, what the user expectations were, and what things already worked with the user. I had to ask myself, 'do the solutions that we are aiming for already exist?... and if so, what are we doing that is different?'"

"As I usually tend to do, I divided the framework for the roadmap into four categories. These categories are defined by fundamentals, what the market is telling you, company needs, and pushing the envelope or experimentation. I framed the roadmap in that perspective and measured that against all of the other things."

"Every six weeks, we continued doing check-ins with leadership and had ourselves a rolling project where the roadmaps were just 6 weeks at a time."

Lessons learned

  • It is important to identify the right level of roadmap that you need without over or under doing it. Then, make sure you understand the 'why' by measuring impact.
  • Establish your pillars of prioritization for the roadmap in whatever framework makes sense for you. I tend to follow the 'why', 'what', 'how' format of 'why are we doing this?...and why us over others?', 'what is it we are going to do?', and finally, 'how are we going to manage to head in the right direction?'
  • As you are coming up with the framework, you should at every step of the way, be constantly driving alignment with your stakeholders. Do not go off in a rabbit hole, finish your exercise, come back with your findings, and then just expect people to say "yes".
  • "I did the exact same process with another roadmap for a startup incubation app. We didn't have six-week durations and just came up with a roadmap from scratch."

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Amy Rambhia

Product Manager at Microsoft


Engineering LeadershipLeadership DevelopmentCommunicationOrganizational StrategyDecision MakingCulture DevelopmentEngineering ManagementPerformance MetricsCareer GrowthCareer Progression

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