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Building a collaborative roadmap and aligning priorities

Product
Internal Communication
Roadmap
Prioritization

22 April, 2019

Bernardo Srulzon
Bernardo Srulzon

CPO at GetNinjas

Bernardo Srulzon talks about how his team created a product roadmap and focus on the priorities.

Problem

GetNinjas is the leading local services marketplace in LATAM, with a business model similar to Thumbtack in the US: we connect clients with service providers for hundreds of types of services, from plumbers to photographers. This massive scope creates a big challenge to define and prioritize opportunities in our roadmap. As you can imagine, the local services market is full of inefficiencies and in a collaborative environment hundreds of ideas will naturally emerge from the team. It's easy to lose focus and we eventually found ourselves "spread too thin", working on numerous initiatives without a clear direction.

Actions taken

First, we recognized that our roadmap is composed of opportunities originating from 3 major sources: (1) pain points gathered from interviews/interactions with our customers, (2) business initiatives (e.g. Growth, SEO, Partnerships), and (3) pain points from internal users (e.g. Customer Support, Marketing, Developers). We then categorized opportunities/problems on the roadmap in these buckets, which helped a lot with defining objectives and structuring our teams around them. We also wanted to create a roadmap that felt more collaborative - we were tired of those PowerPoint presentations that get forgotten after a couple of weeks. The breakthrough here was to sign-up for Notion.so, a tool that gradually became our knowledge base. We started by making our roadmap accessible by anyone in the company - it's essentially a Trello-like board with a card for each opportunity and lanes that indicate whether we're working on something now or refining for later. Everyone in the company is encouraged to read and comment on the roadmap. Each opportunity has a clear owner (one of the PMs), key metrics, main hypotheses and a list of possible solutions - which will get refined as the team iterates on that. Making our roadmap public and open to comments gave context to a larger number of people in the organization and allowed contributions to come from everywhere.

Lessons learned

We had a rough start getting the teams to engage with Notion in the first few weeks. They were already using other tools to communicate their vision, and though they liked this collaborative mindset, it was not easy to break with old habits. We only managed to get past the "cold start" because one PM acted as an evangelist, making sure that every relevant information from the product teams would be shared in the platform, and nudging people to contribute with discussions. With that said, we'll probably never go back to the traditional way of creating and communicating a roadmap. It feels great to see that information is being openly shared within the company and that we can get inputs from people from different backgrounds on any subject.

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