(This article is cross-posted at onproductmanagement.net)
In several online forums/blogs recently, there has been a lot of talk and discussion about “how often do I update this?” “Change that?” “Do this?” There was a specific thread that was related to a question about a product roadmap, but I’ve also seen the same question about web content, marketing communication pieces, customer visits and other outward facing activities. Our product professional peers are looking for some schedule so they can plug the activity into their calendar and update x, y or z regularly.
But, a calendar appointment is not what is needed to address the challenge.
The only way you know how often product management and marketing artifacts should be updated, and how to share the information, is to know both your organizational culture and your market. You need to understand the beat and rhythm of your business.
Let me try and explain. Beat is part of rhythm. When you clap to music or tap your foot on the floor, you are following the beat. The beat is steady. Rhythm is the pattern of the notes, which make up the melody. Rhythm is made up of patterns of sounds (notes) and silences (rests); it can vary throughout a melody.
To effectively develop and present a roadmap, it needs to be collaborative. But, how often do you update? How often do you share? The answer lies in the beat of your business.
So, you ask, how do I actually determine the beat of the business?
Try looking at some of these questions:
- When does your organization do strategic planning?
- When are goals developed and shared?
- Who looks at the product goals to ensure that they are aligned to the new business goals? When?
- Are goals periodically updated? When?
- Are there any patterns emerging?
This will be different in every organization and sometimes even by the different markets served by the products and business. By understanding when planning happens and when goals are set, you can then confidently check your existing roadmap, and other plans, against the updated information and goals.
Know that different stakeholders have different needs and views of the business. Sales might want the road map updated frequently and only really care about next quarter. Investors might be more interested in a 5 year view. Marketing may need to change their schedule for planned campaigns quarterly. It’s about knowing the beat of the stakeholder within the rhythm of
Looking in from the outside, the key to successfully updating the information, in a way that meets the needs of each stakeholder, is to communicate the right what to right whom, at the right time to enable their beat so it works in the greater rhythm. Successfully done, this will have everyone playing the same tune.