Month: January 2014

Key ingredients to build a product road map

Why do we need a good product road map strategy? And what are the ingredients that is required to create a proper road map? In today s’ competitive environment new products are introduced to the market every day. We can’t sit back and relax. Product managers, sales and marketing team, other interested parties in the company should work together to meet the customer demands. In this article I am trying to find out what are the key ingredients to create an effective product road map.

So who creates the road map? Ideally the Product managers need to build the road map at least 3 to 6 months ahead. Make sure that this road map is shared among all the stakeholders and better if you can display it to the whole company. They need to visualize the new features before the customers do. Also these features need to be useful to the end users. If you include any new feature in your road-map that is not usable or in other words does not bring value to the end users then it is waste of time and money. So PMs need to be carefully plan the road map. Most importantly they need to visit the road-map at least twice a week. Alter it according to the changing market needs, because we all know that the market is changing all the time.
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Reducing the Bug count in your backlog

When there is a huge backlog with a combination of both new features and bugs, you will have a pretty hard time control this. It is really difficult when you develop products and everyday this bug count will grow when customer using it. Same for the new feature list. So what can we do to control this situation?
Following are new steps that you can follow in terms of Agile Project Management.

  • Take a count of new features and bugs. So that you know how much bugs and features are there in the backlog. If you are using physical boards display these numbers so that everyone in the team knows this.
  • Then plan for the first sprint with new features. Priorities the new features and create the sprint backlog and start working on it.
  • Remember to keep some story points to deal with “New Issues”. For example, if the bug count is 200 then if it becomes, 201 then you need to solve the new issue immediately keeping the bug count under control. Attend to the new issues, even if the whole team has to look into that, let them fix the new issue.
  • Remember to keep some story points to deal with “New Issues”. For example, if the bug count is 200 then if it becomes, 201 then you need to solve the new issue immediately keeping the bug count under control. Attend to the new issues, even if the whole team has to look into that, let them fix the new issue.
  • As the Project Manager you need to look into whether this has any impact on the sprint goals. If the delay has an impact on the sprint goal and then cancel the sprint, start a new sprint after completing the issue. Remember the important thing out here is to control the bug count.
  • Also as the Project Manager you may need to inform the interested parties about the delay and make sure to convince them that how important it is to keep the bug count under control.
  • Do this for about maximum of two sprints. After that you can include about 5 bugs in the 4th sprint and fix them. By the time the number of bugs in the backlog will have 195. Keep it under control, don’t let it grow to 196.
  • During sprint planning sessions make sure that you include some bugs, so the number of bugs will reduce when time progresses.

Again, you and your team must be committed to complete the new issues when they are reported. Don’t leave any new issues unattended. Even if you have to give proper explanation to the reporting party and close it immediately. This way you can control the bugs, plus add new features to the product. Same will apply for project development as well.