As a product manager, you are expected to to balance between the day to day “Tactical” role and the long term thinking of the strategy of the product. This is not an easy task to juggle. Sometimes the day to day gets the best of you and between supplying your team with the appropriate product requirements and running the product backlog you might find yourself without time to figure out the game plan for long term.
In a product role we must understand the purpose of the product, not just the short term feature set that we are making for this important client who said that he will leave if we wouldn’t make it. It’s really easy to fade away with small and easy to plan features that will take the product one step forward. But, if you are a good navigator, you know that it needs to be a step towards the strategy and not just a random feature that will set you back with more requests and push the product backwards.
A good PM should always think about the directions. Every sprint needs to push the product towards the goal – the Core problem that the product is solving. If it’s not part of the big solution, it’s simply not interesting, no matter how much that customer wants that small fix (unless it really makes sense to make and it will take less than a day with QA).
The RoadMap is the most important document you will ever use and ideally produce, however, it’s not an easy task create such a plan. You will spend a lot of time to make it and probably more to modify it.That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t spend that time on making it and follow it. The best advice that I can give is to ask for directions, not just your CEO, everyone! It will amaze you who will give you the best advice, the best focus points, what your product is missing, what is working well and what is filled with bugs. You should ask your customers, they are paying for the product and should be an important part of decisions but that’s not enough, ask prospecting customers, ask the support team, ask customer success and post sale team, ask the sales team, QA, design, just ASK. Some people feel that too many opinions can lead to bad options but in the case of the roadmap the more you hear is the more you learn. True, some users will only say that they want faster horses but most will tell you the parts that will make them upgrade and pay more.
In order to make sure that the RoadMap gets the appropriate attention and to see that their is a correlation between tactics and strategy, make sure that you set some time every week to go over the roadmap and see that you are on the right route.