product roadmap tool

The ‘Completed’ Column: Track Your Key Metrics On Completed Roadmap Cards

Your product roadmap isn’t just about looking out into the future. As you wrap up work on a roadmap card, you want to be able to communicate the results and outcomes of your work across your organization. Did you meet your objectives? Did you hit your numbers and key metrics?

For a data-driven company, this is how you keep your eye on the ball.  With our ‘Completed’ column, you can now make your key objectives, conclusions and completion dates available to everyone you work with.

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Regenerating ProdPad: roadmapping the biggest change we’ve ever made

I recently shared with you our plans for a regenerated ProdPad. As promised, here’s the first instalment in our story of how we’re product managing a new and improved product management tool.

How did the ProdPad Regenerated project come about?

When we first started building ProdPad, we developed and designed it as an internal tool. As two product managers we wanted something that would streamline our own processes and so we quickly built a basic platform using what we knew. We always knew a code upgrade would be on the horizons if we managed to scale ProdPad’s user base.

Scale it we have, and about a month ago we made a trip out to Slovenia to visit our technical team and discuss the details. It was only when we got talking (and spent time with everyone face to face) that the possibilities for what we could do with a complete rewrite became apparent. Within only a few days we took the decision to go for it and officially expanded the team, bringing the help of a professional UX person.

However, our rapid decision doesn’t mean that our changes are development lead. These conversations simply allowed us to reimagine the possibilities for our roadmap. Long sought goals such as improving the experience for reviewer users could be bumped up from future to current developments thanks to what we learnt from our technical team.

How did we know what would improve our user experience?

We collect customer feedback all the time. This feedback is tagged to ideas in our ProdPad account so that every potential change we discuss has a well-built out case. We go through a triage process every month to make sure we’re reviewing all feedback and staying on top of trends. We’d already notated ideas that were linked to cancellations or abandoned trials, giving us perspective on what was the most important. With an unbroken record of feedback and musings, we could share rich user and product requirements with our new UX designer.

So when it came to establishing the updates to be included in our rewrite we already had a good base to work from. On top of a more user-friendly interface, and speedier back end, we roadmapped the following as a packaged current term development:

  • A new Idea list and page that make it easier to develop and search ideas
  • New portfolios that are easier to edit and focus more heavily on roadmaps
  • Better integrated customer feedback with richer customer data
  • A tailored reviewer experience for greater accessibility to non-product managers

 

We believe that these changes will make ProdPad a much more adaptable tool across the entire team, a hurdle that we’ve identified time and time again in trial and post-trial adoption.

The ProdPad team are working on these updates as we speak – in fact I’m writing from our follow up visit to Slovenia to see the regeneration plan committed to mockups and code. Next time, I’ll fill you in on what we got up to here on our trip and how we took ideas from roadmap to build.

If you have any questions for me on ProdPad regenerated or our processes, drop them in the comments below or tweet me @simplybastow

And if you’d like to get onto the beta list for the new release, send us a message here

The ABCs of Product Management

What makes great product management? From diagrams to lists, from mottos to methods, defining best practice always requires a bit of oversimplification. But if the sales team has ‘Always Be Closing’, is there anything that Product Managers should turn to as a guiding philosophy?

We believe that regardless of your approach to product management, a good mantra is ‘Always Be Collaborating’. Truly innovative products can’t be built from a company vision document alone and good product managers never stop seeking input from the rest of their business or from their customers.

Here’s more on the ABCs of more agile, customer-focused product management:

Always start with a great idea

A Product Manager should tap into sources of innovation wherever they can. Whether a great idea comes from a board meeting, the water cooler, or a piece of customer feedback – you should capture it. Make it easy for people to share their ideas, and when they don’t come to you, go and look for them. Brainstorm with every customer-facing person in your organization, scour support requests for insight, or just call up your customers and ask to chat.

But an idea with potential can only become a great idea when it’s been properly explored. If you think an idea has traction, you still need to figure out why your users might need it, the value it would bring to your business, and the effort it would take to execute. And guess what, that only requires even more collaboration.

Be open and realistic

Once you’ve captured their ideas, your collaborators will want to know what’s happening with their suggestions. Transparency with colleagues and customers alike is hugely important. The best way to manage the daily flow of requests for information is open and organized roadmapping of your products’ evolution.

A roadmap is a communication tool for everyone and needs to set clear yet realistic expectations of what’s to come. It’s for this reason that we don’t believe in roadmap dates at ProdPad. Never predictable – especially for longer-term developments – fixing dates usually just results in disappointment and backtracking. We rely on current, near-term and future time brackets to share what’s on the cards with team-members and customers.

Collaborate continually

The collaboration process is never over. User testing and user feedback is critical to making that you’re building the products your customers want. At ProdPad we make sure that collaboration is a core part of product design and mockups – do your team, colleagues or beta users have any suggestions for how something could be done better? And as soon as you’ve delivered a change, others’ opinions form one of your most important measures of success. With customer collaboration at the start, end, and all the way through the product management process, you can’t go wrong.

If you’d like to find out more about how ProdPad’s product management software can help you Always Be Collaborating – read more about our features or sign up for a completely free trial.

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