The Roadmap as a strategic business tool
Know how Beonprice takes advantage of the Roadmap to share its long-term vision with investors, aligning the different teams with the organisation’s strategy.
Por Cayetana Fernández, Head of Product en Beonprice
Throughout history, all companies, large or small, have always planned the way to develop their products in a competitive way and to achieve a series of objectives aligned with their strategy.
Following agile methodologies, at Beonprice we are convinced that a planning carried out jointly by all the teams is part of our success.
But what is a roadmap? We could define Roadmap as the strategic tool that allows us to share with our customers, technical team and investors the vision of our product in the long term. In other words, it helps us to align the different teams within the organisation to fulfil the strategy or vision of what we want to be and bring to the market.
The strategic product vision as the basis of the roadmap
Before we start building our roadmap we must understand the difference between the product vision or strategy, the roadmap and the backlog (launch plan).
The product vision shows the world what we want to create and why, i.e. what problems we want to solve for our customers. It is primarily focused on the value delivered to users. At Beonprice, our vision is to build a system that drives the value of revenue technology in the hospitality industry through data, artificial intelligence and people.
The objective of the roadmap is therefore to translate the product vision into more precise objectives, helping us to prioritise and plan projects to strategically achieve our vision. It should therefore describe the problems that have been detected, investigated and validated and those opportunities that are potentially susceptible to analysis.
Finally, the backlog is the tactical tool that provides the development teams with all the detailed knowledge of each project in the form of user stories and prototypes, clarifying the characteristics and functionalities that the projects must support to meet the expectations and needs of our clients.
Criteria for building a good roadmap
There is no one-size-fits-all recipe on how to build a roadmap. But Beonprice would like to share some tips with you.
1. Build your roadmap based on problems, not solutions.
Strategic vision planning is usually done for the long term. When you start a project you have to verify that the research exercise you have done previously is up to date with what is happening in the market at that moment. It could happen that the solutions devised are outdated since the problems have already been solved or are no longer relevant for the users, and yet these projects are still in the planning.
Therefore, creating a problem-based roadmap requires a detailed exercise that can be summarised mainly in two phases:
a) Discovering and analysing the problem.
b) Experimenting with potential solutions. The product team’s priority during this phase is to have enough information from our customers and the market so that we can look for a value-added answer that not only provides a solution, but is applicable to the whole market.
The lack of focus on the problem can cause the product to lose competitiveness in the market (losing customers) and the company to waste resources (both human and financial).
2. Share the prioritisation of projects and estimates jointly.
When prioritising, it is important to be clear about the following idea: it is not a question of whether one problem or objective is more important than another, but rather how much impact solving it will have.
To make prioritisation as objective as possible, at Beonprice we build a simple ranking based on 5 parameters:
· Customer satisfaction
· Development effort required
· Can it be monetised?
· Alignment with strategy
Once we have the list of projects sorted, the most important step is to share and agree it with the rest of the company. This is where the Technology Committee comes into play, made up of the directors of the company’s key departments: technology, sales, customer experience and operations. The objective of this committee is to jointly decide on the prioritisation of projects, taking into account factors such as: churn ratios and reasons, commitments with customers or feedback received from current customers.
3. Communicate your roadmap regularly and easily.
One of the most effective ways to keep the whole company aligned, in addition to the joint decision making previously mentioned, is to have a regular communication so that the message to investors and customers is unique and adds value.
This public communication also helps us in parallel to improve our positioning as we become a reference point in the market.
· The Roadmap should reflect the path to achieving the product vision and be problem-based rather than feature-based.
· It should be simple and clear so as not to be confused with the backlog and convey a common message to internal teams and external stakeholders.
· The problem analysis process is fundamental to achieve a solution that provides value to users and competitiveness in the market.
· Joint prioritisation and estimation helps to achieve greater alignment within your company as consensus is common to all.
· Communicating the roadmap helps to periodically transmit our vision of the product and improve the positioning in your market.