Roadmaps, like a drinking game.

As Head of Product I’m like a bartender, I decide things like: who will be served first? You have had enough to drink, show me your ID, you asked for a rum and coke but you really want a gin and tonic! Overall, being a like a bartender just means you do an incredible amount of planning, and all you do is deal with people and a hell of a lot of random s***.

In my daily life I need to make decisions, who has priority, kind-of like in that bar… The one that screams the loudest wasn't always first, nor be the best tipper. Of course everyone and everything is important, you know that, of course you do. Everyone does, right?

That customer that wants something, otherwise they are going to churn.
That prospect really needs this feature otherwise they won’t sign.
Or maybe the founder wants something too.. “we have the board meeting next week and I want to show this feature”

Everything is urgent, means, nothing is urgent. Roadmaps are where priorities and timelines meet. Roadmaps are what you want to achieve and when. However this should be described in value, not in features. I don’t plan the next 4 drinks for you, it is my responsibility to make sure you have a good time. And in the real world things change. Constantly. Permanently.

Everything is urgent, means, nothing is urgent.

You could even wonder if making a roadmap would actually make sense. Things change so much, so fast, the market, the technology, the users, the needs of investors, competitors. Life. Agile brought us the power to change, shift and adjust, agile was born in IT, but what does agile product management look like?

So how do you decide?

Like any seasoned bartender you know there are some basic product rules. Be fair, be patient and be responsible. You are responsible for each one of them, and for all of them as a group, you are responsible for them to have fun, and want to come back. You are the designer of their experience, and inherently their loyalty. You need to make sure you full-fill their desire even if they cannot properly express what that exactly is. All you need to know: Be fair, be patient and be responsible.

Maybe I do not need a roadmap at all! Maybe what I need are all the ingredients for any next cocktail you want. I need users, I need market research, I need a deep insight in revenue, what makes money, what costs money, how is the product related to sales, usage, and ultimately the value and efficiency of the company as a whole. Make sure you have the ingredients ready to make more drinks than the drinks itself. Meaning, with Mint, Basil, Tonic, Ice, Gin, Vodka, you can face any future request you may get.

KYC, is a basic staple ingredient, but same counts for the market, the possible solutions, all competitors. Own your field. I don’t care if you know the answer to the question, what matters is that you know what the next question will be.

One more drink?

Neuroscience & Design