Tools for Product Roadmapping at Scale

Zone to Win

Zone to Win is a product strategy framework developed by Geoffrey Moore in a book by the same name. The basic idea is that each product/project lives in one of 4 zones:

  • Performance Zone: Grow top-line revenue w/ immediate impact.
  • Productivity Zone: Grow bottom-line revenue w/ immediate impact.
  • Transformation Zone: Medium innovative ideas with medium-term impact. Products here shouldn’t fail due to technical risk.
  • Incubation Zone: Highly innovative ideas with long-term impact. Products in this zone may fail or not continue to get funded due to technical risk.

Strategy Documents

The second concept is to separate Strategy Documents from Product Requirements Documents (PRDs).

  • Owners
  • Stakeholders
  • Links to Related Strategy Documents
  • What is the problem/pain to solve? User and/or job stories. Can also include revenue opportunity.
  • What is our proposed solution? This is high-level, not a prescriptive solution.
  • Target Personas
  • Key Outcomes and Results. Can explicitly connect to OKRs.
  • This section is completely open-ended. I’m looking for PMs to distill their strategy down to 3–5 “tenets.” Anyone at the company should be able to read this section to understand “What is our strategy for X.” Prompts to remind PMs to answer questions like “What is pricing?” or “What is our rollout plan?” can be helpful
  • Timeline and Vision: Brief explanation/table of “child” PRDs approach and timeline. The last row is a long-term “vision.”
  • Supporting Research: Links to supporting user and market research that have informed the above Strategy section.

Cone of Uncertainty

The Cone of Uncertainty is a concept for all stakeholders to align on: the inherent uncertainty of a roadmap increases the further out you look. If your executive team doesn’t understand this they will be upset and disappointed as roadmap products and timelines inevitably change over time. Conversely, the Cone of Uncertainty helps soothe PMs, engineers, and designers who are otherwise afraid to commit to any projects more than one sprint out.

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Zander Pease

Zander Pease

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Working on next big thing and blogging along the way. Formerly co-founder of Nomad Health, Head of Platform at Hyperscience, and investment team at USV.