How do you hold the product team accountable for delivering on the product roadmap?
Tracking impact of launches and defining the costs associated with roadmap slipping. Sales deals lost because a feature was promised but didnt ship. Customer trust lost because they dont have confidence in what you say is coming. The opportunity cost of internal teams working on items that didnt ship and what they couldnt do because of it. I tend to view a lot of things as a cost/benefit equation, so really get sharp at defining the costs to the organization that product is creating by not delivering on roadmap timing.
A few thoughts on delivering roadmap commitments:
- Get the product leaders involved in direct customer feedback sessions and events. Hearing customer problems and requests directly from the horses mouth requires response head on.
- Publish your high level roadmap for customers and sales. Once you commit to a feature publically it is harder to back out of it.
- Hold regular product review sessions with exectuive staff to ensure commitments are being met.
We focus on specfic moments where we make product annoucements to maximize our PR/AR/customer awareness reach. We share the timelines with the product teams typically 6 months in advance and then work closely with them to both ensure we are staying on track as well as know how to effectively market the value that we are delivering. Since we don't typically do off cycle announcements this allows us to ensure that the items committed to on the product roadmap are delivered in time for our moments.
In my experience, it's important for the product team to establish their own OKRs that ladder into the company-level objectives. However, creating a culture of agility that enables quick and reliable product releases can be a real challenge. I've been in scenarios where the product organization has struggled with scoping work effectively or in some cases they've had super ambitious plans for MVPs that would take forever to build.
As a product marketer, I've found that building strong relationships with the product team is essential. By becoming deeply embedded with the team and understanding their priorities and goals, I can help create an environment where the product team recognizes the importance of meeting GTM (Go-To-Market) dependencies for a launch. Through these relationships, I can help promote a sense of urgency that encourages the product team to prioritize critical features and ensure timely releases.
Build strong relationships with your product team. The product plan presents strategic goals and initiatives spanning a long timeframe. The release plan tracks specific phases of work that lead to the deployment of functionality or a major launch. This is usually much shorter than the product plan, depending on the company’s release cycle. It is often 30, 60, or 90 days. So, having regular meetings with your Product lead will give you visibility on how the team is tracking and then sharing the action items and next steps for visibility across the teams helps keep everyone accountable. Raise flags early and often if you feel like the plan is in jeopardy.