In the webinar, Railz.ai Product VP Sam Kawtharani shared his insights on featureless product roadmaps vs. a traditional one. You can watch Sam’s whole webinar presentation above. The highlights of the webinar are available below.

The problem with feature-based roadmaps

Before he got into why featureless product roadmaps should be considered, Sam explained the issues with the alternative.

“The first issue is converging on features. That is basically the biggest risk today. When you’re creating this feature, especially when you’re converging early on, you’re trying to figure out what the output is. What should it do? And what customers are you attracting? Is it really solving the problem? So that’s always been one of the risks when you’re trying to define features so early on. It puts us in that mindset of focusing on output more than the outcome itself.”

Theme-based roadmaps

Great product managers might want to consider focusing on a theme, rather than features, to keep them on track when building products. This is how you can do featureless product roadmaps.

“The main goal is it can allow you to tie your features to certain themes. So, when you have that overall theme, now I don’t have to get buy-in on a certain feature or a set of features. Instead, I’m buying a specific theme. 

It’s better to align on a certain goal or on a strategy instead of certain minor or detailed specifics. It helps you stay strategically on track. Mostly, because we’re shifting that mentality from output to outcome. And focusing on the objectives.

Everything I do, everything I build, is tied to that to that outcome of that strategy down the road. It then keeps us focused on the North Star.  It allows you to think about every feature you’ve built and map it to where it gets me there.”

Sam’s $0.02 on featureless product roadmaps

Sam offered a list of his thoughts on featureless product roadmaps. The list is as follows:

  1. It’s a state of mind.
  2. Feature-based product roadmaps can limit an organization’s opportunity to adapt.
  3. Getting stakeholders comfortable with the flexibility and uncertainty isn’t easy.
  4. It ruins agile.


Winner of the Discover & Prioritize category in the Conceive Stage of the 2021 Product Awards.
Amplitude

This webinar was sponsored by Amplitude; helping companies innovate faster and smarter.

Winner of the Discover & Prioritize category in the Conceive Stage of the 2021 Product Awards.

About the speaker
Sam Kawtharani Intersect, Director of Product Management Member

Sam Kawtharani is an experienced product leader who specializes in driving vision and roadmap for businesses from startup to IPO. He focuses on collaboration between customer and company, with cross-functional partners to launch cutting-edge business solutions, driving greater operational efficiencies, engagement, and revenues. Sam is passionate about combining the best of technology, data and product, and design to execute a successful product vision.

About the host
Nita Maheswaren NCR Corporation, Senior Product Management

I'm passionate about taking new products to market, driving product strategy and winning in a competitive market. Complexity just adds to the fun! I've served in various technical and leadership roles in my past decade at IBM and Pivotree. My background and experience enable me to seamlessly switch between big picture thinking and handling fire-drills all in the same hour.

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