Featureless Product Roadmaps
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.
He recently spoke at a Product That Count hosted webinar and offered a comparison between the traditional and featureless roadmap. The talk also included a brief discussion on why the feature-less roadmap could be a better fit for your product.
In the webinar, 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.”
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:
- It’s a state of mind.
- Feature-based product roadmaps can limit an organization’s opportunity to adapt.
- Getting stakeholders comfortable with the flexibility and uncertainty isn’t easy.
- It ruins agile.