Question: How quickly should a product manager develop a product roadmap?
After starting a PM position at a new company, what do you recommend as a reasonable timeframe to develop a 3 year product plan? 60, 90, 120 days, etc.
Answer from Rob Grady of RobGrady.com: Given the broad question, I defer to the standard lawyer answer of “It Depends.” As every company, culture and product mix is somewhat different, so are the needs. With that said, a good rule of thumb to get the product plan out there sooner than later. With that said, if you can get a draft plan ready for review in 60 days, that is much better than 90 or 120.
Here are a few of the many “It depends”:
- It depends if you’re starting with an existing product and strategy. If you have a legacy product plan, it should give you a head start and it is actually more important to get product plan to validate the existing business assumptions with stakeholders
- It depends on whether you have enough market data. If you don’t have any data, you’ll need time to gather, analyze and define the product plan accordingly.
- It depends on the volatility of the business, competition and product. If your competition is putting a revision out weekly, clearly 120 days won’t work
- It depends on whether you work in a multi-product environment. If you have a multi-product or other product dependencies, you may need a longer time period to coordinate across multiple products.
- It depends on your stakeholders and executive team. If you have a sociopath in the corner office, sooner and more often is better.
- It depends on your collateral duties. If you’re playing roles in product strategy, product marketing and product support set a longer period of time to develop the plan. Set yourself up to succeed.
It is also important to note that a 3 year plan is likely to change unless your product is as static (as in toilet paper). Hope this gives you a few things to consider.