Let’s face it, planning is guessing. Long-term planning is so unpredictable (due to the unknown) that unless you’ve got a DeLorean time machine you’re better off not doing it.
Deciding on what you’re going to build in Q4 (before the year has even begun) is a surefire way of building the wrong thing. Shouldn’t you spend your time building what’s important at the time? I think so.
Instead of using a yearly roadmap broken into quarters, I use a “Current, Near, and Future” roadmap. And I’m gonna explain why.
First off let me explain what I mean by a “Current, Near, and Future” roadmap. This type of roadmap contains three categories; current, near, and future.
- Current contains what you’re currently working on. It consists of what’s most important to your product right now.
- Near contains what you’re going to be working on soon. These are features/projects that are currently more important than future ones.
- Future contains what you’d like to build in the future. This stuff is not that important to you right now or it may be important in the future.
Along with those categories, I like to include a “Released” category to contain all completed features/projects.
The beauty of this roadmap is that features/projects can move from any of the categories. The more information you get about future features/projects will determine its importance. A feature that was in the “Future” column could overnight become very important and needs to be built now. Likewise, a feature that was to built soon might lose importance.
This roadmap forces a change in mindset that amplifies product discovery and helps remove waste. Resulting in you building the right product at the right time.
So don’t be a sucker planning for a future that may not happen and instead try to focus on the present.
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