Deliver a Product Roadmap That Survives Startup Velocity
There’s an often misunderstood metaphor in the startup universe about how building a high-growth startup is like building a car while that car is speeding down the highway.
How do you plan for that without losing your mind? Or more importantly, without losing buy-in from your team, let alone your board and investors?
I just delivered our company’s product roadmap for the last quarter of this year and all of next year. Complete. Thorough. On one page. I feel pretty good about its chances of survival as everything changes around us, from our ever-shifting internal priorities to the unprecedented magnitude and pace of upheaval in the global economy.
It’s a lot to juggle. But this isn’t the first time I’ve developed a unique roadmap for a high-tech, high-growth startup. I didn’t just create a document out of thin air. It took time to deliver a document that will remain relevant for more than just a couple of weeks.
It all starts with goals.
Goals Don’t Change, But They’re Rarely Understood
This post is the third in a loose series on the unique needs of a startup when it comes to developing a roadmap. The key factor that makes those needs so unique is known as velocity, which, for our purposes, can be defined as the intensity at which a startup has to produce in order to survive.
A high-growth startup is always at breakneck velocity, which I alluded to when I talked about how everything from priorities to economic factors changes, potentially drastically, from one day or one week to the next.
At that kind of velocity, a startup’s roadmap has to be flexible, has to bend and not break, has precious little room for error, and has to be brief and to the point. I can’t tell you how many companies, startups and large corporations alike, develop a product roadmap every quarter and then essentially tuck it into a drawer, never to be seen again.
Big, deep-pocketed corporations can get away with this. When a startup does it, it’s a death sentence.