Digital Product Management 101: Planning in Uncertain Times

    Nowhere is the impact of digital product management, or DPM, felt more than when it comes to planning. The very foundation of planning for most organizations is the selection of the projects, initiatives, and investments that will drive most business value. With DPM, the focus shifts away from projects to the management of digital assets for their entire duration. And as that focus shifts to a longer timeline, so too must planning adjust. Organizations must put greater focus on the concept of roadmaps. These represent the directional strategy for each digital product and form the basis of all planning for that product.

    Roadmaps are developed to set the business’ vision and strategy. They are tools to help communicate with customers and convey directional growth to development teams. Roadmaps morph and evolve over time, as the product manager refines them in response to new opportunities and shifting customer demands.

    This ability to quickly and easily adjust roadmaps is key to planning success. Roadmaps remain high level and directional until work is ready to begin. Only then will more detailed planning be undertaken, allowing a digital product to pivot with minimal resistance right up until the point where work is set to begin on any roadmap element.

    This integration of roadmaps with every element of the organization—an agile connection to the work, a transparent connection to the strategy, and an ability to communicate these connections to internal and external stakeholders—is what makes roadmaps so powerful.

    Especially in these uncertain times when our market and customer demands are shifting daily, roadmaps are a critical element of DPM and enable a business to realize the full potential of digital transformation and a digital product approach.

    Now more than ever companies need to have full transparency into their planning so they can make decisions on the most efficient ways to drive value for their customers. Companies that leverage strategic roadmaps that enable them to plan and pivot based on market demands will not only survive but thrive.