It’s that time of year again when you should be thinking about building your product roadmap. At Sisense, we start this process by reviewing our data that help us focus on the right things. I’ve included slide examples from previous years so you can see how the data helps us achieve the best decisions possible. I hope it gives you some ideas of how to go about your roadmap this year using data as your single source of truth.
A foundational step of this process is to establish your vision for the forthcoming year in alignment with your company strategy. Every business needs goals, or KPIs, that will drive your strategy and help you achieve your vision. One of the steps in this strategic discovery is to analyze the data you’ve collected, the gaps in your product and areas for improvement, so you can prioritize where to focus your efforts
Here at Sisense, our vision is to infuse analytics seamlessly into business users’ day-to-day context, to accelerate time to insights and help users be better at their jobs.
Figure 1: Sisense strategic discovery
Backlog, gap analysis, and stakeholder feedback
Continuously throughout the year, we analyze the sources of any data we have, such as customer calls and requests (via voice, email, Slack etc.), bugs and tickets, input from the field, and internal feedback, and accumulate it all into our backlog. We also examine system components with high demand (number and frequency) and high impact (severity and priority). For example, dashboard and widget design, email reports, plugins productization, and pivot (usability requests). Improvement requests are logged by CS and Pre-Sales and digested into the backlog by Product.
This process enables us to clarify needs and requirements, identify any gaps, and ensure that nothing is overlooked, however trivial. It’s all driven by looking closely at our users’ journey. As a result, we gain an understanding of what we need to address. We get users’ feedback to check that our understanding is accurate, and to assist us in prioritizing these issues.
We get users’ feedback by conducting deep-dive sessions with a full range of stakeholders such as CS, Partners, Marketing, the C-Suite and more. Armed with their insights, we’re ready to systematically prioritize our backlog into a roadmap.
Figure 2: Feedback
Just like any business, we’re faced with a host of issues that we want to address, and we need to prioritize them. The way we do that is to calculate what is the Weighted Shortest Jobs First (WSJF) scorefor each issue.
WSJF is a prioritization model used to sequence jobs to produce maximum economic benefit. It’s estimated as the Cost of Delay (CoD) divided by job size. First, every item or issue identified as above the “Matters” threshold during our feedback sessions, is given a value according to the following considerations:
User (business) value (UV): What is the relative value to the customers’ business? What is the revenue impact on our business? Is there a potential penalty or other negative effects if you delay? What do your users prefer?
Time criticality (TC): Is there a deadline? Does the user/business value decay over time, and if so, how? Will customers wait for us or move to another solution? Are there Milestones on the critical path impacted by this? What is the current effect on customer satisfaction?
Risk reduction and opportunity enablement value (R&O): What else does this do for our business? Does it reduce the risk of this or a future delivery? Is there value in the information we will receive? Will this feature enable new business opportunities?
The WSJF score is then calculated by adding the value of each factor, and dividing the total by a job size value, thus:
Figure 3: WSJF Prioritization
The WSJF score enables us to place every issue in a prioritization quadrant, so we can easily see which items will be easy wins, which are strategically important, which will please users, and those items that can be deprioritized.
Figure 4: Prioritization quadrant
Tie back to objectives
Having identified priorities, it’s always important to ensure that they tie back to the main objectives, namely increasing user value. We consider factors such as time to insight, ease of use, reliability, and trust.
Figure 5: Tie back to key objectives
This process helps ensure that we’re meeting users’ needs by implementing the most relevant features.
Empowering users with data-driven decision-making
Taking these steps helps us build a roadmap that leads to the best experience for our customers.
It follows the rationale that better access to valuable insights is accelerated by infusing analytics into customers’ daily business context. The more natural a part of everyone’s daily workflow analytics becomes, the higher adoption rates go and the more data-driven teams become.
Easy access to data and improved data/dashboard exploration, plus better monitoring with defined KPIs and targets, empower teams with proactive decision-making capabilities, and expands their consumption of insights. Analytics usage goes beyond descriptive and predictive analytics into the advanced realm of prescriptive analytics, enabling all users to seamlessly take actions at the point of insight that will positively impact outcomes for any business.