There are no tailwinds in Product Development

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Eastbound transatlantic flights are often on time and sporadically ahead of schedule, even when they take off late.

How is that possible?

  • They can afford to fly faster than planned because of the jet stream.
  • Planes don’t usually fly at their maximum speed to limit fuel consumption, so they have some margin.

How does this translate into Product Development?

It doesn’t!

  • There is no jet stream – No outside force will accelerate progress without extra investment.
  • There is no margin to leverage – Teams are already working as fast as possible.

No matter how hard we want to believe the opposite, we won’t make up for that delay and catch up whenever an unexpected event affects our plans.

It’s an unpleasant reality, but accepting it is better than letting an optimistic view mislead everyone involved and disrupt teams dependent on that project.

How does this affect our Roadmap?

Whenever we couldn’t do everything planned in a sprint, we’ll immediately add the lost time to the project’s due date.

This simple habit will inform everyone with dependencies on that project early enough to plan around it and not waste any time waiting.

Estimations will never be perfect, and we will change and adjust our roadmaps regularly over time.

Roadmap should give us at all moments a truthful representation of the state of our projects and strategy.

It is not an immutable document.

Instead, we must adjust it as we progress with every new bit of information.

As project DRI, your duty isn’t to make up for lost time at any cost, which will most likely fail or lead to cutting corners. Instead, it is to immediately update the Roadmap with every new bit of information as soon as you discover it.

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