Why We Dropped Product Roadmap and Our Future Plans | Targetprocess - Visual management software

9 years ago

Why We Dropped Product Roadmap and Our Future Plans

Brief summary of this article:

We've dropped product Roadmap silently and it was not a good idea. I want to share the reasons behind this decision as well as our plans for the next several months.

Roadmap Problems

Roadmap has been publicly available over the past several years on our web site. We'd change it time and again and we'd promise something based on the roadmap, but then do not keep the promise. Some examples are Wiki integration and Help Desk Portal re-design. Wiki integration has lived in the roadmap from the beginning, but it is still an idea in the backlog. Some activities have been started on Help Desk Portal, but paused this Summer to focus on other things.

In a nutshell, roadmap was harmful to all parties. Customers relied on it and were disappointed if priorities had to be changed. We we were not able to stick to the priorities due to various internal and external reasons.

Now we have a single goal:

Create a life-changing agile project management tool for small to medium businesses

It means we want to create the best APM tool in the world for small to medium businesses. This is a very challenging goal, but we are really passionate about it and we know how to achieve it.

The short term strategy is very fluid though. There are SO many parts in TargetProcess we want to improve and make them simple, emotional, fast and useful. We know how to do that. The only problem is that we can't focus on all parts at the same time, we have to prioritize carefully and pick 2-3 top things.

Currently, we think that the most important problems to address are:

  1. Performance
  2. Multiple teams support

Performance

Our ultimate goal is a sub-second response time for all pages on any reasonable load. Many areas in TargetProcess should be improved to make it happen. Currently we are focusing on a new plugins architecture that will significantly reduce server load. The other thing we've started is the complete redesign of View/Add/Edit pages. These pages are used most and ironically they are the slowest (even lists are faster).

We got rid of half-backed solutions this year and every major improvement is now preceded with the complete UX cycle incl. concepts brainstorming, prototyping, usability testing etc. Definitely, this slows us down at the start, but the final solutions will be outstanding in our opinion. For example, we are very happy with the navigation improvement this year. It still has some problems, but it was the first attempt to apply UX phase. The next solutions will be even better.

We've split into 2 teams that work on solutions almost independently with full focus. New plugins should be released on January and you will enjoy:

  1. Faster (much faster) performance
  2. Nice and easy-to-use API to create new plugins (currently it is quite hard to do)
  3. Mashups. It will be possible to inject UI on TargetProcess pages and create really powerful custom things

View/Add/Edit will be released in small batches and in the end you will have:

  1. Fast and painless navigation to Views everywhere
  2. Full inline edit in Views
  3. Quick Add everywhere

Multiple teams

Multiple teams support is very important for about ~50% of our customers. If you have several teams working on dependent projects, you will enjoy it as well. We believe no tools on the market support multiple teams planning and tracking nicely and expect to really simplify life of many people in agile software development soon.

The first part of the solution is UI to manage and track multiple teams. It is already defined and we are running usability tests to improve it. This UI (we call it ZoomBoard so far) will be included into TargetProcess as a beta this month (November) and you will be able to use it to plan and track several projects.

Then we are going to change business layer to support multiple teams. There is no clear estimate for that so far, but we expect to release it in 6 months. Multiple teams support will allow you to:

  1. Plan and track work on a team(s) level for several projects on one screen
  2. Plan and track releases and iterations on a team level, no matter how many projects the team works on
  3. Have complete visibility on an individual/person level

We know that there were just 2 major releases this year, but upcoming improvements will be outstanding in my personal and highly biased opinion. Only 2 customers participated in ZoomBoard usability tests so far, and here's their feedback:

The new task board is a hammer! Definitely the best PM tool on the market

It will be a life-changing tool for agile project manager

I am sure you will like upcoming releases. These are significant steps toward our ultimate goal.

Best,
Michael Dubakov
TargetProcess founder and CEO

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