Jeff Gothelf: Outcome-based Product Planning

In this energizing 43rd Hands-on Agile session on outcome-based product planning, Jeff Gothelf clarified one thing: “Roadmapping is a flawed concept in the age of Agile. Maps, by their definition, are linear, and we don’t build linear products and services anymore. We build continuous systems.” Learn more about what he considers product roadmap flaws and what you can do about them.

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Outcome-based Product Planning

Roadmapping is a flawed concept in the age of Agile. Maps, by their definition, are linear and we don’t build linear products and services anymore. We build continuous systems. Nevertheless, we have to be able to create and provide some plans for our teams, leaders and customers to set expectations about the ongoing improvements and future of the services we build. How do we communicate that effectively in a continuous world? How do we ensure the voice of the customer is included in these plans?

In this talk, Jeff Gothelf discussed the concept of outcome-based product planning. Using specific examples and detailed tools, Jeff showed how taking a customer-centric look at product strategy and creating continuously improving plans ensures the teams maintain their agility, customer focus, and ultimately, the success of their product.

Watch the video of Jeff Gothelf’s talk on “Outcome-Based Product Planning” now:

Q&a Session With Jeff Gothelf

Jeff answered the following questions during the Q&A session. Please note that the questions were slightly edited for better readability:

  1. To gain new clients, sales/senior management commits to a prospective customer a new feature to be delivered on the existing platform by X date. How do we change the mindset and the narrative of these sales/leaders? How to transform from a classic feature-based roadmap to a goal-oriented approach? What would be the 3 or 4 first steps in a 5000 ppl organization?
  2. What [shall we] do when a product requires many development teams?
  3. Your emphasis on teams that include all of the many stakeholders implies that everyone needs to have a basic understanding of every aspect of the product and delivery. Do you agree that people do not exist in intellectual silos?
  4. It is one thing [trying] to support the middle managers to accept the “fog.” One challenge I see is the team composition to define the product delivery, specifically, the [development] team. From my experience, [some developers like] to be part of those decisions, but a lot of them like to code. What would you recommend bringing them into the product/outcome? 
  5. [Do you have any] tips on getting senior leadership to buy in with becoming more outcome-based?

Meet Jeff Gothelf

Jeff helps organizations build better products and executives build the cultures that build better products. He is the co-author of the award-winning book Lean UX and the Harvard Business Review Press book Sense & Respond.

Starting off as a software designer, Jeff now works as a coach, consultant and keynote speaker helping companies bridge the gaps between business agility, digital transformation, product management and human-centred design.

Most recently Jeff co-founded Sense & Respond Press, a publishing house for practical business books for busy executives. His most recent book, Forever Employable, was published in June 2020.

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