PM Interview Series #2 Case study: Should you have a date for your roadmap?

Question:

Imagine if I would get word from one of the dev teams, that the expected release date will not be reached. Describe your next steps and the outline the communication you would plan.

Before answering this question, there is one question to think. Should you have a date for product roadmap?

Let us discuss the pros and cons when you have the date on the roadmap

Pros: The team can understand better if they really fail the release date, then you can improve to work towards being on time. Besides, it is also easier to manage stakeholders’ expectations.

Cons: To develop a product with features it is not easy and takes a great amount of work from the whole team in order to deliver, it causes pressures to the team and product managers, and then the team will be demotivated. Furthermore, It can also happen that the team tries to reach the date, and pay less attention to the detail, as a result of numerous bugs and a significant amount of quality assurance problems later on.

Therefore, choose to have a roadmap with an internal and external roadmap, internal is for the team, and external is for stakeholders or customers. Internal could state some dates or narrow time frame, and external ones will not reveal that or have a relatively wider timeframe.


Get back to the case study, if it, unfortunately, happened in my team, what would I do to? I would look for some solution to improve the situation.

First of all, re-define our product or feature scope, is it realistic? How to re-evaluate if it was realistic? Take four important factors into consideration, date(or timeframe), goal, budget, and quality. Let us take an example and how to formulate the questions around these four factors.

  • Should we stick to the goal and increase the budget and delay the release date?
  • Should we re-define a new “less ambitious goal” and adjust the date?

One of the factors should be always adjustable. Here, the goal is the one that you are able to re-adjust in order to meet the date.

Looks interesting. Now I’d like to sign up the e-book: How to nail product manager interview?


As for this case study, I suggest to not give out the exact date for an external roadmap, but rather wider timeframe. In my opinion, there is no right or wrong to set up the date. That is why it makes product management job so fascinating because you have no simple answer, it really depends on the situation and the company.