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Planning Product Roadmaps

First, Feature Sizing

Throughout product management we’ve been using School Admin’s parent portal as a working example to examine and dissect an online product. We were tasked to parse out the portals’ features, down select to what features were necessary for it to be a working product, and create a product roadmap to get the minimum viable product up and running.

I began with selecting the features that I thought would be needed in order for adding a new student to be a success. I placed blue dots around things I thought would be necessary to include on a pricing document to review with a developer.

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I later spoke with a developer at School Admin to really get the scoop on what goes into one of their pages. Clickable buttons, search entry fields, and drop down’s turned out to be the least amount of work when crafting a page. Features that took longer were things that required retrieving external or internal data. An example of this was calendar build outs. They explained that calendar functionality would have to be coordinated with outside servers. This could take an additional 10-14 days to build. A feature that is helpful, and provides convenience but albeit not something absolutely necessary.Screen Shot 2020-04-13 at 3.51.27 PM

Thin-Slicing

The total build of onboarding a new student was estimated at about 50 days of production. After going over the wireframes and features together, the developer and I were able to eliminate some of the non-necessary features (like the calendar) in order to create a thin-slice. We cut off about 21 days worth of work for two developers working at 40 hours a week. Thin-slicing is the act of having the proprietary goal work, sans the bells and whistles that could be added to the site later.

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To better illustrate achieving a shippable product we created product roadmaps. With a roadmap, you’re able to see what features are to be prioritized during build. Throughout my conversation with the developer I was told with so many reusable pieces that I should have no trouble getting the bare bones of onboarding a new student up and running. The calendar link was

Using the MoSCoW (Must Have, Should Have, Could Have and Won’t Have) prioritization method I created the above roadmap. This forced me to exclude the link to calendar feature due to it’s intense backend link-to-external-server time.

additional learnings

I used product plan which gave an easy grab and drop box feature that would have taken added time in excel or google sheets. During this product roadmap exercise I found the ability to see tasks of highest priority take hierarchy over others extremely helpful. To be able to pass this along to anyone on a team internally or externally would eliminate confusion or constant check-in. An added bonus in the current light of remote work.