Product Roadmap

We use Productboard to:

  • Collect insights from VSHNeers and customers

  • Track, prioritize and plan product features

  • Communicate internal and external Roadmaps

Insights and Portal

We collect insights on various places:

Source Audience

APPUiO Cloud Portal Integration

APPUiO Cloud Users

HubSpot: Field on Contact "VSHN Productboard Insights"

Sol

Public Productboard Portal

VSHNeer and all Customers

VSHN Portal

VSHN Customers

Direct Input

VSHNeer power users (Contributor Role).
See also How to add Insights

E-Mail to feedback@vshn.ch (Alias for redirection)

Everyone?

Insights are regularly analyzed and processed by the Product Management and Product Owners. Processing of insights generally is a Team effort, but can also be refined after that by the Product Owner.

The "User Impact Score" [1] is communicated via insights. Either it comes directly via the Productboard Portal or it is set during processing of insights. It’s important to only set the User Impact Score according to what has been learned from the insight. When in doubt, the author of the insight must be asked or discussed in the team.

How to add Insights

  1. Browse to Insights, login with your personal account

  2. Click on the big blue "+" sign located lower-left

  3. Fill in the fields

    • Give the insight a meaningful title

    • Connect the insight to a customer and/or user. Create it if it doesn’t exist yet.

    • Fill in all information you have, the more, the better. If you have any sources, please link them.

That’s all, Product Management will take care of processing these insights regularly (see Working with Productboard).

Productboard Portal

The official URL is portal.productboard.com/vshn/. We have various redirects in place:

The Productboard Portal is used to communicate our plans to the public. Cards on this Portal are manually crafted and can also be used to communicate with interested parties about the state.

Each VSHN product gets its own section on the various tabs.

Tab: Under Consideration

Features we’re pretty sure are coming and are actively being researched. State of the related feature must be at least "Discovery".

Tab: Planned

Features planned to be worked on (Jira Stories are already in a Sprint) or are actively being worked on. State of the related feature must be at least "Planned".

Tab: Launched

Features rolled out and ready to be used. State of the related feature must be at least "Announcement".

Features

Shared Views

We have the following shared views defined:

All Products Scoring and Prio

Shows all products and features in one view. Direct Link.

Per Value Stream for Prioritization

A view per value stream (can contain multiple products), used for prioritization. The following fields are displayed:

  • Factors: Impact, Confidence, Ease

  • Formulas: ICE Score and ICExUIS Score

  • User Impact Score

  • Jira Link

Hierarchy

Level 1: VSHN Main Product (Type: Product)

  Level 2: Product Flavor (Type: Component)
           Flavor of the main product (sub-product), sharing the same Drivers and Priority rules

    Level 3: User Need (Type: Component)

      Level 4+: Product Feature or Subcomponent (Type: Component or Feature)
                Clarifying the structure further or specifying a feature addressing the User Need

Levels can be skipped if they don’t apply to a product or just don’t fit.

Prioritization

We have two inputs for prioritization: external and internal. The external input is the User Impact Score (see further down below), whereas the internal score is based on the ICE Scoring Model (Impact, Confidence, Ease).

Prioritization is used per state and helps to define which Feature transitions into the next state.

Table 1. Factors
Factor Description

Impact

How impactful do we expect this feature to be? Impact can be on user, goal, market traction or others.

  • 1: Very low impact

  • 2 - 5: Minimal impact

  • 6 - 8: Measurable impact

  • 8 - 10: Significant impact

Confidence

How confident are we that this feature will prove our hypothesis and deliver the desired results?

From 0% (absolutely not confident) to 100% (fully confident) in 10% steps.

Ease

How much effort will it take to implement that feature?

  • 1 - 2: 1+ Epics, 10+ Stories

  • 3 - 5: 1 Epic, 8+ Stories

  • 6 - 7: 1 Epic, 3+ Stories

  • 8 - 10: 1-2 Stories (no Epic)

The scale of factors is always 1 - 10.

Table 2. Scores
Name Formula

ICE Score

\$"Impact" x "Confidence" x "Ease"\$

ICE scores are not exact science. They’re just a hint - knowing what we know now, these are the ideas that look most promising. ICE does not guarantee that these are the best ideas, or that they will even work.
— Itamar Gilad
ICE Scores - All You Need to Know

Some resources to learn about this model:

User Impact Score

Sum of points from insights.

For every piece of user feedback that is linked to a feature, its user impact score increases according to the following scale:

  • +0 points: Not important

  • +1 point: Nice-to-have

  • +2 points: Important

  • +3 points: Critical

ICExUIS Score

\$("Impact" x "Confidence" x "Effort") x "User Impact Score"\$

Assigning Factors

Assigning the factors is in the hands of the Product Management and respective Product Owner. This is to lower the friction and have meaningful data available with minimal effort. As a feature progresses through the states and we learn more about them, we have to update the factors to the current knowledge.

Factors are assigned to all features, independent in which state they are. The further a feature progresses towards the Planned state, the better the factors can be assessed.

Choosing features to work on next

Usually the feature with the highest rank gets chosen to work on next (transition into the next state). That could mean the feature with the highest:

  • ICExUIS Score

  • ICE Score

  • User Impact Score

But that might not always be the best judge and usually a debate with arguments can lead into a choice to work on a feature with a lower score.

States

Active
Status Meaning Notes

New Idea

The feature idea inbox - untriaged

These are new ideas which can be in a very raw format, they are "free" because no further work is being done with them at this time.

Discovery

Prioritized new ideas to figure out all the details - research.
This is a critical stage as it needs a lot of time to be done properly - it’s the refinement phase.
Can move into Candidate or Won’t Do.
The feature needs to be properly written with the "Feature Template" (directly available in Productboard) so that it can be prioritized.

These features are not free as they will cost a lot of time to properly work out.

Candidate

Feature is selected to be a candidate for implementation.
Discovery had to be made to be able to go into that state. From now on it will be part of the prioritization efforts.

Features in this state will be part of the prioritization effort and therefore will cost some time.

Planned

Planned to be handed over to the team to start working on it.
This is where it flows from Productboard to Jira Epics / Stories.

This will cost a lot of time as Jira issue have to be properly prepared. It will be externally communicated, via Productboard Portal.

In Progress

Feature is being worked on in the Team.
This could also mean that the Team still has to run through their own workflow of planning / doing (refinement and estimation).

This will cost a lot of time as this is the implementation phase. It will be externally communicated, via Productboard Portal.

Announcement

The feature is done but still needs to be properly announced (Marketing).

This will cost some time for writing and communication.

Inactive
Status Meaning Notes

Parking Lot

Ideas and features which we currently won’t implement but find interesting enough to keep and not just close it.

This list has to be cleaned up from time to time.

Released

Feature is completed (Implemented, Rolled Out, Announced)

-

Won’t Do

Assessed but deemed to not be appropriate to implement.

-

These statuses have nothing in common with Jira!

Mapping to Jira

Features can either be an Epic or a Story in our Jira, depending on what makes more sense. As soon as a corresponding Jira issue to a Feature exists, the full URL to the Jira issue must be stored in the "Jira Issue" custom field.

Naming

As short and concise as possible, over 55 characters makes it hard to read, depending on the view

We have no defined format, use what works best at the time when writing the feature. Examples:

  • Finish the sentence "I need to …​" from a user’s perspective

  • "verb object clarifier" (For example "Install an OpenShift 4 cluster on cloudscale.ch")

Choose the name that best represents your current understanding of the need and that will make it easy to find the feature when you search for it later.

Feature names can change over time as the underlying needs are understood better.

Roadmaps

Name Content

All Products Timeline

All VSHN products in a high-level timeline, giving an idea when a feature is being worked on.

APPUiO Managed Timeline

Specific view for the APPUiO Managed and APPUiO Cloud products with a more detailed timeline to see when features are being worked on.

AppCat Timeline

Specific view for the Application Catalog product with a more detailed timeline to see when features are being worked on.

Working with Productboard

Insights Processing

Product Management regularly assesses the open "Unassigned" Insights and assigns them to the Product Owners. If an Insight is already clear enough, it could also directly be processed. Otherwise the Product Owner then processses these Insights:

  • If no priority given, default to 1

  • Do a refinement if needed

  • Mark as processed if everything is done (for example assigned to a feature)

  • Insights which won’t be transferred into a feature get a comment on why and are marked as processed. Such insights will stay in the "All notes" folder and can still be found via the search feature.

Insights which aren’t clear can be discussed in the recurring Products WG meeting.

Update Productboard Portal

Update the Productboard Portal:

  • Check all tabs for cards to be updated and update them accordingly

  • Compose an update to listed cards if needed

Power Users and Admins

Product Management and Product owner have the "Maker" role.

VSHNeers having one of the following roles at VSHN will get a "Contributor" role account:

  • Business Development

  • Service Manager

  • Customer Success Manager

  • Solution Architect


1. The user impact score is an auto-calculated score that can help you surface your top-requested feature ideas. It represents the number of people who’ve requested a feature (or expressed a need that would be solved by it), weighted by how important it is to them.