Aug 13

Requirements Management Or Roadmapping – What Does Google Say?

Map, by agoasi, on Flickr. CC 2.0 licensed.

The marketers at Accept, my previous company, always wanted to position the product as an application for “roadmapping.” This seemed odd to me given that our core capability was sophisticated product requirements management combined with product release planning.

So I did some research on Google. Using adwords, I checked how many searches there had been in the previous month related to requirements management, and how many related to roadmapping. What I found did not surprise me.

  • 400,000 Google searches per month for “requirements management” and related terms
  • Fewer than 40,000 for “roadmapping”-related terms

People were – at least based on their searches – ten times more interested in requirements management than they were in roadmapping.

The explanation for this is simple. Requirements (or user stories, if you’re dyed-in-the-wool agile) are the currency of product planning and creation. And we don’t have a good way to manage them, especially when it comes to the complexity of their lifecycle. So every product manager suffers from what I’ve called “requirements chaos.” This affects us every day, in every way. ([tweetthis]”Requirements chaos” affects us #prodmgrs every day, in every way.[/tweetthis]) And causes all kinds of problems for our products, for our productivity as a product team, for the quality of the products.

Just because the search numbers are so out of balance, that doesn’t mean roadmapping isn’t a more valuable search term than requirements management for some other reason. Perhaps roadmapping is more interesting to executives than requirements. Or perhaps requirements management is “burned” via its association with some of the old school tools for non-product projects, like DOORS and Requisite Pro.

This is something that could be tested, of course. Be that as it may, the raw numbers are interesting, and what they indicate to me is that the big pain out there among product managers is requirements.

Aug 13

Three More Product Management – Err… Roadmapping? … Tools to Watch

To follow up on my post last week about three new product management tools I’d heard about as of last week, I now have heard of three more.

  • Reqqs – “The smart roadmap tool for product people.” Their initial release will focus, according to their website, on requirement prioritization. This is a topic with which I have some familiarity, so I’m looking forward to seeing what they’ve done to manage this process. 
  • ProdPad – “Your toolkit for better product management.” Of these three products, ProdPad is the only one that’s actually available to use right now. One of their most interesting features, to me, is again a prioritization tool – in which they highlight “Quick Wins” and “Time Sinks”
  • Uberito – “Revolutionary product management tooling for the cloud.” Based on the website, they seem to include some gamification aspects in the product, which I think is potentially valuable, as I’ve discussed in the past

Of these ProdPad is the most mature, being a currently available product. Both Reqqs and Uberito are pre-release at the moment. I have not yet tried any of these, but they are all interesting based on the websites, and I hope to learn more about each of them.

As as aside, it found it curious how many of these new products position themselves as “roadmapping.” Back in my Accept days I did some research on “roadmapping” versus “requirements management” from a marketing perspective, given Marketing’s tendency to shy away from positioning Accept as a requirements management product. I’ll have more to say on this in future posts.