Do you build a company that is product led or is it a services led growth model? Technology companies in the visibility space have a decision to make when they first undertake introducing a new product to the market. The choice a company makes will have a lasting impact on how they structure and build the support needed to grow and acquire new customers.
Product Led Companies: Product led growth is a business methodology in which the company looks at real user pain points and designs the product to relieve that pain. The company will put the mechanisms in place and empower a customer to find, evaluate and adopt the product on their own. Product led growth speaks directly to the needs of the customer through a bottom up approach.
Service Led Companies: Service led companies maximize the customer value through the interplays of the services they provide, the software built and data. Service led organizations build customer facing businesses that are designed around the organizational strategy. It is quite common that any deliverable or software developed is specific to an individual customer and is not provided to other customers.
Why does this decision have such a lasting impact on growth and internal priorities? Should a company build their growth model around product led instead of a sales or marketing led model that delivers on service? Well these questions become important when you might be reviewing a company to partner with. Does their current structure allow them to be agile, shift priorities quickly if they don't match the customer's, and strive for a collaborative partnership. Both sides are willing to be flexible and be open to sharing feedback to build this partnership vs. a boxed service approach. In the case of a product led company, the product road map is the axle that the company spokes attach themselves to. So why does VIZION put so much weight behind its own product roadmap and the team attached to it.
The team at VIZION is aligned from the start. Focusing on the product and its corresponding roadmap will ultimately define our growth. Delivering on the success of the customer becomes the North Star for teams and frequent feedback from clients allows for continuous iteration.
What is a product roadmap and how does it drive value for customers
A product roadmap focuses on the value we propose to deliver to our customers and how we will achieve this, through engaging the support of internal and external stakeholders. A clear and simple approach is critical to success. Simple, however, does not equal easy.
Puts plans in strategic context
Roadmaps provide insight into the big picture, connecting what we build to why we are building it enabling the entire organization in making decisions that align with our common vision. This helps coordinate efforts across departments, such as marketing, sales, finance, and customer success.
Focus on delivering value
Our roadmap not only states when we will deliver what, but it states the business results for our customer and/or our organization. This focus provides freedom and autonomy to internal stakeholders to define and develop the product, while also providing guardrails and goalposts for us to remain aligned.
Who uses a roadmap?
Everyone in the company is a stakeholder in regards to the product road map. Internal and external colleagues and partners who are involved with the product being developed, marketed, sold, and serviced. Internally this could range from sales, marketing, user experience, engineering, research, finance, and even human resources.
The recipient of the value our product provides. Within these terms we include the buyer and the user of the product, because often for B2B products the buyer is not the user. A consistent and transparent feedback loop between our customer success team and customer allows for consistent improvement to our product. Partnership between stakeholders is necessary to build a lasting relationship that serves both parties.
What are the parts of our roadmap?
How a specific type of customer will benefit from our product when it is fully realized.
Initiatives & Business Milestones
The goals and outcomes our product will accomplish. Our organization can measure our progress to determine success. These themes and milestones explain why our roadmap excites stakeholders and makes it easier to get resources (investment, team, customers).
The specific deliverables that fulfill needs and solve problem themes identified in our roadmap. These details are the new feature capabilities, enhancements we will deliver. Depending on expectations details may include product specs, architecture diagrams, flow charts, design sketches, or prototypes.
Time & Confidence Level
Our roadmap covers one year with deliverables scheduled sooner having the highest confidence to not change scope or timeline.
Roadmap: Should & Should Not
A product roadmap should:
- Put the organization's plans in strategic context
- Focus on delivering the value to customers and the organization
- Embrace learning as part of the successful product development process
- Rally the organization around a single set of priorities
- Get customers excited about the product's direction
A product roadmap should not:
- Make promises product teams aren't confident they will deliver on
- Require a wasteful process of up-front design and estimation
- Be conflated with a project plan or release plan
Confidence in our growth model and being a product led company allows VIZION to be agile and easily adapt to both market and environmental changes. Clear focus and transparency with our customers on the VIZION roadmap gives realistic expectations on what is available today and timing on enhancements. Whomever you decide to work with for your ocean carrier data needs, ask the hard question: Is this a partner that I can grow with or will I be looking again in 6 months?
VIZION is always on the lookout for partners to build and grow. Our product might not offer what you need today but our road map accounts for it in the future. Work with us in beta and help design the system that fits your needs for tomorrow.