In today’s world of rapidly changing technology, there seems to be lots of conflicting ideas surrounding software product roadmaps. Some industry experts are of the opinion that charting a course for your application and sharing it with your customers is a wonderful idea. Others say that creating such a roadmap and sharing it outside of one’s own organization is a recipe for disaster. Several blog posts stated that by the time the new feature is actually being “coded”, there is most likely newer technology or a hot new trend that could completely change the way the new functionality gets implemented. And this could lead to some unhappy clients, especially if they had been anticipating the exact feature they had read about in the product roadmap.
It is fair to say that most software companies have a firm grasp on the evolution of their products and the direction they plan to go in for the immediate future. So, perhaps the sticking point is not really whether or not to have a roadmap, but whether or not it makes sense to share this information with your customer base – - or perhaps with the general public. I am a firm believer in “selling what you have” as opposed to spending too much time talking about what is “coming soon”. Most everyone has heard the term “vaporware”, which is defined as pitching new products long before they are actually available for release or purchase – - and nobody benefits from that.
Interestingly, during the last several days, all the major news networks have been giving tons of coverage to the recent Apple incident involving the latest 4G iPhone being “found” in a bar. Of course, the phone was immediately turned over to the folks at Gizmodo to get their expert opinion as to whether or not this really was the newest iPhone that just happened to be accidently left behind, or whether it was a hoax of some kind. Apple CEO Steve Jobs had already talked up the new phone early this year, but this was a chance for someone outside of Apple to get a closer look at the “real thing”. There is always industry “buzz” surrounding everything Apple does, so most folks have some idea of next cool thing they will be coming out with – -but only Apple employees know exactly what is being developed. It would appear that the team over at Apple is in favor of using product roadmaps, and of sharing some of the details with the general public so we will all be anticipating what lies ahead.
That is somewhat similar to our approach. While we may not be sharing a detailed product roadmap, we at Novo Solutions are very excited about the direction we are moving in and the future of our software. Great things are definitely on the horizon. Part of this involves enhancements to help make our existing clients (and new potential customers) more efficient as they manage Requests and share Knowledge within their particular organization. And part of this involves tapping into new and emerging technology that is sure to bring benefit to our users around the world. Stay tuned for more !