Joining us for today’s show is Tom Banta, a Senior Vice-President of Product Management and Development who knows a thing or two about creating products that people can’t imagine living without. Tom led product development at BMC Software and it’s no coincidence that his current company has experienced tremendous growth with Tom’s proven ability to deliver outstanding products.
Today’s topic is focused on Product Roadmap, how to use the product roadmap to paint a picture of happy customers well into the future. To follow along, download our 10th annual workbook, How to Make Your Number in 2017. Turn to the Product Strategy section and flip to the Product Roadmap phase on pages 138 – 142 of the PDF.
Joining us today for this demonstration is Tom Banta, Senior Vice-President of Product Management and Development for vXchnge, a co-location facility provider. vXchnge’s Micro Data Centers provide businesses with a Data Center-as-a-Service solution. Tom is uniquely qualified to demonstrate how to use the product roadmap to paint a picture of happy customers well into the future.
Watch as Tom and I discuss prioritizing product features and the concept of role based themes as a customer-centric approach. Most product development teams prioritize by themes. Tom contributes a unique insight with the concept of role-based themes. He explains his approach to identifying impact areas: “Focus on individual roles that would have what we would think as a big impact. At the end of the day, we’re trying to get our products to be something that people couldn’t imagine living without.”
Most of you are CEO’s or B2B sales and marketers. The reason why we enjoy talking to product leaders like Tom is because you can optimize marketing and sales all you want. If the product isn’t very good or competitive, you’re not going to be an effective sales and marketing organization.
Why this topic? Future revenue growth sits in the product road map, use cases and requirements backlogs. Today’s revenue-producing products become tomorrow’s commodities as the competition quickens its development cycle. Building blockbuster products requires moving from legacy market listening techniques to advanced feedback systems. Long lead times starting with robust requirements have been replaced with short lead times starting with use case iterations based on real-time product feedback and analysis.
You must hear Tom’s answer to my question about the golden feature: Sales people are always looking for that “golden feature”, the single most important feature around which we build our products and features and the thing that leap off the shelves and kind of sell itself. How do you define a golden feature and does such a thing exist?’
Tom’s response to this question provides the three basic elements that must be comprised in a successful product roadmap. Major Features, Enhancements which are improvements on existing features, and improvements on usability. Watch the full exchange to hear Tom’s point of view, including this quote: “We look at impact based and what is something that we think really will set us apart competitively in the market. Some of these require what’s called some seed planting way in advance.”
If you would like to spend time with me on this topic, come see me in Dallas at The Studio, SBI’s multimillion dollar, one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art executive briefing center. Bring your executive team, particularly your product, marketing and sales leadership in for a workshop. Sessions at The Studio are experiential and are designed around the principles of interactive exercises, hands-on innovation, and peer-to-peer collaboration. The Studio is a safe-haven for learning and after just a few days clients leave with confidence and clarity on how your product roadmap can help you grow more revenue.