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Product Roadmap with PMO Context

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Level 2
I have heard some balanced feedback that people love the increased transparency and specificity of the recent roadmap calls, but the examples used seem almost exclusively marketing, especially when it would be easy to show a PMO example. I think it's important to know that we do consider both the IT PMO scenarios as well as work with PMO customers to get feedback on the work that is being done. On this thread, I'll go through each of the 5 major sections of the most recent roadmap and discuss the key areas where the feedback has been largely from IT PMO groups, any unique feedback we've gottten, and discuss the examples where we have seen relevance in the IT PMO space. I'll kick it off with the vision section. First, I think a little higher level explanation of what the product vision and the product roadmap are. Our product vision is a way for us to identify how far we want to go over a given timeframe to solve the challenges you see in the marketplace. The vision that we show in the roadmap is basically a brief summary to give context to the roadmap. The roadmap is an acknowledgement that the product does not currently meet the vision 100%, but that we are working hard to get there. As we prioritize changes to the application that are needed, the first changes represent the first steps in the roadmap. The goal is that through a focus of our business on the product vision, prioritization through feedback that you and others give us, and quality execution, we can achieve solving the problems identified to the market driven level targeted by the vision. The product vision discusses a few key concepts: the challenge that you are facing, why that challenge exists, how that challenge affects you and your business, and the way that Workfront intends to help you solve that challenge. The subsequent sections of the roadmap discuss how the items that are in work relate to the product vision. The market problem: you are being asked to do more with less . I know, I know, everyone has always been asked to do more with less. The difference today is that technology is being used to track - so everyone knows exactly how much more you are doing with how much less. The Bureau of Labor has statistically shown that workers are 100% more productive than they were 60 years ago ( ref ), so we're not just imagining things. We are being more productive, but we are being asked to be more productive . . . and to track it . . . than we ever have before. The cause: technology . Again, I know, I know - we always blame everything on technology. However, I think we can all agree that technology offers opportunities to make us more efficient AND it has offered us the potential for real time tracking everything. Both of these observations have huge implications for you and for Workfront. Your organizations expect to leverage technology to increase productivity faster and to be able to track the specific impact on the business. Suddenly, you not only have your day job, but now you have technology decisions to make, technology to update, and technology to implement - and coincidentally, the directive on technology is "more and faster"! It's easy to see why we can quickly feel overwhelmed as an individual, a team, or an organization. The impact: lower productivity . Ironic, but we all know it: you pay a little now to save a lot later. Except that if you're always implementing and never using, then you fail to achieve the return - you just keep paying a little and paying a little. The longer this goes on without actually visibility into the results, the more people want status meetings and status reports. Guess what status meetings and status reports do - they take away time, thus lowering productivity even more. In the end, it's a miracle anything ever gets done. The solution: Workfront ! You laugh, but of course the solution to the problems we see is Workfront. More specifically, a solution that allows you to manage your work from idea to deployment - the entire lifecycle. The solution that understands that you have to intake new ideas and requests without impacting existing ones (except on purpose from time to time). The solution that understands that the type of work you do takes planning appropriate for the complexity, duration, and value (dollar or otherwise) of the business goal. The solution that recognizes that it takes as much if not more time to get from draft 1 to draft final of any work, and you need key business stakeholders engaged at the right time to the right degree. The solution that understands your project is not successful until it is impacting the bottom line with a strong ROI. "Dev done" is not necessarily impacting the business; "In the building" does not mean that hardware is productively being used and generating revenue or cost savings/prevention. The solution that knows that collabaration is the key to a successful outcome. The solution that knows you need other solutions and is eager to connect and provide easy integrations that support key scenarios. That's our product vision in a nutshell. It gives some great context to the roadmap, which is why we converted the roadmap this year to a format where we are showing how the individual solutions impact the phases of the workflow. There is a ton more detail, research, and nuance; but I really wanted to set up for the additional posts in this section where I will run through each of the 5 sections of the roadmap and talk about the IT based examples that we use in our planning and design. For those that have not seen the Q3 product roadmap, here is a link .
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12 Replies

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Level 1
Hello Chris, I'd be very interested to see the breakdown of the upcoming roadmap as introduced in this thread. I'm guessing that the time-crunch between this post and the official end of this forum (in a few hours) didn't allow you to add the discussion that you were hoping. Have you considered extending the self-imposed deadline to get that discussion moving? Regards, John Dunkelberg p.s. I've seen the Q3 roadmap, but the link in your post is to a google site that is not publically available. You may want to point them to this instead: https://support.workfront.com/hc/en-us/articles/223732327-Workfront-Product-Roadmap-Call-Q3-2016, though a PPT rather than video recording would be more convenient.

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Level 3
>>I'd be very interested to see the breakdown of the upcoming roadmap as introduced in this thread. I'm guessing that the time-crunch between this post and the official end of this forum (in a few hours) didn't allow you to add the discussion that you were hoping. Have you considered extending the self-imposed deadline to get that discussion moving?<<
Hi John, Extending the deadline is a great idea. I talked to Chris and he's agreed to keep the conversation open a few more days, until early next week. Let's make the most of it!

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Level 1
That's great - should we still expect that roadmap breakdown described above as a centerpiece for the conversation?

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Level 2
John, thanks for the level of interest! Apologies to you and others who have been waiting - having 4 and 2 year old girls plus a young man due in less than a month makes for a less predictable schedule than I was hoping for over the last few days. Nonetheless, here is the awaited perspective. I've broken it down into the five sections: Intake, Plan, Execute, Fulfill, Platform. Intake Intake is primarily an IT scenario, though much of the capability resonates with Marketing. The ability to set up a formal request queue with not just custom fields, but cascading paramters with logic to turn this way and that was researched and developed with our IT audience in mind. The latest capabilities on the roadmap include access rights on custom forms (who isn't interested in that?) to control who can view and/or edit which information, typeahead custom fields so that you can reference lists inside Workfront rather than maintaining the list manually, and the ability to attach documents to a request - such as a business case or spec. The last area of improvement is to get clearer on our vision for how far we want the Workfront intake process to go. We do not intend to be ServiceNow with complex automation rules that can send a request anywhere and everywhere, including possibly automating the response. However, we are committed to providing a great intake experience for the types of requests that result in team based, repeatable, collaborative work. More specifically, we know that in the PMO, there are some projects that can be fast tracked since they are pre-approved and already have budget and resources while others require a more formal process of justification, prioritization, and approval. Requests for those two types of projects, and everything in between, should have the appropriate processes and stage gates in place to ensure compliance to your project approval process. Plan Planning is my favorite area to talk about the PMO. What is a PMO if not the most effective planning organization on the planet? Anyway, while most of the capabilities here are self-explanatory, I will cover them nonetheless. First, we have the ability to print a Gantt chart. How many project managers are required to put a Gantt chart periodically into a powerpoint? I know it happened to me regularly when I managed projects in the oil & gas industry in Texas and I suspect things have not changed. After the Gantt print, we have our new Agile capabilities. I'm actually extremely proud to talk about this. Yes, we've added some great capabilities around team based agile, including a beautiful new burndown chart, a great workboard (yes, you can do Kanban on it as long as you don't mind having the organizational discipline to manage your WIP limit yourself), and clear KPIs; more importantly, we've made what I believe is an incredible innovation for project managers. How long have we suffered with a single visualization of a project - the Gantt chart - while those process improvement folks have dozens of lovely pictures to illustrate how great they have been doing? How many times have you enjoyed how great Gantt is at helping you understand the plan, only to fail you completely when you want to know how the project is actually going? We're project managers , not just project planners. Our new Agile view gives you the ability to take a project and switch it to an agile view to see how the project is tracking against it's planned schedule. It's a great compliment to the Gantt chart. Go try it out - it's simply under "views" on any project listed as "Agile". Okay, enough with the marketing schtick - I'm not that good at it anyway. 😉 The next 5 slides in the roadmap center around resource management. As a reminder in case you have not read the other thread, at our user conference, LEAP, I made the commitment to provide you with the best resource management solution on the planet and we have gotten very busy working towards that! Most PMO organizations today don't just plan projects, they are responsible for managing the resources around the business to make sure projects are staffed to support the needs of the business. It's just as hard to identify who are the right people, when they are available, and know when to hire/fire for changes in workloads over time in a PMO as it is in any business - sometimes harder since all of your resources are matrixed in! Our resource management plans will solve these challenges as well as many others. It really starts with the swap tool - for PMO organizations that use our templates, especially with roles assigned, this is a fantastic time saver. Simply go into the swap tool, identify the person to swap in for the role, associate the role, and boom make the swap. You can even do this across multiple projects at once if your business approves projects in bulk as many do. The schedule tool will allow you to do the appropriate fine tuning once the bulk moves have been made so that folks are not overburdened. With the addition of resource contouring, if you need to front load or back load tasks, you can do that. The two primary reasons that we've seen front loading or backloading is to play tetris with someone's time to make sure they are not overburdened, or if you try to level the amount of time someone spends on a project across a month or quarter, it makes it nice to be specific about when hours should be spent. The last capability as part of this resource scheduling effort is an update to MyWork to reflect these scheduling changes to the end worker. One of our value propositions over many other project management solutions is how much we focus on engaging the end worker. This improvement to MyWork will continue that focus by connecting the schedule built to the actual worker doing the work. On top of the resource scheduling work, there is a resource planning slide that essentially says we'll let folks who have a set of projects that must be done by certain dates work with those projects to see how they lay out and trade off resources to try to fit them together. Today, trying to plan resources can be a little challenging as it is spread across several different tools in Workfront. As most PMO organizations well know, several of our resource planning tools are built in flash and we're looking to start retiring some of the flash-based code as a part of this effort. I know you and your IT department will be overjoyed! Either way, most project managers today are managing multiple projects with a fixed set of resources and we want to make it easier to balance those resources across the projects you are responsible for. Tracking hours can be extremely helpful in such circumstances and there are a couple of capabilities here that will help. When tracking hours, it can be tough to consolidate the hours that may be applied at the project or task level, and even to issues when one comes up. There are typically three lenses - how many hours were planned, how many were budgeted, and how many did you actually spend on the work. We're putting a canned report together that will give you quick insight into these metrics across all of the work done so you no longer have to manually pull that report together to show how effectively you are managing your projects in reality. Last in the plan section, if you do use hours, often either for billing back to another department or another business, some folks will apply rates to these hours that change over the life of a project. We're excited to be working on the ability to apply dates to rates, then help you to automate managing those rates if you have a complex rate card. This applies to tons of IT and PMO organizations that I've chatted with, and certainly seems to be becoming more common as these organizations want to run more like an independent business inside the enterprise rather than be perceived as a cost center. Execute, Fulfill, and Platform to be documented in my next post. If I don't get to it by end of day tomorrow, we'll extend again, so don't worry John! Thanks for reading this far - as an interesting tidbit about myself I once rode a camel around the pyramids of Giza - highly recommend it if you have the time. 🙂

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Level 1
Thanks Chris. I'm particularly interested in your thoughts on balancing the needs of your various customer groups. Our organization has Workfront users in our Marketing and IT space, but our largest group (and the one I work with most closely) is in Product Development. We're particularly interested in where you see further Agile workflow development, UI speed/responsiveness, and usability improvements fitting into the roadmap. I think this will be most notable in the Execute section of the roadmap (though perhaps not in the Q3 one current being referenced) Looking forward to more! -john

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Level 1
Chris, Thank you for the detailed explanation on Intake and Plan. We are looking forward to reading your thoughts on Execute, Fulfill, and Platform!

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Level 2
Hi John, Thanks for the great question, and especially the specific examples. I'll chat about this when I lay out the execute and fulfill sections more, but I think it's worth noting that we have been serving development organizations for a very long time (especially in software years, which are even more extreme than dog years!). We have deliberately chosen more recently to also serve marketing organizations. Looking specifically at one analyst, Gartner about a year or two ago observed that Workfront was (and still is) a leader in the PPM magic quadrant. However, we were not a leader in the equivalent marketing magic quadrant. Based on our business objectives, that meant that the product and the company were not positioned where we would like them to be. As a response, we made several decisions - purchase ProofHQ, partner to sell a DAM, and put some focus on the items we're building to resonate with marketing organizations. I chose those words carefully - not "build exclusivesly for marketing organizations to the exclusion of our existing customer base and growth in PPM". We have gone out of our way on the product strategy side to invest in solving problems that affect both marketing and IT - the areas I mentioned earlier: resource management, agile, customization of request queues. As we'll see, there are many more areas like that, including a new native mobile app, notification improvements, recycle bin, and automated handoffs on approvals. Finally, to address the specific questions: agile, performance, and usability. Agile - yes, we intend to come back to agile. There are several areas we're considering (but not committed to), including getting issues/bugs on the backlog, being more explicit about SAFe, a Kanban-specific view, and quite a few others. I think we want to see how the recent work lands, and we've committed the team that would make dramatic improvements in that area to work on resource management for a while - I think we have plenty of wood to chop there and the general sense from our entire customer base is that resource management needs love more than agile right now. Performance - yes, this is an area where we can't just "go build something", but more of a culture that we are trying to instill. We took a full month off of all product development work this summer to focus on reversing the trend of the performance getting worse each month and even more importantly, we used that month to start the long journey of shifting the culture. I was really impressed with how excited our entire organization was about improving responsiveness in the application so hopefully you should see continous improvement in that area. Finally, usability. We've added new beta processes so that we get a lot more user feedback prior to releasing a capability and plan to do a lot more of that moving forward. Specifically, the recent release of the mobile app had a huge beta led by Anna Grigoryan with fantastic results and the resource scheduling tool has over 300 folks already signed up to beta test it with Nick McCleery. (Shameless plug for participating in beta testing alert) We expect that if you are in there banging away, you can help us work out some of the usability kinks that you have experienced. One final note on responsiveness. As you may have noticed, there are a few key capabilities that underpin the entire application. Lists are one of those - lists show up in your task view, timesheets, project view, reports, dashboards, gantt, and many other places (93 total places to be exact). As you can imagine, if we were to make a broad sweeping change to lists and not get it perfect, that could hurt or frustrate every employee at every customer significantly. If we get it right, it will impact that same group, but in a positive direction. We've been working hard on improving the performance of lists, but from top to bottom have committed to make sure that we are producing a quality change to lists, which requires pretty extensive testing, not just in a test environment, but on ourselves for a while before we pass it on to you. We've heard loud and clear that getting it right is more important than getting it right now, and we're acting on that feedback for work on this foundational aspect of the application. Thank you again for the questions - I hope the answers were sufficient! I'll try to weave a little more detail into the execute, fulfill and platform section to give a better understanding of how we are deliberate about balancing our customer segments. Also, one note for everyone - I promise that I'll get to the rest of the questions and comments on all of the threads, including the rest of the roadmap - there will be no shutting this down until I've met that commitment to you! - Chris

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Level 5
I've enjoyed following this thread- it's always exciting to see what's coming down the pike! Karen

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Level 10
Hi - When I go to this link: here is a link . to see the Q3 product roadmap, it requires I have a Google / GMail account. Then it says I don't have permission to see this and I should get an ID with the correct permissions, well, words to that effect. What other ways are there to get to this information?

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Level 10
Thanks Chris - appreciate your insight and customer engagement. I've subscribed to this thread, so am eagerly awaiting your next posts. 🙂

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Level 9
Eric, I'm going to email you and try to get this sorted out. I want to make sure you can get access to everything you need. In Reply to Lucas Eric, MPM:
Hi - When I go to this link: here is a link . to see the Q3 product roadmap, it requires I have a Google / GMail account. Then it says I don't have permission to see this and I should get an ID with the correct permissions, well, words to that effect. What other ways are there to get to this information?
-Nate Bagley --- Workfront Community Manager - Work Smart, Work Happy Message me directly at:

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Level 2
Hi Eric, To view the roadmap, you need to login on the support site. Go to the "https://support.workfront.com/hc/en-us/articles/218879347" Workfront Product Roadmap Webinars page , follow the link, login. If you have any problems, let me know.