Visualisation is a powerful method for communication, especially in cross-disciplinary communication with various stakeholders, as in operations. Many software development tools already provide some visualisations, but integrated views that combine data from several sources are still at research prototype level. The VISDOM project will develop new types of visualisations that utilise and merge data from several data sources in modern DevOps development. The aim is to provide simple “health check” visualisations about the state of the development process, software and use.
The project partners have developed a VISDOM Roadmap Tool that helps a project’s product owner (PO) to visualise business value impact of added future features, and ease planning of the upcoming product version. VISDOM roadmap visualisations are based on expert evaluations and collaboration, so that the chosen roadmap always represents authentic wishes and needs for a product.
Roadmap enables effective product (version) planning
When we talk about a roadmap in this context, we talk about product planning. More specifically, planning upcoming product development versions ahead. Typically, a PO listens to all stakeholders (developers, customer representatives, product managers, sales team) and constructs the roadmap to best serve all parties involved. Offering a direction to a product, the roadmap consists of sequential future versions, named as scenarios. Each scenario consists of milestones, which can have any scope, but because the VISDOM roadmap is developed from a software perspective, user stories are used.
Generally, the product owner plans a few product versions ahead to aim towards one or more specific goals, e.g. create value for customers. The VISDOM roadmap offers analysis tools to help the project owner achieve these goals and to tailor the roadmap to a form that best fulfils the wishes of customers and the team. The VISDOM Roadmap Tool currently integrates with JIRA and other integrations (such as Redmine integration) are planned as well. This enables an easy import of roadmap items from existing project management tools.
In addition, for development processes it is easy to select any existing tool, which supports the team’s way of working. Adding a workflow layer for product roadmap planning to any existing tool creates unnecessary payload for all stakeholders. Having a separate tool for roadmap planning helps all stakeholders in their daily work, e.g.:
- For developers, the roadmap tool offers a separate “forum” for evaluating future stories, which helps to minimise context switch toll.
- When sales have a view of future stories and versions, it can more efficiently target new customers and ease communication towards existing clients.
- Evaluations of customers’ needs for each story and value a customer might (or will) bring helps the product owner to plan versions ahead to best serve the business needs.
- Transparent and accessible “board” for future stories with workload and business value evaluation, remove most of the manual steps the product owner needs to evaluate which stories are most important.
Experience the VISDOM roadmap tool yourself!
The VISDOM roadmap tool is available on Github: https://github.com/Vincit/VISDOM-Roadmapper.
The roadmap tool is open source and contributions are welcomed. If you wish to know more about the tool or collaboration around it, please visit http://iteavisdom.org.