Roadmapping for Portfolios and Products 
It's September, which means two annual rituals have begun: My kids are back in school  and a lot of our customers are getting ready for their annual budgeting process. 

I don't much to say about the former - but we have a whole to say about the latter! So,  I'm going be devoting several newsletters and blog posts to budgeting, hoping to help move an often rigid and painful process into something more Agile, more collaborative and more inclusive.

Let's get started by creating some definitions and distinctions. Organizations often get confused because they use the same process or framework for budgeting at different levels. By understanding the meaning of these terms at different levels we can create better results.

In what follows I will focus on Portfolios, Product Families and individual Products (or offerings, which I use synonymously) . I realize that you may not agree with these definitions and you may find that this list is missing something you feel is important.  That's OK. If you don't agree with them use them as the starting point of a collaboration with your peers to create definitions that enable to you take action.

Term or Concept
Product Family/Product

Why do we exist?

Conteneo's portfolio of offerings exist to power collaboration!

What is the purpose of the  collected products  within the portfolio?

An outside observer should be able to identify synergies among and between products and offerings within the same portfolio and see the alignment of the portfolio to the company.

Example: Conteneo's portfolio of offerings are: Weave, Alignment Engine and Strategy Engine.

A given product or offering should have a mission that can be easily understood in the context of the portfolio.

Weave comprises two collaboration engines: Idea Engine, which supports collaboration based on visual imagery; and Decision Engine, which supports collaboration based based on Participatory Budgeting.


What do we want to be? Typically, this is a longer term perspective.

What is the vision for the portfolio?

How can we measure these results?
What is the vision for a product? 

How can we measure these results?
Financial: Benefit

In this perspective, the benefit is to the firm, not the customer. 

What is the overall financial impact or benefit of the portfolio?
What is the financial benefit of a given product?
Financial: Cost
What is the overall cost budget for the entire portfolio?

What is the cost budget that has been allocated to this product?
Financial Planning
What is the process the portfolio team uses to make investment choices within the products of the portfolio?
What is the process that a Product team (e.g., the Product Manager and others) uses to make choices about how it will make its own investments?
Financial Collaboration
How do portfolios collaborate on which portfolios should be given what sums of money?
Product leaders rarely collaborate with other product leaders.
This should primarily refer to the lifecycle of the products and the investment choices among the product.
This should primarily refer to the evolution of the product. See  
Unmet Needs / Opportunities

What are the key opportunities?

Portfolio teams should determine if there is one or more products within the portfolio that could meet the need or if another portfolio is better suited to service this need.
Product teams should determine how they wish to fulfill the need, typically through one or more features.
Investments in capabilities that provide benefit to one or more products. The portfolio carries and makes investments in infrastructure.
Products may have a concept of infrastructure, but most of the time if it really is infrastructure it will be shared among multiple products and therefore move into the portfolio. 
Customer Journey Map

A visual or graphic interpretation of the overall experience from an individual's perspective of their relationship with an organization, service, product or brand, over time and across channels.
Often created for a single products, customer journey maps can help identify synergies between offerings within the portfolio.

These aren't a part of the planning or budgeting process, per-se, but are incredibly helpful when teams are engaged in the act of planning.
A great tool! See the definition to the left!
User Story Map

A user story map arranges user stories into a useful model to help understand the functionality of the system, identify holes and omissions in your backlog, and effectively plan holistic releases that deliver value to users and business with each release 
A means whereby a product can map the intended workflow of a given set of users seeking to solve a problem.

Story Maps act as an essential element of glue between visions, roadmaps, and the execution of work via Agile backlogs.
Replanning Events

Replanning events are triggers that motivate some aspect of replanning to previously committed plans. Time is the most common - with annual plans driving most of business.
Portfolio replanning events include quarterly and annual updates, major product releases, competitive moves, significant opportunities and related events.
Product teams often follow similar replanning events.