"What are you currently working on? What is planned next?" These are questions that we get from time to time from our users.
It is unlikely that you get a specific answer from us. How is that? We will find the answers in our roadmap.
In this article, I will talk more about how we determine our roadmap at Salonized. In doing so, I hope to give more insight into what this process looks like and which factors are involved.
What is a roadmap?
A business roadmap outlines the direction you are taking to accomplish your business plan. It is an interpretation of your strategic goals and how you will successfully achieve them in the long term.
What can be found on a roadmap?
Deciding what to work on (and therefore what not to work on) is one of the hardest things for a company like Salonized. You have to deal with opportunities, threats, interests and the size of the team is limited.
At Salonized, the schedule is mainly filled by three topics:
Bug fixing and technical maintenance of the system;
New functionalities or improvements arising from strategy and own insight;
Requests from users, which we collect and monitor in our Idea Box.
Fixing bugs and technical work
We are constantly developing. This is how we keep innovating our product. Unfortunately, it also sometimes causes us to break something somewhere in the programme. How is this possible? When we have developed something new, we test everything extensively. We also write automated tests for all kinds of scenarios. Still, sometimes things slip through our fingers, resulting in a bug in the system.
We are also growing fast, so more and more users are active at the same time. To prevent some systems from unintentionally slowing down as a result, we have to perform continuous technical maintenance and, of course, keep up with security updates.
New or improved functionalities arising from strategy
We have big ambitions and want to keep growing. We think a lot about new innovative ways to help our customers and make their work easier and more effective. We also work on features or enhancements that allow us to tap in to a larger market. We call this kind of development strategic development. We spend about half of our available development time on this.
Requests from our users
Our users' feedback and ideas are invaluable. We look at the feedback customers leave in our Idea Box, on a regular basis. Unfortunately, we cannot develop everything. Sometimes an idea is simply too much work, too complex or falls outside our strategy. On the other hand, sometimes it seems like an idea is just a few days' work to develop. Due to the complexity of our system, this is often not the case. Many features are weeks or even months of work. Therefore, we have to make very selective choices. This means that we cannot always develop all ideas and we sometimes have to disappoint customers.
Nevertheless, all of users together have a lot of influence on our roadmap. By listening to our users, we get to know what it is that you need and want. Practice shows that "the masses" automatically ensure that the important requests or problems come to our attention. On the other hand, unfortunately, we can often do little for individual requests.
Publishing the roadmap
We deliberately choose not to make our roadmap public. We do this because the roadmap is constantly changing. For example, when it turns out that a task takes much longer than planned. Or when we decide to respond to a change in the market, such as new legislation or developments. When we publish our roadmap, we create expectations among our customers. But we cannot always stick to the planned roadmap: developing software is an unpredictable process. We don't want to disappoint our users in their expectations. Also, of course, it is always nice to be able to surprise you.
I hope this has given us some insight into how our roadmap is determined. A process that is always evolving, by the way. Just like our product!