Product-Focused Planning

Each planning cycle (currently quarterly), the overall goals come from the exec team to make sure we’re driving towards the destination we’ve set for ourselves as a company in our strategy and roadmap.

It’s the product teams – engineering and product together – that have the expertise, context and pride of ownership to be best suited to propose the highest impact work that fits those goals.

Per-team planning reviews are where we come together to ensure we’re happy with where we’re headed at each planning cycle. TPMs will pull together reviews for each team each planning cycle to include interested members of the exec team, the leads of the product team (at least the EPD triad) and other interested stakeholders. A planning review will consist of content to cover at least the following outline:

  • Retrospective: How well did we do in accomplishing our goals from last Q? What data do you have to support those conclusions?
  • Status: How well is the product serving the needs of our customers and the business? How well have you hit your metrics targets?
  • Plans: What work is being proposed for this planning cycle, how does it meet the business goals and how does it serve the needs of our customers? What data are you using to drive your planning?
  • Success Metrics: what KPIs and targets have you set to measure the success of this work?
  • Risks/Open Questions/Needs: What are the biggests risks? What are the mitigations? What guidance would you like from the exec team? Do you have everything you need to be successful?
  • Excluded: What alternatives have you rejected for this Q and why? Will they be on the team’s roadmap for the future?

The purpose of the planning review is for each product team to present their proposed work for that cycle and to hear feedback from the exec team as to whether there is agreement about the direction and tasks that the product team’s proposals or whether adjustments need to be made. At the end of a review, the execs and the product team will either be in alignment about the work to do done that cycle or another review meeting will be scheduled to follow up until there is alignment.

Note, not every team will have work to do that applies to every goal every quarter. Likewise, not every work item is expected to meet a strategic goal.