The One With a Roadmap Workshop

We did our first cross-team/cross-department roadmap workshop today. The focus was to improve the workflow of one of our internal stakeholders group and the scope was the first quarter of the next year. The workshop participants were our Head of Engineering, Head of Product and Head of UX, the Product Owners, 1-2 devs from each team and 6 stakeholder representatives.

In preparation for this workshop, a few of those stakeholders were interviewed about their current process and the problems they have. 5 main topics were found and their impact was validated and sorted by a survey sent to over 100 of the other stakeholders.

Our team is the one who is most involved with this stakeholder group so we had access to the interviews beforehand, but didn’t have time to talk about our findings between our team and the Product/UX people who conducted the interviews before the workshop. The other people present were informed about the findings and some “How might we” questions concluded from those findings the beginning of the workshop.

We then built groups with at least one Product Owner, one Dev and one stakeholder representative in each group and went into breakout sessions focussing on the 3 most important topics, with the task to find solutions for one or more of the “How might we” questions. In the end, every team had 3 minutes to present their solutions.

Today we are going to continue the workshop with more breakout sessions and a rough prioritisation of the solutions found, and then I’m not completely sure what happens afterwards, but I think it will be good.

There were some small problems yesterday: The workshop was supposed to be done on site and it was turned into a remote workshop within 2 days. I think it was impressive what the organising team came up with for structuring and facilitating the workshop, but there is of course room for improvement. I personally was missing one sub-group of the stakeholders which again can be organised better next time.

A bigger issue was that the other teams didn’t know a lot about the current processes and problems and it took some time during the breakout sessions to get everyone up to speed. Some of this could have been solved by presenting the processes and problems to all teams beforehand which the organisers noted themselves in the beginning of the workshop.

But I think another reason for some of the roadblocks was that we hadn’t done any cross-team/cross-department refinement/planning in a very long time (for several reasons) and this will probably get better by itself if we repeat this kind of workshop more often.

I’m really looking forward to tomorrow and even more towards the next installments of this (or a similar) workshop, because I really see a lot of value in this cross-functional requirements analysis process.