Product Roadmap Evaluation

Website & Technology June 03, 2011

Tatiana Morand

By Tatiana Morand

No software is ever perfect. If you ever find a piece of software that meets 100% of your needs, either you are a Zen Buddhist - or you have overlooked something! It is important that a product has a viable roadmap for ongoing development and improvement.

Here are some questions you should answer for each software vendor (and again, do your own research, rather than rely on nice friendly sales people):

  • How many times has the product been updated in the last 12 months?
  • What specific updates have been released? Looking at them, do you see anything that is relevant and useful to you?
  • How good has the vendor been in keeping promises, in terms of releasing new versions when they said they would?
  • How transparent is the process by which the vendor determines what goes into new versions? How well does the vendor listen to feedback? Is there a dialog between the vendor and users?
  • Is there a robust community of users (and participation from the vendor) where product enhancements are being discussed? Here's a caveat: Never make a decision based on what is being promised. Wonderful product enhancements may be promised by persuasive sales people but you can NOT rely on them. Make sure that product, as it is today, will be good enough to meet your needs. Promised enhancements might come - or might not. And even if they come, they might be different from what you had envisioned or were promised.

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