Bill is a Product Manager in a large software product firm, which has decades of leadership in their target segment. He has over 20 years of experience at this company and has excellent relationship with the major customers of the product.
John, the new CEO, had come from a new-age software company. He proposed several new innovations based on the industry trend analysis by the management consulting firm hired by the board. When he spoke to Bill, he realized that there is a 3-year backlog of work already planned and published to the customer base in the form of product roadmap. Bill was really concerned about disappointing the customer base if the current roadmap is not realized. John had the support of the board and he directed Bill to find way to prioritize the new innovations.
What would be your advice to Bill?
Bill has a difficult task on his hands – the backlog is his baby. He needs to take a hard and objective look at the existing backlog and find ways to cherry pick items in the existing backlog that align with the new strategy of the board to focus on market trends. Rest of the items should be dropped from the backlog. He would then be able to have a meaningful conversation with John to blend the consultant’s industry analysis and his own understanding of the customer base. A new prioritized backlog would then emerge that is aligned to strategic intent without sabotaging the existing customer base.