Evolution or Product Roadmaps as Maps

I’ve built my product strategy practice on the Technology Adoption Lifecycle (TALC), the thing Geoffrey Moore talked about in his series of books. I tied it together with other validating conceptualizations. I used it to build product roadmaps that were maps, rather than the lists that we call product roadmaps today. They were maps of populations and concepts, layers in the GIS sense. I did this back in 2002 or so.

In the past two weeks, someone tweeted a link to an article in @swardley’s blog, “Pioneers, Settlers and Town Planners.” I was surprised to find the TALC being restated by technology/IT management people, rather than markers. They look at the process as flowing

  1. Genesis
  2. Custom
  3. Product
  4. Commodity

Where we marketers see the process as flowing

  1. Technical Enthusiast
  2. Early Adopter
  3. Verticals
  4. IT Horizontal or Early Main Street
  5. Late Main Street
  6. Laggard
  7. Phobic
  8. Non/Post Adoption

The early adopter is a member of the vertical we decided to enter. The vertical of the verticals in Moore’s bowling ally.

More globally, these two view are looking at the same thing, evolution, an evolution of discontinuities in populations and the underlying technological platforms. I bolded every other item in the technology view, and the marketing view to tie them together.

The underlying evolution also changes the view from the automating layers and automated layers, aka the Software as Media model. The Software as Media model flows

  1. Automating Technology (Carrier)
  2. Automated Content (Carried)
  3. Automating Technology (Carrier)
  4. Automated Content (Carried)

Same bolding applies.

So we have lots of models of evolution. The mantra of constant change is false. If you understood business rules from a management perspective, rather than a DBA perspective, you’d see that letting management change their own rules would reduce programmer involvement, which in turn make most change disappear. Change in a population is slow, so automated content doesn’t change all that much. The automating technology changes much faster. Dividing automating and automated helps, so software architects should leverage these as layers; likewise, marketers. These same architects could do the same likewise with the other evolutionary models.

After reading @swardley article, I’m now reading his blog in it’s entirety. So the next post, led to “On Services,” which led to another view of evolution, the Wardly Map, a physical map. See Simon Wardley’s video on Wardly Maps. Wardly added the TALC phases to value chain mapping.

We are always talking about value, but it’s a limited discussion. Value is a vector that happens to reach through your interface. When selling to economic buyers, the point is economic, aka far away from the interface. The user helps the economic buyer reach their economic goals. In value-basing, the goal is to extract say 15% of the economic value created by the economic buyer and users enabled by our products. This makes the preaching around listening to the customer a real mess. Agile developers would hardly be talking to the economic buyer. Hell, we hardly do so either. Value chain mapping maps out processes, needs, users, and technological elements reaching across the reach of the economic goals. The Wardly map is a great tool for this purpose.

I never understood the list perspective of the product roadmap. I’ve written about geographies and geometries, the stuff of maps in the GPS sense. Bach when I was the product strategist for NHDS, Inc., I built the map reflecting the populations and technology. I did both the marketing and technology views on one map.

Have fun. Leave some comments.


2 Responses to “Evolution or Product Roadmaps as Maps”

  1. davidwlocke Says:

    This morning we got in a discussion that felt like an argument over predicting the time involved in adoption and evolution. The case was made that the data reflected that time was unpredictable. I never try to predict time. Moore said the TALC wasn’t a clock. I’ve said for a long time now that the TALC is an asynchronous clock. It’s like email. Progress is made over time in an email conversation, but that time is fuzzy. You can only see the precision in retrospect.

    That said, I was there that quarter when my next quarter’s stock options went from a quarter of a million to a sixth of that or so. And, it was clear why. We went CxO, in the middle of the quarter, without building a new projection, and waiting until after the next analyst call to make the change. You can slow down on revenues, if you project same. You will be punished otherwise. I can place that on the TALC. It clearly indicated to me that we had passed from growth to decline in terms of seats, those seats were our clock. So there is a clock.

    Adoption/evolution slows down or speeds up. Adoption is fostered by productization. If the product sucks, adoption slows down. Without good technology evangelism at the tech enthusiasts phase of the TALC adoption and evolution slow down. Without good phase transitions and associated accelerators, adoption and evolution slow down. Without good market fit, same. If the data was collected relative to some of the stuff that I see, the clock would be apparent. That clock is not time in seconds. It’s seats. Every seat is a tick.

  2. Evolution, Intra and Inter Phase | Product Strategist Says:

    […] Just another WordPress.com weblog « Evolution or Product Roadmaps as Maps […]

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