There’s a lot of emphasis on making this department more efficient, or implementing a new method in that department. But the silo approach can only go so far. What you really need is a simple approach to optimize your product delivery every step of the way, from business planning to product creation to sales enablement.

What’s the right level of process for your organization? You want to mitigate your risk on new product decisions but also be a nimble organization. Too much process can stifle innovation but too little process means that emergencies occur all too often.

In the last few years, agile methods, such Scrum, Lean, and Kanban, have taken hold in development teams around the world. These methods favor light processes, face-to-face ad hoc meetings, and brief artifacts. They encourage you to work on a small bit of work, show it to a customer, and revise the product frequently based on near real-time feedback.

Meanwhile, executive management seems to miss the rich detail from the “old school” documents: GANTT charts, market requirements documents, business plans.

The challenge is this: what collection of artifacts provides clarity to the product team and also satisfies the leadership team that the project is on schedule, meets the needs of the business, and aligns with their strategic vision?

The Applied Frameworks Planning Canvas is one way. The Canvas helps you determine what meetings and artifacts are necessary in your business. It encompasses three critical phases for managing technology products: 1) justify, 2) empower, and 3) analyze.

The Applied Frameworks Planning Canvas is a simple way of defining and documenting your overall planning process, from idea-to-product and product-to-market. Add your processes and artifacts to make it your own.

First, take the big ideas from management and show the business justification for the decision. Align the idea with a portfolio roadmap so the leadership team can see the ramifications of the idea in context. And when the roadmap is approved by the company leaders, translate this vision into artifacts for the rest of the organization. Perhaps most important of all, analyze what is and isn’t working, and then revise your strategies to align with the tactics that are most effective.

Justify your leadership’s strategic vision by vetting the idea with the market, assess the impact with a business case or financial plan, and maintain transparency with a portfolio roadmap. This is where business expertise is most needed.

Empower the rest of the organization with artifacts that translate your leadership’s vision into action. To do this, share the roadmap, explain the product’s desired capabilities, and identify the target buyers for the solution. For this phase, we usually need all four areas of product management expertise.

Analyze your most successful customers to create ideal buyer profiles. Refine your product, marketing, and sales efforts to focus on this ideal. When you design the product for this ideal customer, you’ll have fewer difficult customers, clearer marketing messages, and a shortened sales cycle. This area is less about technology and discipline expertise and more about expertise in markets.

Considering the three phases will help you identify the right level of process needed in your organization.

Review your planning methods today. What are the steps to go from idea to market? And what skills are necessary to support these steps? What artifacts and documents are necessary and which can be omitted?

Create a nimble planning process for your organization. Contact us if you need help.

Download the Applied Frameworks planning canvas (PDF format).