I have just completed a long, comprehensive and important project regarding our long-term plan for water-, gas- and district heating NIS-products. As a result of the project, we have clarified the purpose of the products, the vision and the priorities for the coming years. In addition, we have a clear indicative roadmap for the next three years. Now that this is documented in one package, it’s easier to take topics systematically and step-by-step into product development sprints. In addition, topics are easier to discuss and brainstorm with customers and partners when projects have names and tentative schedules.
In the project, I interviewed in-house views on what the current bottlenecks are and how we could help our customers better in the future. In addition, I held feedback meetings with product users to discuss how the software meets current and future needs. Alongside this, I went through various project reports, such as the Finnish water utilities association’s (FIWA) digital strategy. In this way, the future trends of the utilities field were taken into account as comprehensively as possible. During the project I sat down and summarized all of this information, and got a preliminary version of the product strategy long-term plan. At this point, I sparred with our users and partners about whether anything might have been forgotten. We also held internal meetings so that I also understood the technical aspect of the demands. Few months later we completed the project. Thanks to all customers and partners who helped us to define better future for our NIS-products! I think the result is well worth it!
The best thing about the project was definitely the fact that I was able to talk with our own experts and other users of the system with no rush. On the one hand, I was able to identify and document tangible individual wishes and, on the other hand, to identify and clarify at the top level what the needs of customers have in common and what things are the most important now and in the future. I believe that with the project, we can better predict customer needs and also improve the overall usability of the software.
The most challenging part of the project was how to prioritize a large pile of important wishes and suggestions for improvement. Resources are always limited, so this step was important to do carefully. Admittedly, this is certainly one that I will continue to struggle with.
After the project, together with the duct-product line technical product manager, we have started the definitions and workload estimates for each theme. In this way, we get even more detailed information for customers about the realistic schedule of each project. The product strategy therefore helps us to clarify priorities, but also to allocate resources and to schedule projects more realistically. That is, even though I talk about the product strategy project as a single task, now its result helps us in our normal daily life and we return to it regularly.
Next, I would like to hear your views: How does a project like this sound like? And how would you like to be involved as a customer in updating a similar plan in a year, for example, or how would you like the additions to be communicated?