State of Quarterly Roadmap Planning – Summary of the 2023 Product Ops HQ Survey

2023 Product Ops Survey - Quarterly Roadmap Planning

In Q2 2023, we surveyed over 1,000 members of the Product Ops HQ community on how their organizations perform quarterly roadmap planning.

We covered topics in the following areas:

  1. Time and effort involved
  2. Process and intended outcomes
  3. Who is involved
  4. Top Challenges
  5. What happens post-planning 
  6. How do product teams close the loop / evaluate product performance

The numbers aren’t great…

More than 87% of the companies spend between 1 and 2 months each quarter planning for the upcoming quarter!

But there is hope. A small number of Product Ops have been successful in transforming quarterly planning. Read on… 

Companies in the survey

The survey results represent a broad spectrum of companies, with:

  • 41% in larger organizations (1,000 or more employees) 
  • 48% in the mid-size / scaling company range (between 101 to 999 employees)
  • 11% in the companies with less than 100 employees.  

Key takeaways

  • More than 87% of the companies spend between 1 and 2 months each quarter planning for the upcoming quarter
  • After all the time and resources invested, less than 9% of the product teams and stakeholders are confident that they can deliver the roadmap commitment. In fact, 95% of them need to change the plan materially during the quarter
  • 70% of product teams attribute the “lack of centralized source of truth” as the main cause of difficulty in planning and confidence in delivery 
  • The majority of teams believe that post-planning delivery failure is due to poor planning, pointing to 3 main obstacles:
    • Balancing competing priorities 
    • Lack of visibility into progress and bottlenecks
    • Aligning cross-functional teams
  • 21% of the companies don’t review product outcomes / performance, and 35% do it only annually or quarterly.

Despite all the challenges, there are a small number of teams that have success in planning efficiently and in their ability to handle changes without disruption. 

What did Product Leaders do differently for successful Quarterly Planning?

The teams that are successful in both quarterly roadmap planning and subsequent adjusting shared their secrets below:

  1. Have a good product operations practice and continuously improve product culture, platform and process.
  2. Use the right platform – a source of truth portfolio platform to support their full PDLC (product development life cycle) from insights, requests to roadmapping, planning, delivery, and launch.
  3. The platform allows them to collaborate easily with cross-functional teams and stakeholders to effectively address dependencies.
  4. Create a quarter-forward roadmap that is resource-aware so their teams have a chance to achieve.
  5. Play a sound portfolio management approach using allocation to guide prioritization.
  6. Perform rolling quarterly planning to adjust roadmaps as changes inevitably arise.

Respondents have called out Dragonboat has played a critical role in effective quarterly roadmap planning and subsequent adjustment.

“With Dragonboat, quarterly planning has gone from weeks to days…. it’s never been so easy to connect goals and strategies with roadmap. I call this “demystify strategic planning”.

– VP Product, Fortune 500 company

Interested in learning how you can transform your quarterly planning from being a big ‘brain drain’ on your organization into an opportunity to reflect, align, and accelerate your product outcomes? Book a call with our experts today.

Ana Andrade

Ana is the Community Growth Manager and Rower at Dragonboat with a mission to empower responsive leaders and their teams to build better products faster.
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