Magical Thinking and the Zero-Sum Roadmap

Recent conversations at several clients highlight an often-repeated set of magical thinking: beliefs by internal clients that development resources are infinite, and beliefs by product managers that prioritization can convince anyone otherwise.  Both are wrong, but seductive.  Here goes… The starting point for this conversation is the typical product roadmap: crammed full of prioritized work and heavily negotiated with the development team.  Almost every optional item has been postponed, and there’s still some risk of delay.  This is a product plan with no “white space,” no large chunks of unallocated engineering capacity, no slop or slush funds or hidden treasure.

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