SBI Podcast

Joining us for today’s show is Ella Balagula, an executive product leader who knows a thing or two about developing revenue-producing products. Today’s topic is focused on how to use the Product Road Map to paint a picture of happy customers well into the future. Ella and I leverage the How to Make Your Number in 2018 Workbook to access emerging best practices as a guide for our questions.  To access the latest workbook, click here to review the Product Strategy section.     

Let me tell you more about our guest. Ella Balagula the Senior Vice President and General Manager of Engineering & Technology Solutions for Elsevier, an information analytics company that specializes in science, technology, and health. Ella manages a product that is an engineering decision support solution that enables engineers to confidently answer technical questions drawing upon more than 130 providers through cloud based platform with powerful search and interactive analytics tool. Listen as Ella demonstrates how to use the Product Road Map to paint a picture of happy customers well into the future. 

Your ability to grow revenue is highly influenced by the quality of the product and whether you are a ‘me too’ or a unique game changer.  In today’s show, Ella guides our audience path to producing a revenue-producing product road map. Ella is uniquely qualified to speak on this topic having a strong background in both strategic planning and product development. Ella is the perfect expert to help connect the dots between the product road map and the functional teams of sales and marketing. 

If you would prefer to watch a HD video of the interview, click here.

Why this topic? Future revenue growth sits in the product road map, use cases and requirements backlogs. Today’s revenue-producing products become tomorrow’s commodities as the competition quickens its development cycle. Building blockbuster products requires moving from legacy market listening techniques to advanced feedback systems. Long lead times starting with robust requirements have been replaced with short lead times starting with use case iterations based on real-time product feedback and analysis. 

In the first segment of the show, Ella describes to process for prioritizing feature requests.  The endless request for features must be tied to customer satisfaction and the path to future revenue.  Our conversation then takes a unique turn as we discuss the drivers that compel changes to the product road map, including what social, economic and industry trends influence a product road map.  This quote from Ella summarizes the emerging best practice approach: 

“We do a deep dive to understand customer use case's workflow. But most importantly, we anchor into, where are we going to play? What are the markets? We get alignment with corporate strategy. Then we look for big meaty problems that drive progress of humanity. It's big issues like health and wellness or energy sustainability or materials revolution.” [p]

“For example, we're developing a product now focused on material selection in the chemical industry. We know that materials revolution is driving a need for people to start selecting the right material and connect research data with environmental data and the prior pricing and all of those. Can we help them? That's when it starts going into product plans or product road map. We start with market. We focus on a big meaty problem and we translate it into what it means to customers.”  

Listen as Ella describes how to take advantage of emerging opportunities created by new technology, and how to navigate the use of third-party partners and technology into your product road map.  

The timing of product releases will greatly impact revenue within a given year.  Listen as Ella describes how to collaborate with sales and marketing to define release timelines.  This includes a discussion into how to employ release schedules to drive a consistent velocity of product releases into your market. 

Decision Gates are used to move products through your product road map.  Watch was Ella describes the gating process and how to determine the right gates to keep your company on track. 

Finally, we have a deep discussion how Ella validates that the new releases on the product road map are delivering value to customers and ultimately producing revenue. 

Have expectations gone up and left you wondering if you have the right product strategy to support your revenue growth goals? Here is an interactive tool that will help you understand if you have a chance at success. Take the Revenue Growth Diagnostic test and rate your Product Strategy against SBI’s emerging best practices to find out if:

  • Your revenue goal is realistic
  • You will earn your bonus
  • You will keep your job
Direct download: AP1733-Ella_Balagula-18691.m4a
Category:Product Strategy -- posted at: 8:27am EDT