How to manage initiatives and ideas that span multiple products

Managing initiatives across products

It's possible to manage initiatives that have to span multiple products in ProdPad by using the duplicate function. The best way to do this is to make use of the portfolio objectives and the portfolio roadmap. Usually, when an initiative spans products and time, it can be represented by a common objective - eg. the 'why you're doing the initiative'. 

In ProdPad, that would be a portfolio level objective, that you would set as the objective for the initiative wherever it appears on a roadmap, whether it's in the Now column for Team A's roadmap, or in the Later column for Team C's roadmap. Using the portfolio roadmap view, and objective filters, will allow you to see everything connected to that initiative in one spot.To be even more precise with tying together initiatives, ProdPad has two more capabilities:

  • Customizable tags, which can be applied to roadmap initiatives. Tag each initiative card with the same common tags, and use the roadmap filters in the portfolio roadmap view to see everything relating to that initiative in one place.
  • Deep linking between initiatives. Each initiative card has a unique URL, accessed by opening the initiative and then copying the URL from the browser bar. This can then be used to create a direct link from one initiative card to another in ProdPad, regardless of which roadmap or time horizon they fall into. The links can be added in the description field of each initiative, which has a rich text editor allowing for the insertion of links.

Alternatively if you find it common practice that initiatives need to span multiple roadmaps, there’s the potential that your products are defined incorrectly so take a step back and review. If something is being done across products and roadmaps, they may be defined based on the team working on them e.g BE, or FE rather than the value they provide. A product should be a vertical cut rather than horizontal, so that any change being done is providing value to an end user. 

Managing ideas across products

Often it is the case that the initiative remains the same across products but the ideas beneath it may require different implementations depending on your product. So if you want to track the implementation of one idea across multiple products there are three ways you can tackle it and you can use your discretion on which one is best:

  • You might want to have a single idea "Dark mode", that lives on multiple product roadmaps. Let's say you're going mobile first, and so it might be in the Now column for the Mobile product, and in the Next column for the Desktop product. The idea itself will contain details that pertain to both products, or might include links out to different but similar spaces (eg. one of the Designs pulled in is the Sketch file for Mobile designs, the other is the Sketch file for Desktop). They are side by side and easy to reference back and forth.
  • You might have an idea that's more complex and is broken down into various user stories. Some of the user stories are about how dark mode will work on mobile, so they live on the roadmap in the Now column, and some of the user stories live in the Next column for the Desktop product. Similar set up where the Designs/Links/Notes and other aspects are shared.
  • You might want to have separate ideas. This might be best if the ideas are similar but different enough implementation, or if there's a lot of product-specific stuff that goes on for that idea, or if the idea was done a long time ago for one product, and you want to start fresh for when you kick it off in the next product. In such cases, create a new idea, which you can do from either the Quick Add, or highlight copy in the original idea and click 'Copy content to another idea' to get a head start, and then use the Linked Ideas tab/feature to link the ideas as related. That way, all the associated details are unique to that new idea, but you can easily find and refer to the other one when needed (this is a similar approach to how we recommend managing multiple linked initiatives above)
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