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Development Roadmap?

Rick Seemann Updated by Rick Seemann

Read Time: 2 mins

Sonar has opted to forego a traditional roadmap for software development planning. The big downside with a roadmap is that once an item is added to the roadmap, it really should not be moved or removed.

Why is this a problem? With new vendors, industry trends, and regulations always emerging, and the nature of our customers' businesses in a constant-state of evolution as they continue to grow and scale, it's natural that new feature priorities will change over time. Looking at the volume of feature suggestions we have logged today, we could easily fill a roadmap with 18 months of work. This means if a new high-priority suggestion comes along tomorrow, the soonest it could see development work is 19 months from now. Yikes! For software companies that use a roadmap, often the solution here is to shuffle around the items that are currently on it in order to accommodate the new high-priority item. This means any planning or considerations that customers made taking into account the old roadmap data is immediately invalidated, which in our eyes, can be more damaging than not providing an ETA in the first place.

What does Sonar do instead? The process that Sonar has engineered to determine which feature we build next prioritizes agility and efficiency over sticking to long-term ETAs. We take a variety of empirical factors (such as: date of initial feature suggestion, number of community votes, complexity of implementation, current availability of required development resources, various value scores, etc.) into account, and from these factors we calculate a total score out of 100. With each item scored, we are able to measure all planned features against each other, allowing us to equitably determine which is the highest value item at the time of evaluation. As each development cycle is completed, we revisit this scoring matrix to adjust the numbers that have changed, and add in the new features that have been suggested since the last scores were tabulated. This process ensures that we are getting the most out of our available development resources, and that the highest priority items are being worked on first.

How do I know what's coming down the pipeline? If you see an item in the Feedback Portal with a "Planned" status, this means Sonar has officially added it to our list of things to come. The moment work begins on this item, you will see its status change to "Building", which indicates that work is progressing to introduce the feature/funcitonality into Sonar. How soon exactly will depend on factors such as the size/complexity of the work being done, as well as the nature of the quality assurance testing the item will need to undergo. Once it has been deployed to production, you will see its status moved to "Released".

To learn more about our customer Feedback Portal, you can read our Feedback Portal / Suggest a Feature article.

How did we do?

V1 to V2 Product Improvements