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Research: Timeline Views

Hey everyone, we are prioritising timeline views within JPD 🥳️

 

To kick things off we are interested in knowing how does a timeline help you with your work?

 

You might want to think about the following questions:

  • In what scenarios you would use a timeline? How often would these occur?
  • Who would see this timeline?
  • What would this timeline look like?
  • How much granularity would your timeline have?

 

Please leave your comments down below or let's have a 30 min chat if you would prefer.

8 comments

Hi Sarah, As a product manager, timelines allow me to align with other departments and squads across the company where there may be dependencies. It is often used a discussion item in monthly roadmap review meetings. I like to see a timeline but I also like to be able to hide it when not required. Timeline intervals of fortnightly from a user-specified date, monthly and quarterly work for me. I prefer to use a timeline in a Roman Pichler Goal Oriented Roadmap as opposed to in a Gannt Chart. Thanks

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Great questions.

We use timelines to better align our account/project team with the development team. The account/project, marketing, localization, UX, and product teams would need this view. Occiaisanlly the leadership group uses this view on high-value projects.

For granularity, ideally, we'd like to show versions/releases and represent the completion of associated Jira issues within that. Epics would be ok, but versions would be better for how we release projects. It's also really helpful to show milestones and/or key dates (i.e. a conference, launch date, etc.)

A tool we use is Roadmunk (https://roadmunk.com/features/product-roadmap-tool) and they have a pretty easy-to-use way of showing this: https://roadmunk.com/features/product-roadmap-tool

While I don't love gantt charts, our teams prefer gantt chart-style roadmaps to show all of the dependencies needed to something like a launch and often work backwards from a key date. The challenge with gantt chars IMO, is that when work is added or removed, the date doesn't update, so there's a lot of manual administration work needed to manage a project that either has a variable scope or a variable capacity.

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@Brent Johnson @Chris Timmer Thanks for sharing this with me - it's super helpful 🙏

  • In what scenarios you would use a timeline? How often would these occur?
    • I actually prefer to use Now, Next, Later, Future as my customer and internal leadership facing guidance (or Q1, Q2, Q3 at most from a timeline granularity perspective) which Product Discovery already supports. But where timelines become really valuable is for the PM, product design, and engineering manager facing view.
    • Why? Mainly resource planning and balancing, tradeoff management, and dependency management. Being able to see that a certain project has too many dependencies and it needs to be pushed out. Or a certain engineering team/pod is overloaded. Or a particular item will take too long and needs scope cut. Etc. Etc.
    • Also I like seeing if the progress against a particular epic matches at least roughly the timeline (where the timeline is shaded based on progress -- if the bar goes from October 1st - November 30th, and the epic is 50% complete, and it's currently November 1st today, then visually you can see the bar is shaded right up to today and you get that quick finger in the air assessment of "okay cool, this epic is roughly on track").
  • Who would see this timeline?
    • Mainly product managers, product designers, engineering managers, and product/engineering leadership
    • Anyone else in the company *can* access it, but I prefer the broader set of stakeholders to look at the Now/Next/Later/Future view as it is easier for them to digest and navigate.
  • What would this timeline look like?
    • I haven't tried Advanced Roadmaps in JIRA yet, but this kind of view is what I would imagine. This may even be more than is needed: https://www.atlassian.com/software/jira/guides/roadmaps/advanced-roadmaps
    • I've also liked ProductPlan's timeline view in the past. Airfocus and Productboard also have timeline views that are simple to use from an inspiration standpoint.
  • How much granularity would your timeline have?
    • From a scope perspective, at the epic or idea level -- since Product Discovery has epics attached to ideas I'm not sure how that might impact how this should look or act.
    • From a timeline granularity perspective, I would want to be able to pick any start and end time, but it would be fine if the drag-and-drop resize auto-incremented at the week level. Weeks, months, and quarters seem to be the most useful zoom points.
    • FYI at my company our financial quarters are offset (Feb-Apr = Q1) in case that is a useful data point. I love when tools accommodate custom quarters to match that.

@Chris Timmer @Brent Johnson @Tim Gasper Thank you so much for all your help thus far 🙏 We have drafted a hero shot of the proposed timeline and would be interested to hear your thoughts. If possible can we meet later this week to determine if our initial thinking will meet your requirements? Here is a link to my calendly. Thanks, Sarah

Hey everyone, I think there was an issue with the calendly link I shared yesterday. You should be able to select a time slot now 

Hey @Sarah Stenhouse - Any update on timeline views?

Hey, @brent_johnson Sorry for the slow response. I have been out of the office for a couple of weeks. We are still in the research phase but hopefully will have something in the product soon!

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