We at AtomChat even though at our nascent stage, want to take flight with utmost transparency and clarity. We as a brand, product, and team want to be as collaborative and open as humanly possible. We want to share our journey with everyone, the learnings and the developments we undertake!
We want to share our development because we aim to become a product that serves the interests of our clients first and foremost and what better way to grow and learn than to discuss our ideas with them directly!
The discussions and exchange of ideas will not only help us better understand the needs of our clients but will also help us evolve an AtomChat path.
But wanting to be transparent and directly collaborative with our audience and implementing plans for the same are two different things that we learned very quickly! So we were thankful to come across the blog Building in the Open: Introducing Buffer’s Transparent Product Roadmap. This blog not only helped us better understand the meaning behind being transparent and having honest discussions but also reminded us of the Trello Public Roadmap and how Public Roadmaps can be a huge asset for any team and product.
So Thank-You Buffer and Trello for leading the way and making sharing easy!
Seeing the roadmaps of not only these two organizations but some others too made us realize that, ‘We can and should do it too!’
We get inspired to do better every day through the calls and emails of our customers and what better way to expand and better that inspiration by sharing our own feature roadmap!
We first shared the Buffer blog and the Trello Roadmap as well as an idea of an AtomChat Public Roadmap with our team.
As we started talking and brainstorming ideas about our goals, plans, and vision for AtomChat amongst different divisions of our team, we realized that even though the team as a whole shared the same vision, we as teammates were unaware of the steps that each division was taking to achieve that vision.
We realized that even though we might talk every day and have documents to share our plans and tasks, with so many different teams, and so many documents to track, simple questions like ‘What’s our next goal’ or ‘What’s the next development’ were not getting simple straightforward answers.
Thus, we shared the AtomChat Trello Board within the team, and it seems to have ticked all the right boxes for us and our growth!
Once we gained the confidence in using the roadmap to better understand our priorities as a team, we wanted to share it with everyone! We don’t want to confine our ideas and our development just within our team, we want to evolve in the open, with all of you being a part of our journey!
The next question that this idea of complete transparency might give rise to is the ‘risk factor’. The risk of letting your competitors know ‘what you’re working on?’.
We believe that even though there might be a risk in us opening ourselves to the open market, we firmly believe that this roadmap will not only benefit us in achieving our goals but will also benefit everyone who wants to grow and learn in this industry!
We maintain our stance on this roadmap being more advantageous than risky because we have faith in ourselves and what we can achieve together! Let me explain better and in detail.
Being transparent in our plans could have an undeniably positive impact on various communities:
The AtomChat Team - The Public Roadmap will motivate us to think long-term and map out our plans methodically and purposefully to build something of value for everyone rather than just build to show off.
The AtomChat Community - With the introduction of our Trello Board to be more inclusive, we hope that our community of customers will feel more connected to us and the features we build for an enhanced communicative experience. With the help of this board, we hope our clients can claim the ownership they have over our product and can help us when we are off track and aid us in serving them better!
Our Competition - Our competitors might benefit from our public roadmap and that’s great for the industry at large. This is because there might be things and features we might be planning to work on that they could better or they might get inspired to build something similar. This is more than fine for us as we believe that our small industry will only blossom when we inspire each other to do better. After all, when one of us succeeds, it opens more doors for us to knock on and gain new ground in the market.This will also challenge us at AtomChat to deliver valuable and useful features and raise the bar and expectations for ourselves!
The whole chat community - We believe that by building and sharing in the open we might be able to highlight certain issues and challenges we face in development or our clients face in their day-to-day business. This open board we have created might help everyone find answers quicker and be more innovative!
After experiencing and observing what other roadmaps do and achieve by building in the open here’s a list of potential things we at AtomChat hope to learn in our endeavor to be more transparent :
Constructive Criticism - We hope that as we build and start sharing beta links and features on our roadmap, we not only get an appreciation for our efforts but also constructive criticism that will help us achieve maximum efficiency in building better. We hope the feedback we get will not just be sugar-coated praise but also be brutally honest as we are certain that all feedback be it negative or positive will inspire us to work harder and better to help you achieve your dreams!
Community Interaction - Feedback on the board will not only inspire us to do better but will also let the community connect and interact with each other in regards to what will work and what might not work in our chat software. It will help develop ideas and make everyone feel a part of the AtomChat family.
Priority Features - One of the main learning points and advantages of creating a public board and building openly is getting to know what the customer requires in high priority. We as developers of products might sometimes become biased or obsessed with certain features and advancements in the software we provide and might lose sight of our customers' needs. Hence, having a public roadmap where they can directly comment on our plans is not only beneficial for our team planning but is also detrimental to our success and customer retention.
Keep Getting Inspired - We are fortunate to have a community that isn’t shy of sharing ideas and letting us know what we are doing right and wrong through our customer relations team. We are hoping that with the help of this board, we can get immediate reactions, ideas and also hopes that our customers’ have from us for the future.Even though we might not be able to jump on certain ideas and visions immediately, we are sure that these ideas will come to fruition and help us prosper.We are also eternally grateful to our community, who take out the time from their busy schedules and help us with their thoughts and ideas for us to become better!
Even though I truly believe that our journey is long and we need to tick many boxes to fulfill our big vision for AtomChat, I hope we can keep sharing, collaborating, and having conversations around what will make us better.
Achieve and Maintain High Productivity - Whenever you make something public, there’s added pressure to go ahead and achieve the planned objectives.
This is because new plans and new objectives always tend to make everyone even more eager for the future.
Whenever you might see and become aware of the new-laid out objectives and plans for our product, you might build your plans around them and their launch. Hence, it becomes imperative for us to not only communicate our plans on time but be fully committed to delivering the changes in the product on time. Thus, we need to achieve and maintain high standards of productivity and be confident in our ability to execute laid-out plans before publishing them!
Even though building openly has benefits for all stakeholders, it also poses some challenges that we might need to overcome to build better! Some of them might be :
Lack of Complete Freedom - One thing that comes along with building and creating transparently is the lack of total freedom to the team.
When creating openly, it is important to be clear in what and how you are going to better the product. Be it added features or just improving the interaction of existing features. But sometimes, due to the added pressure of many eyes looking at you and commenting on every move you make, it might become difficult to maintain a balance between being creatively free and providing timely updates.
The lack of privacy might cause the team to take an easier route to fulfill customer demands rather than potentially introduce a new groundbreaking feature.
Thus, it is very important for us as a team to not lose focus and determination due to our plans being public, instead, we need to work on taking it in our stride and making it our advantage!
Sharing Plans and Ideas on Time - Building transparently means sharing all updates on the public roadmap.
But the big questions that arise in regards to the roadmap are ‘Who will look after its upkeep?’ and ‘How often can we update it?’.
Even if we find the right answers to those questions and make the updates a team effort, we still would have questions in areas of implementation and incorporation of feedback received and how often could we realistically interact with the community!
I might not have the answers to these questions at the moment but I hope that as we grow and embrace the change that this transparent roadmap will bring to our work activities, we find the answers to not just these questions but other questions as well which might be plaguing the community and make AtomChat a true leader in the community!
Clear and Concise Communication - The structure of our roadmap is such that we use short blurbs or grabs to hopefully describe future potential features or changes.
Would those be enough to help gain a full understanding of the changes and the features? I am not too confident yet!
But I am hoping that our color-coding system and some other design ideas to add context to the words might help the community better understand our stance.
Even then I know that we can do better to express ourselves and would love to hear some ideas from you, our community! Any help and feedback would be highly appreciated by us!
We are very excited and determined to share our journey, the good, the bad, and the ugly with you and can’t wait to see what you think about our development plans!
It means a lot to us at team AtomChat that our community is willing to help us become better and ultimately serve you better! We will soon share the full roadmap journey with you guys so stay tuned to this space!
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