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How Echo360 reprioritized with Strategic Roadmaps

Strategic Roadmaps was instrumental in helping them decide which pieces of work to accelerate and what may get displaced.
From Team '23

Tempo Team

One of the hardest hit sectors during the Covid-19 pandemic was higher education. Schools and teachers scrambled to shift to remote learning environments. Echo360, which provides video content and learning applications for education systems, had to reprioritize.

This is where Strategic Roadmaps came in rather handy.

A storytelling gap in Jira

Echo360 use Jira as their primary work tracking tool, but Jira on its own doesn’t do a great job of communicating upwards in an organization. It tells the company what's getting built but it doesn't tell them how it's solving a customer pain.

This is why Echo360 adopted Strategic Roadmaps. As a flexible roadmapping tool, Roadmaps helps Echo360 tell the story of the pain points that the features they’re building will help solve. They use it as an internal planning tool at the executive level, and often use the swimlane views to map out different products and features with Echo360’s CEO and VPs.

Dan Rinzel, director of product management at Echo360, said: “Roadmaps is a lightweight planning tool that is customer friendly. I've used a lot of other PM tools in my career and Roadmaps does not have the overhead that a lot of those other tools do.

“The learning curve is low. Roadmaps helps you build roadmaps that you're also proud to show to your best customers.”

Roadmaps' team swimlane breakdowns are a key visualization for Echo360. Although their team is small, the organization has broken them up into a number of different specialties across their products. Swimlanes help them figure out the balance of investment across teams and ensure that their focuses are in line with the needs of schools. For example, are they adding enough value with the analytics team or is it time to move them onto something else?

Rinzel said: "It's between the strategic vision of the company and the very tactical layer where Roadmaps really shines for us. It helps us show the next hill we're going to climb on our innovation journey."

An out-of-the-blue challenge

When the pandemic hit and everybody started teaching on Zoom, Echo360 had to urgently reprioritize.

Roadmaps was instrumental in helping them decide which pieces of work to accelerate and what may get displaced. Being able to visually move their cards for the features in the pipeline was a big deal, especially when communicating with internal stakeholders. The real-time and what-you-see-is-what-you-get capabilities helped them map out hypothetical scenarios with leadership.

Roadmapping for better communication with customers

Roadmaps actually gets the most external use out of Echo360 when they do quarterly webinars with their customers. They put their roadmap up on the screen and share what they’ve recently released, what's in flight, and what's coming soon.

Doing this with customers who are champions for Echo360 lets the organization know directly if they’re focused on solving the right issues for them. In this way, Roadmaps acts as a validation tool as well.

Rinzel concluded: “One of my tenets of product management is that the cheapest time to change direction is before you've written any code. That's where having a tool like Roadmaps, which has some institutional memory of its own, is important.

“It keeps track of where we are, where we thought we were going two quarters ago, and where we think we're going now.”