Feb 23, 2024 2 min read

National Lampoon's Alaskan Software Adventure: Navigating the Wilds Without a Map

Ever take a vacation without a map? Adventure can be fun but not for developing software products. Welcome to the wilds... holiday road!
National Lampoon's Alaskan Software Adventure: Navigating the Wilds Without a Map
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Imagine embarking on an Alaskan tour, National Lampoon style, where the promise of seeing Glacier Bay, Ketchikan, Denali, Kodiak Island, and Skagway is about as reliable as a weather forecast in the Bermuda Triangle. That’s the chaotic adventure a software company sets itself up for when it decides to navigate the wilds of the tech industry without a product roadmap. It’s a journey where the only certainty is uncertainty, and the main attraction is a guessing game of where you might end up next.

Sales Guidance: The Compass That Points Everywhere

For the sales team, not having a roadmap is like being promised a tour of Glacier Bay, only to find out you’re on a wild goose chase in the backwoods of Kodiak Island. They're out there making bold claims about seeing the majestic peaks of Denali, while in reality, the development team is paddling in circles around Ketchikan. This approach turns sales pitches into adventurous tales where the line between what’s real and what’s as mythical as a sighting of Bigfoot becomes increasingly blurry.

Building Customer Confidence: The Mythical Map

Customers, on this mythical Alaskan tour, are handed a blank map and a compass that spins whimsically. They're told, "Oh, the places you'll potentially go!" with the emphasis heavily on "potentially." It’s akin to buying tickets for an exclusive tour of Glacier Bay, only to discover the fine print reads, “Subject to the whims of an over-caffeinated tour guide.” Customers crave a journey with a clear destination, not a surprise detour through the mists of an unknown future.

Guiding Software Development: The Blindfolded Husky Sled Team

Then there’s the software development team, akin to a husky sled team blindfolded and asked to find their way from Skagway to Denali. They're enthusiastic, sure, but without a roadmap, they're just as likely to end up doing donuts in a snowfield, thinking they’re making progress. A product roadmap for them is like a GPS for a lost polar bear: it doesn’t just suggest where to go next, it ensures they don’t end up ice fishing in someone’s backyard pool by mistake.

Supporting Customer Support: The Psychic Hotline

Without a product roadmap, the customer support team operates like a psychic hotline for future product features. "Will we see Glacier Bay (a.k.a. that new feature) on our tour?" a customer might ask. The support rep, channeling their inner mystic, consults the crystal ball, only to offer a hopeful, "Maybe, if the stars align and the developers find the map we lost last spring." It’s a world where certainty is a luxury and the most common answer is, "Let’s see what the tide brings in."

The Journey’s End: Or Is It?

A software company without a product roadmap embarking on an Alaskan adventure is a thrilling tale of suspense, unexpected detours, and the art of navigating by sheer luck. It’s a narrative filled with twists, turns, and the occasional sighting of a feature as elusive as the Northern Lights in summer. But let’s be honest, while an unpredictable tour might make for a great story, when it comes to delivering software, customers, and teams alike prefer a journey where the attractions are not just possible destinations, but guaranteed delights. So, let’s plot the course, set the sails, and maybe, just maybe, keep the adventure to the Alaskan wilderness, not the product development process.

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