OK. I’ll do this for another year. TBM 2021. 52 posts this year. I have 2020 up here, and an ebook version for sale (or you can make your own). How many roadmaps are the result of rushed, big-batch planning efforts? Lots. You've got four weeks at the end of the year (or ten days at the end of the quarter) to get it right. Quick! Quick! Imagine the amount of money invested this way. And the dollars wasted because of premature convergence. I bet it is billions of dollars.
Thank you for doing it for another year!
How does this compare with OKRs?
What you described seems to a mix of Upstream Kanban with Shape Up by Basecamp.
We worked in a similar way for some time at Easy Taxi when we designed our Upstream Kanban, where the ideas that seemed more valuable were pulled by the product team from time to time. It eliminated a laboriously roadmapping process.
The main difference is that in an Upstream Kanban you work with the concept of "minimum options", i.e., minimum WIP to prevent downstream starvation (when people sit idle because there is no work to do.) But as the pull system you shared includes a timebox for each bet's development (In Progress), the risk of the team being starved is minimized (and eliminated with a well-prioritized backlog, you know, products also evolve with maintenance work.)
What I liked about the continuous roadmapping is that it is indeed a pull system that respects the creative work process. The exercise of roadmapping and goal setting in most places I know is ridden with back-and-forth "what else could we do?". Outcome vs output.
I expect more experimentation on these subjects. It would help to shape calmer places, where deep and focused work can happen.
This is really helpful and timely for me John. I like the idea of limiting the items. I just slacked a colleague that we have too much stuff and I can't see the priorities, I'm going to give this a go today.