When I began work on the now defunct Community Leadership Team in early 2020, one of our early initiatives was to share details on the work being done for the community from both Community and Engineering teams. This was done in the form of Community Roadmap blog posts, each of which had an accompanying MSE post to give a familiar place for community members to ask questions and dialog (comments on the blog post weren't suitable, as they are only posted when approved by Stack staff members, and thus tough questions could remain hidden).
These posts began at an absolute low-point in Company/Community relations, and I think that they helped a good deal as part of a gradual healing process that began in 2020. Starting these was a big deal internally: earlier internal attempts at this from before Teresa's tenure were met with very vocal rejection, partly out of fear that [unknown catastrophe] would happen if we stated an intention to deliver something that we ended up not delivering. We addressed this in the roadmap run of 2020-2021 by not being afraid of missing deliverables, and holding ourselves accountable for following up on all items in the roadmap, being clear about what we hit, what we missed, and in the case of misses, what follow-up would happen. I think that this was a clear win for both the company and community.
Unfortunately, starting with Q1 2022, delivery of quarterly roadmaps ceased. An MSE Post inquiring about the missing roadmaps was marked with status-review but ultimately was never answered. (Note: I do not think that this post is a duplicate, as that was inquiring about a cessation and this is requesting a restart; and the added context and intervening events add a lot to this that wasn't present in the earlier post.)
Since then a lot has transpired. A Chief Product Officer has left (bye Teresa), and over seven months later, a new Chief Product Officer has started (hi Ryan!). The company spent most of those seven months focusing on AI work. On the negative side of things, the company has gone through two layoffs (the second of which included the dismissal of two beloved CMs) and a moderator strike ("action"). It is a time for potentially new beginnings, a new direction (see my thoughts on this here), and hopefully some healing.
My request: the original roadmap posts began after a moderator strike was narrowly averted in 2020, with the start of a new CPO. We are now almost four years later. It has been almost two years since the last roadmap post. A two month moderator strike ended not too long ago, and a new CPO just started. Feels to me like it is the perfect time to consider bringing back the Community Roadmap posts. Same deal as last time please:
- Details posted on MSE or the blog, but if on the blog it should definitely link to an accompanying MSE post).
- The more open you can be, the better, about both Community and Public Platform roadmaps.
- The community doesn't expect you to hit everything that you commit to. You're humans, things happen, and we understand. But we do expect you to be accountable with things missed (or that you decided not to pursue).
A joint Community/Product roadmap would be a great way to start off Q1 2024 (or if you prefer, Q4 FY24), a year that will hopefully be one of growth and healing.