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Coming soon: Timeline Views to help software teams visualize their roadmap

Victor Wu

Update 3/25/20: The Epic Timeline View has been released in beta in time for Q2 planning! We have added the ability to add Start Dates to Epics and the Timeline view will show Epics in a horizontal view, sorted by Start Date. Please reach out to support@clubhouse.io if you'd like early access to Epic Timeline View.

Roadmap planning and tracking are a common and important practice for many software teams. Teams map short-term efforts to long-term business goals, so your team can stay ahead of blockers, plan the best course of execution, and also communicate the rationale behind the plan to stakeholders to manage expectations.

We are working on Timeline Views to help with roadmapping and want to share our vision and plans for this new feature. Read on and let us know what you think in the comments!

Planning business initiatives

Epics currently serve as the object representing a business initiative. It has the bells and whistles for collaboration and planning and management for an individual body of work.

With the Timeline View, we'll allow multiple Epics to be planned at once. This helps potentially many product squads and even different departments to plan together potentially complex and interdependent business initiatives. We plan to surface many of the attributes of epics (Labels, Milestone, Dates) in the timeline view itself, allowing for powerful group by's, and filtering, to achieve these use cases.

For example, a marketing campaign can be coordinated with a product release. Both of these efforts can be represented by multiple Epics, and they would appear in the same Timeline View.

Draft of Epic Timeline Views

Draft of Epic Timeline Views

Source of truth

One constant in software development (and life!) is that things constantly change. Many teams think they can do planning at the beginning of the quarter, and then "move things" into Clubhouse. This is very unrealistic. There are many unforeseen risks that teams deal with regularly.

The Timeline View in Clubhouse will eliminate the pain of maintaining two sources of truth. Information is always "synced" when you change something. The source of truth lives in Clubhouse, whether it is the business goals or the technical implementation plans. So, as you change the Epic end date, the timeline bar updates automatically to save your team time.

Tracking ongoing business initiatives

While Epics are in progress, you can track them in a time-based view, in addition to using the existing Stories page and Iterations.

The plan is to support functionality similar to our Iterations feature. We'll give you the ability to add/remove scope to react to business/technical needs. You can make changes to Epics as needed, to be reactive to business needs, and see how it impacts overall high-level plans.

Communicating with stakeholders

Even with Stories, Epics, and the various existing views, it is difficult to get a "business-view" that is consumable and understandable by stakeholders outside the product teams.

A timeline view is the right level of abstraction and detail since it provides the most relevant detail (the timeline) of a piece of work. Other departments/stakeholders don't need to know the details. They need to know the approximate scope (which an Epic title provides) and the timeline of the work to manage their own dependencies.

Timeline View MVP and timing

Our goal is to ship an MVP later this quarter to support your Q2 planning activities. The MVP will allow folks to see Epics in a Timeline View. We plan on releasing more features in a phased approach, post MVP.

Other future enhancements we are thinking about include:

  • Dependencies
  • Organizing by Milestone

Be sure to let us know what other features you'd like to see.

Draft designs for Timeline View organized by Milestone

Draft designs for Timeline View organized by Milestone

Let us know how you want to use Timeline Views!

To recap, we're currently working on as a first release of Timeline Views to help with roadmapping and planning.

Our team would love your feedback on our designs and features. Please send your thoughts to support@clubhouse.io, tweet @clubhouse, or join our Slack community.

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