Wizeline offers baby steps approach to software product management

CIOs face challenges in understanding how to provide the most value to end users, whether they are internal business departments, or external customers. Could a software solution help to prioritize where they should invest their development dollars?

If you find that you’re spending thousands of person-hours on a software feature that users aren’t accessing, then it might be worth reallocating that resource elsewhere.

Wizeline just launched the starter edition of its product planning software, which it says can help you to make those decisions. Designed with technology development teams in mind, Wizeline Starter helps software development teams work out which features they should add to their products first, and then plan and budget for those releases.

The software, which already comes in Pro and Enterprise packages, was previously focused on large organizations with cross team collaboration, explains CEO Bismarck Lepe. Today’s launch of the Starter edition, focuses on individual product lines.

“We bring the potential ROI for any feature or product that the company decided to prioritize, and then easily track across manufacturing or development channels how they are progressing,” Lepe said of Wizeline’s software.

He believes that software development teams can use Wizeline to determine which features they should focus on first, by finding out how much they are spending on that development, and how much users value it. They can create a threshold that determines which features should be included in the next release, and which should be pushed back to a subsequent one.

The software can also help CIOs to identify which software products or features should be laid to rest altogether, Lepe said.

“We’re about cradle to grave to resurrection,” he argued, adding that product usage data can show software development managers where the value is landing. “A lot of companies are investing double-digit percentages of their engineering resource on single percentages of engagement.”

Wizeline sits before the project management solution, taking input from several sources to help development managers reach their decisions. These include source code and issue management systems such as Github and Jira, which can provide useful data on how quickly teams are moving.

Wizeline Starter has some key limitations compared to its big brothers. The more sophisticated versions feature support for multiple product lines, and also integrate with third-party products including Salesforce, Zendesk, and Google Analytics. These products would be useful in collecting user engagement data.

The Starter edition doesn’t include those features, but it’s a good taster. “Today, we have a direct sales organization that focuses on increased sales across enterprises. We would be selling dozens or hundreds of licenses there,” says Lepe, of the more established Pro and Enteprise lines.

“Starter is our chance to get grassroots adoption. The goal for us is that once you get a fair amount of penetration, we could go in more easily and sell and enterprise-wide deal.” In short, this is a great way for software development teams to test the waters.

Some features in Wizeline Starter include the creation and sharing of product roadmaps, and ‘backlog grooming’. Combing through development backlogs and carrying out some triage can help to lighten the load for development teams.

This category of product would seem to be a key component in any IT governance toolbox, whether for a large firm that produces software as part of its operations, or for a small firm that produces software as its product.

In companies where IT budget is carefully monitored and often constrained, measuring and monitoring where resources are being allocated – and the results that they are producing – is a key part in honing efficiency. Doing it this way instead of juggling spreadsheets could provide a greater degree of visibility, while preserving your sanity.

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Danny Bradbury
Danny Bradburyhttp://www.wordherder.net
Danny Bradbury is a technology journalist with over 20 years' experience writing about security, software development, and networking.

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