Product Development Process

At our very core Narrative is a product and technology company. To deliver the best possible product to our customers we need to have our eye on the long term vision while being nimble and evolving with the market. We have adopted GIST to act as our product roadmap methodology. GIST has the benefit of allowing us to set long term goals, gives everyone at the company a framework by which they can submit ideas about how we should evolve, and fits well into our “lower case a” agile development process. While we primarily adopted GIST for product and feature development we are also using it for other various business processes across the organization.


Goals are where we set our medium to long term objectives for the company. These tend to be measured across a 18-36 month horizon, are high level, and don’t often change from quarter to quarter. Each goal has an executive sponsor who is in charge of shepherding the organization around the goal. Each goal also has a well defined set of KPIs so we can measure our progress over time.


Ideas are just that: High level concepts that we think will bring us closer to our goals. While high level ideas need to be tangible (ex: Be more transparent is not an idea. Publish our product development methodology publicly is). As the old adage goes, there is no such thing as a bad idea. We encourage everyone in the organization to submit ideas as they have them. Every idea might not become an eventual project, but it fosters a collaborative environment where the best ideas can rise to the top. As with goals ideas have a sponsor as well as clear KPIs that the idea is trying to achieve / move. Ideas also have the beginning of a timeline as to when they will be worked on and goals around when they can be considered complete. The collective timelines around the ideas can be formed into what looks like a traditional high level roadmap.


Projects are where the rubber hits the road. When an idea has been prioritized it needs to be broken down into manageable chunks. An idea can represented as one or more projects with the overall scope determining how many projects are appropriate. The project phase typically involves a more detailed specification of what is being worked on and specifically how it will be realized. Projects also serve as a natural checkpoint for internal processes like privacy impact assessments, security reviews, and change management procedures. As with goals and ideas projects have a sponsor who takes ownership over the delivery of the project.


Tasks are the fine grained breakdown of everything that needs to be completed within a project. These are finite and scope and tracked within our project management software.