The product roadmap is an action plan to align organizations around projects or products’ short and long-term objectives and how we can accomplish them. It is a common source of truth that describes the direction, product’s vision, priorities, and growth over time. While a road map usually shows what companies are building. The items on the roadmap should be associated with their product strategy, and their roadmap should respond to changes in customer feedback. Product owners utilize roadmaps to work with their teams and agree on how products evolve and improve over time.
A product roadmap is a tool that sets the overall business goals of a company and the amount of work needed to meet the demands of a strategy. The product manager must create a checklist of ideas and function requests, backlogs of work, error reports, and other planning materials separately. These materials will be communicated to the roadmap after careful review and consideration by the product manager—development of the road map. Companies should continually adjust the life cycle of their products based on changes in customer and market needs. Ideal product managers see the road map as more of a powerful compass.
Why Is a Product Roadmap Essential?
The product roadmap is a vital part of companies strategic planning process. It can be a mandatory part of the conversation about where and why the company invests. Linking their product strategy to implementation can drive consistency and keep everyone focused on what is most important to meet their vision. The company can communicate the direction of its product visually to its internal team and external partners. Clarity into what product managers are doing next helps organizations plan for the innovative experiences the company will deliver.
Role of Product Manager
Product manager work affects other groups and requires their input and involvement to provide a Complete Product Experience (CPE). That is why the best product roadmap includes teams and factors that cross-function. For instance, marketing can develop for more influential releases and events, IT can enhance the technology infrastructure, and sales can better set end-user expectations. The more comprehensive their roadmap process is, the higher their organization’s coordination and help when the company launches innovative experiences.
What Are the Things To Consider Before Establishing a Product Roadmap?
Before establishing a product roadmap, companies must be aware of their efforts’ business objectives. When they have the best product plan, they can select which features and versions match best and then visualize it all on the timeline. What they show on the roadmap depends on their target audience. For example, leadership teams want to understand the strategic importance of the products they deliver, communicated through the rolling relationship between the major versions and the associated goals and initiatives. While on the other side, end-users want to know the key features they need and the theme of the release. Moreover, they cannot possibly want to reveal more detail than that. For example, they may present the customer with an external release date different from the internal release date. In addition, they may use a broader time frame on their customer-facing product roadmap (e.g., publication by quarter), giving them the flexibility to move delivery dates as necessary. Their product roadmap also reflects the development methodology followed by their organization.
How To Create a Product Roadmap?
The following are the main steps to creating a product roadmap.
Step 1: Define the strategy.
Step 2: Manage and Review ideas.
Step 3: Define features and requirements.
Step 4: Organize into releases.
Step 5: Choose a view.
Agile teams use roadmaps to bring everyone into line and provide context for their daily work and future directions. Whatever structure the product roadmap takes, its main job is to communicate its strategy.