Creating a roadmap is one of the main and strategic objectives of a product manager. Are there established rules and canons here? For sure. However, in many ways, this is quite an intimate process and each manager chooses his/her own way, specific visualization and the appropriate tools for managing the roadmap.
One of the interesting examples of roadmap creating can be found in the practical tips on thisisproductmanagement.com. Here’re the highlights:
How to create a great product roadmap?
Here’re some essential postulates from the original article:
A roadmap is not a panacea
It’s hard to predict the future, so there will not be a 100% successful result, planned in your roadmap.
Creating a product roadmap is hard work. It requires determining what should be created and how long it will take, incorporating feedback from stakeholders.
Start with a customer-focused vision
Your roadmap will quickly become obsolete upon contact with customers if it is not based on their real needs. Framing the product vision around the customer enables the company to focus on building products that their clients need.
Incorporate input from key stakeholders
Creating a product roadmap is the responsibility of PM. However, the process includes the number of different sources (engineering insights, customer feedback, sales, marketing, partners’ vision, etc.) Considering these sources, product managers must determine priorities and make sure the roadmap is aligned with those priorities.
Product teams that work according to Waterfall approach, decide what they’re going to build months or years in advance of the launch. They chip away at building them without much consideration for whether what they’re building will meet customer needs once it’s released. In this environment, it’s much easier to set a product roadmap for years into the future and stick to it.
The agile approach allows product teams constantly iterate on their product and feature set based on customer feedback. In this environment, the product roadmap is a living document that’s updated regularly.
Make your roadmap simple and easy to understand
Communicate the most important elements of your strategy, goals, and development milestones, and leave out the rest. The details are likely to evolve as you get feedback from customers, anyways.
How to make your product roadmap better?
- Present it to key stakeholders.
- Choose the right tool to visualize it.
- Update your product roadmap regularly.