A product roadmap is a high-level overview that maps the vision and overall product strategy of your product. The purpose behind what you’re creating is conveyed by a product roadmap. It’s both a strategic document and a roadmap to implement your approach.
It’s no secret that the productivity of the team can be strengthened by a successful product roadmap. But where do managers of goods start? It sometimes helps to see an instance of a well-crafted product roadmap.
There are innumerable ways of building a roadmap. It will rely on your product and your company to develop the best strategy for developing your roadmap and format for communicating it. To schedule updates, some teams use roadmaps, while others use roadmaps to handle whole product lines. Generally, however the visual display of a roadmap is consistent. Here is an instance of a basic product roadmap:
The following three variants of a product roadmap illustration are discussed in more detail in this post:
A product roadmap should not be strictly a document for presentation. It is not intended to be designed only after deciding the strategy of a product. In reality, the in-person product management discussions should be accompanied by a product roadmap, setting priorities and preparing strategic initiatives. It is a hands-on, living instrument where the role of assessing high-level planning by the product manager should be expressed.
Most businesses get this wrong. They treat the product roadmap, this all-important strategic document, as merely a presentation tool. As a consequence, to build and present to stakeholders a roadmap that is basically a static image, the traditional product manager is compelled to use PowerPoint or similar applications. The static, presentation-only roadmap risks
Why is this an error?
Since a product roadmap should represent the latest strategic thinking, preparation and required resources for the product at any given moment, based on the most current information available, and information and priorities will change frequently. With a static roadmap, the roadmap becomes more obsolete and less useful every day to advance the product’s growth.
A product manager requires a live, up-to-date product roadmap to be efficient, both to help all relevant constituencies (and the product manager herself) step back and appreciate where the production of the product stands, and to be able to adapt quickly and intelligently when situations demand a change in strategy.
In other words, before a planning meeting or executive stakeholder presentation, you can not only refresh your roadmap as a product manager. In essence, you can live all the time in that paper, reviewing it, updating it, re-examining its priorities and deadlines in the light of new realities in your sector and in the market. Bottom line: In order for the roadmap to not fail, you can spend a decent portion of your day on your product roadmap.
Example of Single Product Roadmap
This is a high-level, strategic document, you won’t just create it to show your executives, win their buy-in, and then shelve it as you get on with the real job of driving the production of the product.
One of your main, ongoing instruments for driving the production will be this product roadmap. You should be aware about what you do almost every day.
For instance, let’s assume a six-month development time period is protected by your single product roadmap. If you have integrated a scheduled October release into this document for an add-on to the mobile app of your product, then in February or March you will know that it is time to start thinking about what levels of expenditure and resources you will need for growth, what kinds of tests you will need to do, what documentation and collateral will need to be developed, etc. And with that foresight, you can begin preparing to get those projects started now so that they are ready for the release of the add-on in time.
In other words, both a longer-term view of the plans of your project and a more ground-level guide on what you should work on to reach those objectives and deadlines should be provided by your typical product roadmap.
Example of multiple product Roadmap
In the broader sense of the simultaneous production of your other goods, a roadmap that incorporates multiple products has the added advantage of helping you to create a long-term strategic view of your product’s journey.
Many single-product roadmaps could be maintained, one for each item you are responsible for. This will however, produce duplicate work, require you to control and review more documents and deprive you and your constituents of the opportunity to interpret each item in the light of other initiatives.
Although it focuses mainly on short-term specifics, a strategic perspective can also be provided by the agile/sprint roadmap, connecting the disparate characteristics and stories in a sprint to demonstrate how each of these individual initiatives is working towards a unifying target. This is important because your developers need to consider the overall strategic direction of the project.
In terms of release planning, an agile/sprint roadmap will prove invaluable. Since these are shorter-term, task-oriented roadmaps, they are a perfect way to set the expected release dates of a product, and then keep a close and consistent eye on it.
For example, if you set a product release a few months out you can use your agile/sprint roadmap to prioritize the critical measures before that go-to-market date that you need to complete. This can assist greatly with team focus and avoid distracting teams or people from lower-priority tasks.
Product roadmaps are not intended to be one-time, static documents to present the plan of a project and then set aside when the work starts, contrary to the practices of many companies.
A major part of the day-to-day job of a product manager should be product roadmaps. If properly developed and maintained, a roadmap will assist product teams to step back at any time and evaluate their strategic goals. At the same time, it will provide a consistent structure for preparing, monitoring and managing the detailed activities necessary to achieve certain strategic goals.
This is why product roadmaps should not be built-in presentation tools: such one-off documents must be updated on an ongoing basis, manually, or they will become increasingly obsolete over time.