A product roadmap is a document that outlines what you want to do with your project. It maps out what features and enhancements you plan to make, and what priority they have in relation to each other. The roadmap also includes what these changes mean for the company’s budget and resources. There is no one right way of creating a product roadmap, but we offer some tips on how we like to work it for our clients! Here, you’ll also learn what a product roadmap is and how to create one for your product!
What is a product roadmap?
A product roadmap is a strategic plan that communicates what you want to build and what your company plans on doing in the future. It should include what features are coming soon, what your team currently has developed, what you have released or updated, and what the team is working on next.
What is a product roadmap in agile?
A roadmap has grown into something much more dynamic in the age of agile development. A large proportion of the time frames in the roadmaps are far shorter, causing frequent adjustments to suit changing priorities and market possibilities. Also, the agile product roadmaps you create may look somewhat different from traditional multi-product or single-product roadmaps.
Keeping up with the latest needed changes and including them in your roadmaps is one of the most important keys to success. An outdated roadmap just creates uncertainty and incorrect preconceptions. Because of this confusion, it’s critical to use a software that allows you to make frequent updates simple and as quickly as possible.
What is the purpose of a product roadmap?
A product roadmap is what allows you to see what your future goals are for your company. It also gives you the opportunity to revisit what you have accomplished in the past and what needs work. A product roadmap should be a plan of action that focuses on business objectives, marketing strategy, and financial projections.
The purpose of a product roadmap is to add clarity and direction to what you’re doing. By making it visible, other team members will understand what you expect from them and what they can expect from you. It also helps to keep your team aligned by making sure everyone is working towards the same goals.
What are product roadmaps used for?
A product roadmap is what helps you communicate what your company will work on in the future. You can use it to help prioritize what needs to be done first and what comes after. It also helps communicate to your investors what you plan on doing with the money they are investing in your company so they can see what they are getting in return.
You can use this product roadmap in the marketing department to not only show what features will come, but what the marketing plan is for releasing those features. It helps them showcase what they are doing with their customers and what new products will come out.
A product roadmap is what you use to show what features are coming, but what they mean for the company’s budget and resources over time. Because what you will do and what is coming could affect the company’s revenue, it helps to show what areas your business will invest in and what you will be cutting.
The different types of product roadmaps
A product roadmap can be simple or complex, depending on what you need. There are many ways to create one, but here’s a few.
1. The Evolutionary product Roadmap
This plan is an excellent tool for keeping every team member up to date when you have little information about how the completed product will be. It’s useful for keeping designers, developers, and project managers on the same page.
2. The Release product Roadmap
This is the most essential tool for interacting with customers about what features you will add and when they will be available. You can create this roadmap once your team has finished all the major features planned for the release.
3. The Timeline Product Roadmap
This is a more in-depth version of the release product roadmap, with more information on certain features or types of releases. This map, like the release schedule, is extensive and thorough. It does not, however, have a timeline. People use it mostly as a reminder. They also use it to communicate with the team about what work they should complete in a certain timeline.
4. The Theme Product Roadmap
What is a theme product roadmap? This is a logical approach to outline the next features that you will introduce in order to achieve corporate objectives or meet client demands. This strategy shows where the product is heading and how you plan to get it there.
5. The Capacity product Roadmap
What is the capacity product roadmap? It is like the release product roadmap. But, people use it to share information between departments or functions. They also use it to reveal the types of product that they will produce. Also, this is a map people most often use it to talk about resources required rather than particular deliverables.
6. The Opportunity Product Roadmap
This one is for firms that provide to commercial clients. It aligns company development activities with major objectives to help you gain customers in an organized fashion. Companies frequently create this once they have completed all the important features planned for the release.
7. The Market Requirements Roadmap
This plan aids a firm in determining its product and market position. This roadmap shows how the strategy and types of items satisfy user or customer requirements.
8. The Project Roadmap
Companies use these tactics to connect teams and people working on different products or projects. Thus, it enables individuals to see how their efforts fit into the company’s broader release strategy.
Why is a product roadmap important?
It is important because it provides a visual tool and set of guidelines that help teams release products on time. It also helps companies organize what they are working on and what they are trying to accomplish.
Also, what you put on a product roadmap can give your customers insight into what features they might expect and when. It is also the best way to communicate what the product is, what’s coming next, what you are working on now and what features will be ready soon.
How can a product roadmap affect your business?
A product roadmap can help your business in several ways.
- It helps you determine what to work on next and what is going to be released soon.
- It gives you and your team a visual tool to help guide what they should build next.
- Also, it helps define what you are building and what we are working on.
- It helps customers understand what they will receive in the future.
- It makes your product more predictable.
- Moreover, it helps you communicate what your product is and what it will look like in the future.
When do you need a product roadmap?
You need a product roadmap when you want to show what is going on now, what will happen soon, and what the long-term plans are for your product.
Also, you need a product roadmap when you are unsure what to work on next, what’s coming up, or what the outcome will be.
This helps you and your team prioritize what they should build next.
If this is what you need, then you can use a roadmap to present these ideas. It shows what you are building now and what’s coming next to help guide your team.
Also, it helps communicate with stakeholders what the expectations are for what you are creating.
Who is responsible for the product roadmap?
The product manager holds the responsibility for what is on a product roadmap. He handles what goes into it, what stays out of it and what goes on it.
Therefore, the product manager handles what’s going to be built and what will not. He or she has a say in what gets built and what does not.
It is the product manager’s responsibility to ensure that what goes on a roadmap meets the company objectives for what he or she is building.
The product manager should also be in contact with what’s going on company-wide to ensure that what goes into the roadmap meets what the other teams are working on.
What should a product roadmap include?
A product roadmap should include what is currently in the pipeline, what will come out next, and what you are working on now.
It can also contain what you plan on putting in the pipeline.
It should also include what your vision is, what you want to accomplish, and what problems or pain points you are going to solve.
Your product roadmap should also include what your company is working on and what milestones or events will happen in the future.
What you put on your product roadmap should relate back to what the company objectives are and what will fit into their overall vision or mission.
Not need to say that in this plan you should include who handles each task.
How to build a product roadmap?
The first step is to determine what you are building and what your goals are. This will help guide what goes into the roadmap.
Then, what you need to do is determine what your business objectives are.
After this, it’s time to prioritize what should go into the roadmap and what should not.
You also need to consider what milestones or events will occur in the future and what your vision is for what you want to accomplish.
Once you have what is in your roadmap, it’s time to communicate what the product will look like and what your team should build. You can do this by what you include on the roadmap.
To help you build a strong product roadmap, we have created two sections to get in order. This way, if you implement these, you will have product roadmaps that not only reflect your goals but help with managing your teams.
For this, you will need to create an actual product roadmap and design it as well.
Creating a product roadmap
Creating a product roadmap may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Here’s how to do it.
1. Add a bar for each task or activity
Begin by drawing a timeline from left to right, labeling days, weeks, months, and quarters. After that, add a bar for each recurring task. Begin each bar at the expected start date of its task and extend it until the expected completion date.
Ensure that the height of each bar is roughly the same throughout tasks.
2. Group bars by initiative or team
Then, you need to establish some visual groupings among your activities. People use a task-based approach to enhance chart and roadmap readability by adding hierarchy.
A task group may be anything you want it to be, but in most cases, the grouping will reflect your company’s objectives.
You should group the tasks by team if you’re attempting to bring together the activities of several teams in one roadmap. You can also organize tasks by initiative if you focus the product roadmap on higher-level goals.
To make the team members see easily their tasks, add space between them whether you’re categorizing by color, size, or other criteria.
3. Stack bars by feature
You should ensure that tasks in the same initiative appear in the same row. This way, by indenting actions, tasks, and the overall flow of your project’s or product’s development process, you can highlight connections between activities and infer dependencies.
Do you want to know what each the development process entails? Then, we recommend you read our article Product Development Process: Create Successful Products.
4. Sort bars by start date or priority
After you’ve placed your bars, it’s up to you to arrange them as needed.
It’s a good idea to put earlier projects (or prioritized projects) towards the top, since humans read from top to bottom and left to right.
Designing a product roadmap
Designing a product roadmap is also an important step in building one.
Use bar fill level to show task progress
An option for adding depth to your chart is to treat each bar as if it were a mini progress bar. It is also possible to use the percent fill of each bar to represent the degree of completion of each activity.
Visual indicators can assist guarantee that projects stay on track. However, you should use them with caution because people are not always good at interpreting what the indicators mean.
Your team must update a progress bar regularly, which might be time consuming.
Plus, seeing how far you’ve come toward your objective might give you a false sense of accomplishment. Thus, it’s sometimes hard to assess how far you’ve come toward the ultimate goal.
Use colors to categorize tasks by priority or status
The colors in a product roadmap are best employed to represent graphically key information about each task, such as its priority level or status.
For the greatest information density, categorize activities into categories that aren’t already defined elsewhere using color.
Use arrows to show dependencies
To show connections between connected activities, you can use lines and arrows in your product roadmap similar to what you might observe in a flow chart.
Product managers most often use them to show relationships among activities. An arrow points to a future task could mean that your team must complete this task before the next one begins.
Use a dotted line to show the current date
It’s also a good idea to include a visible calendar date mark as a comparison for task start and finish dates of the timeline.
Using a faint dotted line that runs from the top to the bottom can make it simple to compare dates across all activities.
Eliminate unnecessary detail
You should also avoid creating a product roadmap is to avoid including tiny activities or superfluous information. The most successful product roadmaps are more concerned with broad concepts than with minor details.
Use bold outlines to highlight critical routes or tasks
This plays a critical role when you create a product roadmap with its tasks.
If you want to draw attention to a key route in your product roadmap, then you should use a single highlight color. This way, you can outline activities in a well performed manner.
Depending on the theme of the design, you may use any color to create visual projection. Though, red is usually a safe bet to highlight a task.
Don’t you know what color to choose for your key point? Then, you should read more on how colors affect the workflow and how they help keep everything organized.
Do you want to know what a product development roadmap looks like? Then, we recommend you read our article Product Development Roadmap: A Guide To Success.
Now you know what a product roadmap is, why you need it, and how to create one. Creating a product roadmap can be challenging, but it’s also an important step in developing what should happen next.
It’s important to note that there is no perfect roadmap. What works for one company will not work best for another. With this in mind, you should be sure to include what best suits your company’s needs.