Have you ever planned a vacation trip? A company party? A meeting?
You’ve probably written down where you have to be, at what time, and which deadlines you have to keep.
A roadmap helps you to find your way from your current to your goal status.
What is a product roadmap?
A product roadmap is a plan that summarizes the vision, direction, priorities and progress of a product.
Roadmaps are a tool to plan the implementation of features in a product step-by-step.
Depending on the company’s circumstances, the product roadmap can span from 3 months to 2 years. But the roadmap is not a plan carved into stone. Product Roadmaps will also allow you to request and insert new functionalities or requirements and respond to changing customer wishes.
What are the main goals of a product roadmap?
- Visualize your vision and strategy
- Plan and prioritize your tasks for the next month or years
- Get stakeholders in alignment
- Help to communicate
Who are Product Roadmaps for?
Product roadmaps come in several forms, take on different tasks and reach out to different audiences. Before you set up your product roadmap, you should identify the audience and focus on their needs.
Internal product roadmaps for the development team
Development roadmaps commonly include features, target release dates, sprints and milestones. The planning is typically more granular. It is good to create a transparent product roadmap. You should include milestones and requirements from other departments so your development team understands specific deadlines and requirements.
Since many development teams use agile strategies, the planned time frames are shorter and the roadmaps get adjusted more often.
Internal product roadmaps for executives
This product roadmap is designed for executive stakeholders and large leadership teams. They show the product process over time and are commonly organized by a month or by quarter.
Internal product roadmap for sales
The product roadmap for sales should support sales conversations and help to convert more leads. Sales representatives are interested in the benefits and new features that they can communicate and discuss with potential customers.
It is not uncommon that the sales team shares internal roadmaps with customers to increase the customers’ interest or make a deal. Because of this, release or launch dates are excluded from these product roadmaps.
External product roadmaps for customers and prospects
These product roadmaps should increase the customers’ interest and show him what’s coming next. They include new features and benefits for them. The design should be visually attractive and easy to read and understand.
It is best practice not to include release or launch dates in external product roadmaps. This avoids unsatisfied customers when there are changes to the roadmap.
Cone of uncertainty
The cone of uncertainty, described by Steve McConney, describes the amount of uncertainty through a project lifecycle. It describes what every software professional knows: the more you move forward in the project, the more you know and the fewer uncertainties exist.
This means that at the beginning of development, your product roadmap can be just rough planning. It’s hard to set concrete deadlines right from the start. When you have more information, you can set fixed dates and deadlines.