The Product roadmap.
What exactly is a product roadmap?
A product roadmap is a statement of intent. It communicates both the short and long-term initiatives that a team will carry. It also tells you the “how” and “why” behind a product organization strategy.
You might be asking, what’s the point in using this tool? You’d think to use a product backlog or a to-do list instead of it, but when your company scales a product roadmap, it communicates to people why you’re building something. It also shows that value to your customers! To summarize, a product roadmap is a visual way of presenting your company’s product strategy.
Roadmaps pretty much fall under Three basic frameworks
- The no-dates roadmap
- The hybrid roadmap
- The timeline roadmap
The no-dates product roadmap
Therefore, how do you know which of the named three is best for what you’re doing? That depends on your product lifecycle; let’s say you’re working on an early-stage product and you have shifting priorities, you will choose to work in an agile team. You don’t want to be bogged down by dates, and you want flexibility while working hard to find a product-market fit. A no-dates one is the best for early-stage products; creating one organized by themes allows you to pivot your data however you need them, especially in a swimlane view!
The hybrid product roadmap
As an item matures, you’ll want a roadmap that includes some dates but not the hard ones. A product roadmap is composed of months or quarters; the great thing about it is that it allows you to plan for the future while still maintaining some flexibility. When you start working with real customers and real money, product teams become more date conscious when faced with competition. A hybrid one is helpful because it bridges the flexibility of agility with the realities of your business metrics.
By timeboxing projects using months, you create a loose projection that’s helpful but isn’t constraining.
The timeline product roadmap
Hot take! Not every team needs this type of roadmap. When product marketing and sales need to work cross-functionally and understand the long-term vision of the item, they use this type of roadmap. As you might guess, timelines show a time-oriented view of items using dates to display roadmap data along a timeline.
Remember: roadmaps evolve along with their products, and nothing has ever set in stone. The key is to understand your company’s goals, align all of your stakeholders and your beautiful roadmap comes to life. Building and managing product roadmaps are simple. The trick is to understand your product strategy.