What is a roadmap? A product roadmap is a visual that outlines the planned product work. It provides clarity and excitement to the organization internally and externally (ex. client version). A great roadmap is competitive, strategic, and product-centric. It meets the needs of customers and aligns with the company’s goals.
An agile roadmap is a roadmap that considered the uncertainty of software development. There can be development challenges, legal blockers, or external commitment issues. Some of these challenges can be known issues and/or risks, so you’d need to consider these factors when creating your roadmap.
- If you have more control over the development of your project, you can provide rough timelines so that customers can expect the upcoming amazing feature. Use month, month ranges, or quarter release dates. As you get closer to the release date, you can provide concrete dates.
- If your product has external or internal department dependencies like contracts and/or vendor (technology partner) development support with no commitment, then you can create a product roadmap without dates. Use buckets like “in progress,” “planned work,” and “backlog.” This way you can still talk about your exciting plans without over-committing.
Here is a typical workflow of how a roadmap is created.
- Product initiatives. Depending on the size of your organization and your product stage, you’ll have input (proposals) or pre-defined product areas to scope the roadmap for.
- The business goals, feedback/ insight (market, customer, user), tech debt, and product goals are considered when defining the big-ticket items.
- Defining scope and the product outcome. This task is now in Product. It can go through rounds of reviews and discussions with different stakeholders.
- Product collaborates with Engineering to get feedback and buy-in. If there are items that are deemed not feasible, there will be another discussion needed with leadership to re-scope or request more resources.
- Once the roadmap is approved (depending on the org, this can be Engineering or Product leadership), it can now be shared with the organization.
- Additional versions can be created to present to different stakeholders. For example, a client version contains only relevant items for the client or product type.
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