Ultimate guide to product roadmaps
Before products are launched to the public, companies follow a strict parsimonious guide that determines the progress it has made based on the original inception.
In fact, almost all projects follow a path that measures the degree of success it has achieved through time. These guides are called product roadmaps.
But what are product roadmaps? How does it work? Is it easy to make one? And how does one measure the degree of success in a product roadmap?
The questions, along with other information, will be provided in the succeeding sections below.
What is a product roadmap?
A product roadmap is a visual representation of the entire lifecycle of a soon-to-be-launched product.
It outlines in greater detail the different stages that a product will go through in order to achieve full maturity.
The product roadmap will identify the various checkpoints as well as the standards of success that the product or company should achieve in order to be deemed successful.
This way, it becomes a whole lot easier to keep track of multiple projects and product launches without losing a sense of the entire direction of each one.
Product roadmap goals
Generally, a product roadmap has multiple goals, which include:
- Outlining the overall strategy and vision of the product through time.
- Identifies the various guides to execute the strategy and vision.
- It aligns all internal and external stakeholders towards a common goal.
- Point of discussion for the various options and alternatives available for the team in executing certain initiatives.
- Enjoins the customers and other external stakeholders to participate in the product development through a series of dialogues and assessments.
Ideally, a product map should reflect the brand and identity of the company. It should work around the company’s general framework to ensure that the output remains consistent with the goal and identity of the organization.
Lastly, a product roadmap inculcates synergy between and amongst different departments. Any deviations from it should be rectified accordingly to ensure optimal performance and achievement of objectives.
Importance of a product roadmap
A product roadmap realizes the company’s vision through its actual output. It helps the organization to sort and prioritize the competing objectives that it has for the product.
In essence, it helps the management to sift through various situations and circumstances with the right direction in mind.
It zeroes into what really matters for the customers by providing not just the standards but also the corresponding data as a result of intensive research.
Direction of all company initiatives
Additionally, the product roadmap is the basis of all the sales pitches, marketing initiatives, and financial plans.
This then sets the appreciation of the employees, outsourced personnel, and the various departments on the next steps for the marketing plan, its new targets, and how potential audiences respond to this.
Motivate the team to do well
A product roadmap provides the inspiration and motivation for the entire team to succeed in the project’s specific steps and phases and the corporate objectives.
Who is responsible for the product roadmap?
A product roadmap requires the collaborative effort of the product management team and management. The planning team organizes and conceptualizes it alongside the product management team.
The stakeholders ensure that the information is not leaked and there is no way that the new product roadmap will get into the hands of their competitors.
Hence, the team responsible for the roadmap are high-level officials and the management team in order to ensure that the flow of information is kept privately.
In developing the roadmap, the product management team should ensure that they have a good grasp of the intention of the product as well as the strategic objectives of the company.
How to improve the product roadmap?
Products will always have a tipping point to be considered fully matured and successful. Once it has achieved this point, then it becomes more complex. How a product roadmap develops from its initial objectives depends on the company.
- Set realistic goals,
- Know your target market,
- Simplify the whole process and map,
- Collaborate proactively with different stakeholders,
- Elicit inputs from others
Product roadmaps for startups
Startups typically have a rough start in their business journey. They tend to have a harder time predicting their product opportunities.
Hence, their roadmap does not usually stretch to long-term plans. This is opposed to established brands and companies with broader and longer visions.
Additionally, startups and small businesses are just testing the waters. They tend to experiment and deviate from their original intentions.
This is different for an established brand with the problem of legacy and continuity. Hence, their product roadmaps are more fixed and parsimonious.
With these differences in mind, it is vital to create a product roadmap that best fits the current situation and context of the company.
Both the tendencies of startups and established companies have merit. Experimentation is essential, as well as preserving legacy.
In creating a roadmap, companies should always be reminded and open a space for these two aspects to interact.