Do's & Don’ts Of Creating Your Product Roadmap

Ayush Jangra

Ayush Jangra

Co-founder, Grabee

Anyone involved in product management eventually has to create a product roadmap. Before you do, you'd better know the dos and don'ts of creating a product roadmap.

One of the most critical tasks a product manager has to complete is creating and maintaining a product roadmap. Without a clear plan to guide you, it's no wonder why so many companies struggle when they introduce new products.

Creating and maintaining a product roadmap for your team is hard work. You struggle with prioritizing what to include and how to manage feedback from others.

Your job is stressful enough.

In this article, we'll point you toward what works and what doesn't when creating a product roadmap. Then we'll tell you how to set up easy-to-use templates that will help keep you organized and deliver something sustainable for your team to follow.

A product roadmap is a document that presents a plan for your product over the next few months. It should include the features and enhancements you want to develop, as well as the dates they're expected to be complete.

These days, it's hard to find a product manager who doesn't use a product roadmap. But just because you're using one doesn't mean you're doing it right.

SaaS products are complex, it's important for both the internal team and external users to know what you're planning to do with the product. The more transparent you are about your plans, the easier it will be for everyone involved to feel confident about their investment in the product.

If you don't have a public product roadmap, then you're missing out on a lot of benefits. Here are some reasons why SaaS products need public product roadmaps:

  1. It helps you prioritize the most important features to build next
  2. It shows your customers what to expect from the product and when they can expect it
  3. It makes your product more transparent.
  4. It shows customers what they can expect from you in the future.
  5. It helps build trust with your customers and team members.

Here are some of the do's and don'ts of creating your product roadmap:

Do: Make sure everyone knows how to read it

If there are different teams working on different parts of your product roadmap at once (e.g., marketing and engineering), it's important that everyone understands what each section means and how it fits together in order for them to work well together throughout the process. This might mean having conversations about how things should be

Don't: Release too many versions at once.

It's tempting to keep adding features and upgrades to your product roadmap as they come up but don't do it! Instead, focus on releasing one version at a time and making sure it's as polished as possible before moving on to the next one.

Do: Use customer feedback to guide your roadmap decisions

Make sure that you're collecting feedback from customers and other stakeholders throughout the development process. Use this information to inform your roadmap decisions, but also be open to changing course if you find out something important later on.

Don't: Forget about the timeline!

Users will want to know exactly how much time it takes for new features to get released in each stage of development, along with any other relevant metrics like pricing structures or app store availability dates.

Do: Use a visual tool to help you create your product roadmap with ease.

Tools like Grabee can help you create high-quality roadmaps in minutes. It will also allow you to organize your plans by stage, feature, and more. If you're looking for something a little different, consider using a dedicated project management tool like Asana or Jira to manage your product roadmap as well.

Don't: Use vague terms

Don't use vague terms like "improving the user experience" or "increasing retention". These are too broad to be effective. Instead, focus on specific goals you want to achieve. For example, if you want to increase retention, define what that means for your product and the user experience. Is it about getting users to come back the next day? Is it about increasing user engagement over time?

Do: Focus on core features and how they will be used by customers

A successful product launch requires a clear understanding of your target audience and how they will use the product in their lives. This will help you to focus on the most important features and ensure that your product is as useful as possible for its intended users.

Don't: Assume the way people will use your product, ask them!

When you're building a product, it can be easy to get caught up in your own head and assume that people will use the product in the same way that you would. But the best way to make sure your product is successful is to talk with actual users about how they might use it.

Do: Use stories as a part of your development process

Stories are a great way to convey why your product is valuable, and how it will be used by its users. They can help you think through the most important features of your product, as well as highlight ways that people might use them differently than you had anticipated.

Don't: Forget about stakeholders who aren't on your team.

Your product roadmap is not just for internal use it's also going to be shared with customers, investors, partners, and other stakeholders. And that means that even though they don't get their hands dirty building the product itself (or maybe even understand how it works), they'll still want access to information about what's coming down the pipeline and why it matters. Make sure you take time to include them in this process by sharing early versions of roadmaps with them and asking for feedback along the way.

Do: Set goals for each feature on your roadmap

For each phase of the product's life cycle, make sure those goals are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely). This will help you stay focused and ensure that you're building the right thing. For example, if one of your goals is to increase customer engagement, then this should influence which features you decide to prioritize.

Don't: Overplan your roadmap

You need to be flexible enough to change course if you need to. Don't spend too much time on your roadmap, especially if you don't have a lot of experience with the process. A good product manager will always be open to adjusting their plans based on what they learn from customers and other stakeholders.

Do: Make sure your roadmap is actionable.

A roadmap that only contains vague descriptions of features and timelines will be hard to work with and difficult to make decisions about. Instead, use the roadmap as a tool to help you set milestones and measurements for each feature.

Don't: Create an overly complicated roadmap

If your roadmap is too complex, it will become hard for stakeholders to understand. This can make it difficult for them to be involved in the process and could lead to things getting derailed. Instead, create a roadmap that focuses on outlining key decisions and milestones, rather than detailing every single feature that needs to be built.

Conclusion

In general, the product roadmap is part of most strength areas of a company's business. That is why it is one of the most important components of a company’s long-term growth strategy and implementation process.

The failure to properly design roadmaps shifts the focus to tactical tasks like project management and execution rather than strategic, long-term goals. To be successful, a great product roadmap should always be accessible by all companies involved in the product development life cycle, while still remaining flexible enough to change over time. Most importantly, all stakeholders should be able to clearly see how their efforts contribute toward achieving your company's overarching business objectives.

FAQ

What is a product roadmap in agile?

A product roadmap is a tool to help you plan your releases and prioritize features. It's most useful when used to communicate with your team, stakeholders, and customers.

In an agile environment, features are prioritized based on their business value and readiness. Features that have the highest business value are at the top of the list, while those that are less important or not ready for development are lower down. As you build each feature, you'll update the roadmap to show its status. When they're finished, they're added to a release plan so you know when they'll be available for testing!

How do you create a product roadmap?

Creating a product roadmap can seem like a daunting task. But it doesn't have to be.

Here are three tips for creating a product roadmap that will help you get organized, stay on track, and achieve your goals:

  • Use a product roadmap to stay on track, and don't use it as an excuse to avoid making decisions.
  • Make your product roadmap clear and concise, and don't make it too long or complicated.
  • Use your product roadmap to communicate with your team, and don't create one without input from other teams.
  • Consider how you can make your product roadmap more visual and interactive, but don't forget that words are still important when communicating with stakeholders!

Why do we need a product roadmap?

When you're working on a project that involves several teams and many different types of people, it's important for everyone involved to know what's going on with the project at any given time. A good product roadmap can help keep everything organized so that there aren't any surprises along the way. It also makes it easier for everyone involved in the project to see what's coming next so they can make decisions based on that information instead of having to wait until something happens before they know what they need to do next.

SaaS products are made up of many moving parts, and one of the most important parts is a product roadmap. This document shows you where your product is headed and how it will get there. If you don't have a public product roadmap, then you're missing out on a lot of benefits.

Here are some reasons why SaaS products need public product roadmaps:

  • It helps you prioritize the most important features to build next
  • It shows your customers what to expect from the product and when they can expect it
  • It makes your product more transparent.
  • It shows customers what they can expect from you in the future.
  • It helps build trust with your customers and team members.

What should a product roadmap include?

A Product Manager's job is to help define the product, plan how to build it, and make sure it gets built. The best way to do that is by creating a product roadmap that outlines the steps required to get there.

But what exactly goes into a product roadmap? Here are the main parts of a good one:

  1. Product Vision: What is your vision for this product? What problem does it solve for your users? Make sure you know what you're trying to accomplish before you start writing down details about how it's going to get done!
  2. Goals/Objectives: What are some goals you want to achieve with this product? What do you want people using it for? How will that affect their lives or businesses? This should be clear from the outset so everyone on your team knows exactly what they're working towards when they're building something together!
  3. Scope: What are all the things you need in order for this project to work out as planned (and not go over budget)? Are there certain things that need fixing first before anything else can happen? Are there certain features you need to have in place before you can move forward?
  4. Features: What are all the features you want this product to have? If you've never built something like this before, start with a small list of things that seem obvious. Then work from there!
  5. Prioritization: How do we decide what needs to be done first? Which features should take priority over others when building out your MVP?

What are some of the best public product roadmap examples?

If you're a product manager, one of the most important things you do is create a roadmap for your product. This is essentially a list of all the features and functionality that will be included in your product over time.

A good roadmap helps keep your team focused on what needs to be done and how long it'll take to get there. It's also a useful tool for communicating with stakeholders who want to know more about what's coming down the line.

If you're looking for some examples of the best public product roadmaps, here are a few we love:

  1. GitHub public roadmap
  2. Trello public roadmap
  3. Atlassian public roadmap

Read more: Best SaaS Public Product Roadmap Examples

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