Tool #23

I often get a question from Head of Product Managers (HoPM) saying: "Can you help my team create meaningful roadmaps?" My first response is to ask the HoPM, "How are you using the Roadmaps?" The value of the Roadmap is in the usage. If there is no clear idea of how and why we are using the Roadmaps - it is hard to create them.

Another common pitfall is to believe that the Product Roadmap is the Product Strategy. It can be a visualization of it and a result of the strategic work. The starting point of the Roadmap creation is in the Product Strategy. The great Roadmap will guide our activities and help us execute the plan.

We also need to think about the scoping of the Roadmap. Are we to create roadmaps on all products or on portfolios? It shall typically follow your product strategy and commercial set up. Also, we encourage product managers not to limit the Roadmap to development issues. Look at the whole product! Bring in new partners, new content, new price structure, documentation updates, and other matters affecting the product offering. Far to often, the Roadmap is hijacked by development activities.

The Roadmap, together with the PIECHART (click and read more), creates a great way of communicating the Product Strategy. The Piechart shows the decisions on where to focus and the Roadmap the Guide for execution.

Remember that your Stakeholders will always have opinions on your Roadmap. These are patterns, as shared by Rich Mironov. Petra Färm shares what to think about when communicating the Roadmap here.

Multiple tools are being developed to support the Roadmapping process. Some are more comprehensive than others. Some are beautifully simple to use. But remember that the software tools are not the solution. It will help you governing the Roadmap. But you will have to identify how and why you want to use roadmaps in your organization.

Attached are:
  • The tool
  • Roadmap basics
  • Roadmap what it is
  • An Excel template

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