The process of roadmapping is an overarching strategy that lets you organize your future product development efforts into strategic tracks with defined goals and focus areas for each track.
With a solid roadmapping process in place, you can achieve better results and faster time-to-market with new products.
It gives your team a clear direction, facilitates better decision-making, and reduces the risk of missing key project deliverables.
When you are working on multiple projects with shifting priorities, it is important to have a roadmap to keep track of everything. In the absence of a roadmap, you’re likely to find yourself struggling to prioritize tasks, manage timelines, and stay on track.
Building a product roadmap is a collaborative process that involves product managers, product marketing, sales, and engineering. While the actual process can vary from company to company, the following high-level steps will give you an idea of how it works:
Define your product vision – this is the first step in the roadmapping process. It will determine which initiatives make it to your product roadmap and help you create a product that is aligned with your company’s vision and customer needs. Ask yourself, what do you want your product to be perceived as in the long term?
Define product goals and objectives - these help you better understand why you need to create a roadmap in the first place. Goals describe what you want to achieve with your product and are often linked to your company’s strategic objectives. Objectives are measurable outcomes that can help you determine if your product has achieved its goals.
Create a product backlog – here, you prioritize the features and initiatives you want to include in your roadmap. Create a backlog that is linked to your product goals and objectives to ensure that everything in it is relevant.
Create a visual roadmapping plan - You can create a roadmap in a spreadsheet, PowerPoint presentation, Visio diagram, or any other type of visual format. Visual roadmaps are easier to understand and communicate, which is why they are preferred by many product managers.
Think strategically - Make sure you are mapping out your product development strategy (not tactical activities!)
Keep it simple - If your roadmap is too detailed, it might confuse your stakeholders. On the other hand, if it is too brief, it is unlikely your colleagues will find it helpful.
Keep it updated - As your product development progresses, keep your roadmap up-to-date. Make changes as necessary to reflect new priorities and market insights.
Make it interactive - An interactive roadmap is easier to understand and can help you collaborate with different teams in your organization. You can use Jira, HPE, Trello, or other project management tools to create and manage a roadmap.
Share it - Your roadmap is only effective if your stakeholders can see it and understand where the product is headed. Make sure you share your roadmap with customers, investors, partners, and team members.