PRODUCT MANAGEMENT ROADMAP

November 11, 2021
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Summary: A product roadmap is a plan of action for how a product or solution will evolve over time. When used in agile development, a roadmap provides crucial context for the team's everyday work and should be responsive to shifts in the competitive landscape.

A product roadmap is essential to communicating how short-term efforts match long-term business goals. Understanding the role of a roadmap—and how to create a great one—is key for keeping everyone on your team headed in the same direction.

What is a product roadmap?

A product roadmap is a shared source of truth that outlines the vision, direction, priorities, and progress of a product over time. It’s a plan of action that aligns the organization around short- and long-term goals for the product or project, and how they will be achieved.

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While it's common for the roadmap to show what you’re building, it’s just as important to show why. Items on the roadmap should be clearly linked to your product strategy, and your roadmap should be responsive to changes in customer feedback and the competitive landscape.

Product owners use roadmaps to collaborate with their teams and build consensus on how a product will grow and shift over time. Agile teams turn to the roadmap to keep everyone on the same page and gain context for their everyday work and future direction.

Who are roadmaps for?

Roadmaps come in several different forms and serve a variety of audiences:

Internal roadmap for development team: These roadmaps can be created in several ways, depending on how your team likes to work. Some common versions include the detail about the prioritised customer value to be delivered, target release dates and milestones. Since many development teams use agile methodologies, these roadmaps are often organized by sprints and show specific pieces of work and problem areas plotted on a timeline.

Internal roadmap for executives: These roadmaps emphasize how teams' work supports high-level company goals and metrics. They are often organized by month or by quarter to show progress over time towards these goals, and generally include less detail about detailed development stories and tasks.

Internal roadmap for sales: These roadmaps focus on new features and customer benefits in order to support sales conversations. An important note: avoid including hard dates in sales roadmaps to avoid tying internal teams to potentially unrealistic dates.

External roadmap: These roadmaps should excite customers about what’s coming next. Make sure they are visually appealing and easy to read. They should provide a high-level, generalized view of new features and prioritised concern areas to get customers interested in the future direction of the product.