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A product development roadmap is a strategic and high-level plan of actions that outlines the vision, milestones, and initiatives of a product binding them with a company’s business goals.
It helps keep your product team in sync at all levels throughout the development process.
In this guide, we’ll share the 4 valid steps on how to create a product roadmap will help you launch your startup on time and budget.
Also, you’ll learn:
A product roadmap is a document that helps startup founders and product owners to define a solution’s functionality and set deadlines that should be met.
In terms of Agile roadmaps, they provide an everyday work environment context that helps all team members to be focused on primary tasks.
Is there any simple product roadmap meaning?
Sure. A product roadmap is a single source of truth that describes how short-term efforts can reach long-term business objectives.
Well, but who actually needs it?
Let’s discuss the key 4 types of this document and check roadmap samples:
This document type mostly includes the priorities of value delivered to clients, exact product release dates, and project milestones.
As many product teams use the Agile methodology, this roadmap type is largely represented by sprints.
They enable you to get accurate task areas and define bottlenecks within a specific timeframe.
Below you can see a sample product roadmap outline for an internal development team.
This roadmap type focuses on how product teamwork facilitates achieving high-level business objectives and the company’s KPIs.
Most commonly, this document is organized within a month or quarter timescale.
This allows forecasting a product’s global progress.
Also, internal product management roadmaps mostly include fewer details about the development process.
Below is a product management roadmap template by Aha!
This roadmap type is related to new opportunities and a better customer product value proposition.
One of the key ways to use this document is to present it to your target audience during a marketing campaign.
This will help you increase engagement and boost sales.
Here is an example of a sales product roadmap sample by Roadmunk.
This roadmap type is a perfect choice to put the wind of customers in future product releases.
Make sure it is visually appealing and easy to read.
It will help you present new product features efficiently and get customers engaged in the future development of a product.
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The core benefit of a product development roadmap is the strategic vision it provides to all concerned parties.
A roadmap correlates high-level product objectives with the development costs.
Also, it helps you bring internal teams together to create top-notch products.
Here are the 3 key benefits of product roadmaps for each engaged party.
C-suite leadership gets product progress and key updates from a development team in an easy-to-understand way.
Product managers and owners greatly benefit by keeping internal development teams on track and updating other departments consistently and on time.
Technical teams get an accurate system of task prioritization, transparent collaboration, and visualization of the product strategy.
Simply put, developers know how their technical implementation goals help a company achieve high-level business objectives through a product roadmap document.
Now that you’re all set with the product roadmap meaning and its key benefits…
So, it’s high time to find out how to create a product roadmap in 4 actual steps.
Before building a roadmap, carefully analyze all the components that will make your solution a success.
First, make your product a problem solver.
Multiple startup founders launch products, but they don’t think much of their value to customers.
Your launched product should make users’ life easier. It should solve their problems.
So, make either a unique or a killer feature app. They both should stand out from the competition.
Second, analyze the market.
Go through the top market competitors within your niche.
What are their value propositions? Do their marketing campaigns look efficient?
Try to analyze and understand why customers give their products a try. It could be a perfect problem-solution match, affordable pricing, and others.
Accumulate these facts and make a 5x better version.
Third, identify your target audience.
Finding your target audience is half the battle.
Analyze the potential customers that will express the most interest in your product.
Try to create an ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) and build Buyers Personas.
They help generate insights into real customers and the solutions they need.
Once you’re all set, this data will help you better realize how to make a roadmap.
Fourth, pitch and get funded.
Now, you need funding.
For sure, stakeholders will ask you such questions as , and so forth.
The better you pitch your product, the more funding you can get.
Prepare a detailed presentation showcasing the product’s “what, who, and why”.
Specifically, investors will ask: ‘what problems does your product solve?’, ‘who are the potential customers and why?’, ‘why the product will stand out from the competition?’
As we stated earlier, a product development roadmap is a single source of truth for all team members.
It means that you can succeed only if your product strategy is fully agreed upon by the whole team.
Now it’s high time to kick-off building a product roadmap.
First, identify key goals within a specific timeframe and define metrics to keep the process on track.
Represent goals in product functionality, fundraising rounds, and release dates.
Next, prioritize them by importance and directness. This means first completing strategic tasks that lead to the product’s overall success.
Choose and implement KPI metrics that fully depend on your product type and the software development process.
Excel is a relic of the past in terms of scalability and convenience it provides.
For sure, you can create roadmaps at a bench scale to quickly highlight the key milestones, initiatives, and tasks.
But it will most likely take much time and effort to build a sufficient and detailed document.
Instead, accelerate the process of building a product roadmap by using specific software that offers multiple tools of the trade you need.
Let’s briefly overview the best roadmap tools that offer lots of features out-of-the-box.
It is one of the top product roadmap software for creating roadmaps.
Amazon, Microsoft, Slack, Booking.com, Netflix, Adidas, and Autodesk actively use Roadmank for their projects.
This platform is a great choice for creating roadmaps within short timeframes.
It includes lots of ready-made templates for a timeline, plans, and marketing strategies.
What are the key features of Roadmunk?
This option is a good fit if you start creating a product roadmap document for your startup with up to 3 team members. Roadmunk charges $5 for each new added user.
This pricing plan allows to add up to 5 users and provides master roadmaps, API access tokes, and custom weighted prioritization in addition to the Starter pack features.
This offering includes up to 10 users and offers such features as two-way Jira Roadmunk integration, personalized training and support, and others.
If you have a large company and start building one or several products, the Enterprise pack is the option you need. Apart from the features listed above, you get private cloud and advanced customization as the key features.
ProductPlan is a great option for distributed product development teams.
It allows you to upload Excel sheets and sync with Jira.
HubSpot, Coca-Cola, Procore, Ralph Lauren, and Adobe daily use ProductPlan features for building and scaling their product roadmaps.
What are the key features of ProductPlan?
This option allows you to build unlimited roadmaps and invite myriad users along with basic integrations (Jira, Slack, Trello, GitHub, etc.).
Also, you can create customized roadmap views, build and review planning boards, and export to such formats as PNG, PDF, and CSV.
These packages provide individual pricing after consultation with ProductPlan.
Basically, you will receive much more integrations, a Single Sign-On (SSO), REST API access, and other features.
Once you’re all set with a product roadmap, it’s high time to share your product development insights with all the parties.
Here are the key roadmap ideas and pitching tips.
The board members want to hear and understand how your product plan roadmap will align with the high-level company vision, strategic initiatives, long-term goals, and key corporate metrics.
Simply put, translate your product development roadmap into easy-to-understand ideas on how this document will help achieve high-level business objectives.
Pay attention to the following types of metrics:
Always keep in mind that board members mostly don’t have any technical background.
The better you translate the product development roadmap into simple words, the higher their acceptance will be.
A team of technical specialists will require exact answers to “what”, “why”, and “when” in terms of product requirements, functionality, and releases.
So, share your product development roadmap insights in the most specific way.
This will help your software engineers, QA specialists, and other members clearly formulate “how” to implement technologies to achieve strategic goals and business objectives.
If you have marketing specialists aboard, inform them what benefits product features and releases can bring to customers.
These insights will help them define a clear vision, strategy, and goals to build effective marketing campaigns.
In addition to the insights you share with marketers, you need to answer the questions of sales managers so that they formulate a precise understanding of why customers should care about new product releases and features.
Salespeople often build client-facing product plans to share their progress with both customers and prospects.
For instance, you can review these customer roadmap examples by ProductPlan to have a better understanding of what should be tracked.
No matter what group of members you share the new product roadmap with, the core goal of your presentation is to let people know the growth vector and how it will reach the destination point.
Let’s briefly overview several roadmap templates that can help you bring a new product launch in 2021 to the next level.
This strategy roadmap template is a perfect choice for your company if you start developing a solution from scratch.
The initiatives are divided into two categories: engineering and marketing/sales.
This pipeline allows you to concentrate on both directions and clearly align your product technical goals with the marketing objectives.
Below is an example of a Software Product Roadmap by ProductPlan.
It provides a two-year fictitious strategy roadmap template that allows creating your own social media app.
This IT strategy roadmap template is a great option if you are planning to launch several products and need a real-time overview of the progress for each direction.
You may think it adds much complexity, but it also allows you to manage and coordinate efficiently.
A multiple product map can save much time and effort on communication issues through an online environment and fewer meetings.
Here is a Multiple Product Strategy Roadmap by ProductPlan. It offers a high-level overview of several product lines and their releases.
Objectives and Key Results (OKR) is a framework designed by Andy Grove, the former CEO of Intel Corporation, which suggests setting ambitious goals, tracking progress, improving, and scaling.
You can use this framework roadmap template to monitor how effectively do you achieve set goals and where to move on. In terms of product development, you can highlight the key strategic goals, put them into a roadmap, divide them into tasks, and track the progress.
Below you can see an OKR roadmap example by ProductPlan.
It focuses on two objectives and their local tasks.
A portfolio management roadmap helps you visualize the strategy and timeline through all product efforts.
It displays a complex of your plans within a single internal roadmap.
This way, allow executives better realize the way each product aligns with the strategic goals and business objectives.
Below you can see an Executive-Facing Product Portfolio Roadmap Template by ProductPlan.
You’ve hit the mark. We’ll help you create a solid product with your end-users and budget in mind.
We hope this guide will help you with a better understanding of what does a roadmap look like, what are the key components of a product roadmap, and how to develop product roadmaps that lead to success.
Always start with a product roadmap business plan and save much time by using templates, but always adjust them to your internal product goals and business objectives.
If you are looking for a software product development company, we will be glad to help transform your idea into a top-tier software product that your customers will love. Check our case studies or drop us a line to discuss your project.
Daniil specializes in content marketing and has a deep knowledge of promoting the company's products and services through high-quality content. On the Ascendix blog, Daniil shares his tricks and tips on custom software development, provides technology trends and insights, and helps you get valuable content to make your business even more successful and profitable.
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