A product roadmap is a document that includes product vision, plan, metrics, strategy, and requirements. It’s a reference point for a company’s teams that helps departments understand how to contribute to product success and how it will evolve in the future.

In this article, we’ll find out why businesses need a product roadmap, review types and examples, and also unveil how to create a product roadmap.

Why do you need a product roadmap?

To reach out to stakeholders and explain the importance of their products, companies develop product roadmaps. They highlight the most important aspects of product development: clear objectives, responsible teams, features, releases, etc. This document helps a company's team work in one direction, stay relevant in a competitive environment, and comply with customers’ requirements. The roadmap aligns with the strategy and can have some alterations based on the changes in customer behavior, demand, or improvements in competitors’ products.

The document can be created for different purposes and serve different departments: development team, sales representatives, or executives. With its help, team members and partners can have the strategic vision of a product. Product roadmap can also align teams to achieve the company’s common goals. It encompasses updates on the status of work, product improvement, and a clear picture of a product.

Now that you know the advantages of product roadmaps, we’ll proceed to the next section and explore the main types.

Types of Product Roadmaps

Product roadmaps can be divided into two main groups.

  • Internal roadmap. It’s created for internal use. Sales and development departments use the internal roadmap to explore product details, features, brand goals, and customer benefits. It provides the company’s teams with information about the stages of product development so that they have a clear understanding of the progress and strategy. This information can be disseminated only to certain company’s departments.
  • External roadmap. A business develops an external roadmap to communicate the benefits of a product to consumers. Marketers also share the roadmap with partners, press, and analysts. An external roadmap doesn’t include some specific data about a product but highlights all the benefits it can bring to consumers.

We can also differentiate the following types.

  • Features roadmap. It tells the time to deliver the new features to the target audience. Features roadmap informs about the details of new features and dates they will be available for customers.
  • Strategy roadmap. It encompasses the initiatives a company should invest in to attain certain goals. This roadmap is necessary for presenting your efforts to executives. Besides, a strategy roadmap is essential for internal teams since it helps understand how releases influence the overall company's strategy.
  • Releases roadmap. It entails a series of actions the company’s teams should perform before the release dates. The roadmap includes tasks, assignees, and their responsibilities. With its help, sales, marketing, and support teams can sync their efforts and work towards the common good.

Now that you know the types, let’s unveil how to create a product roadmap for your business.

How to create a product roadmap?

We’ve prepared 4 main steps you need to consider when developing a great product roadmap.

  1. Decide on the product strategy. It implies creating a detailed plan in which a company defines what it wants to achieve with its product and ways to do it. It also encompasses a description of the buyer persona and the benefits it can bring to consumers. Also, you should include the differentiators of your product that help it stand out among competitors. This information is essential for stakeholders who want to know the goals a product can attain and decide whether they should invest.
  2. Gather information about your product. To do it, you need to gather information from different sources. Firstly, it’s advisable to communicate with sales and customer support to receive first-hand information about customers. These departments usually have a lot of information about clients and their feedback. It might help improve the product by adding new features or implementing great ideas for new releases. Secondly, communicate with your community. People who use your product for a long time definitely know its advantages and disadvantages. Thirdly, use your product knowledge. When you know about the product’s key features, strengths, and weaknesses, you can easily think of the components that are the most important for your customers. After that, give a thought to eliminating the drawbacks.
  3. Set a timeframe. Hard deadlines make teams give promises they can’t keep. Remember, the main aim of your product roadmap is to guide but not to limit. That’s why it’s more efficient to give team members enough space and time to execute the necessary tasks.
  4. Prepare your roadmap for stakeholders. To succeed, a product often needs financial help from stakeholders. You can encourage your partners to support your company during product development by creating and customizing a roadmap that highlights the points stakeholders might be interested in. Don’t forget to mention product features, potential to generate sales, a product’s ability to stand out among competitors, release dates, benefits, etc.

Let’s take a look at several examples.

Examples of Roadmaps

There are different product roadmaps you can use for your company. Yet they all have different purposes. Now we’ll look at different roadmaps to see the difference.

Stakeholders and executives use the release plans to see the schedule of the upcoming releases. It’s a detailed roadmap that encompasses tasks and timeframes for teams. It provides departments with a clear understanding of the upcoming releases, new features, and new versions of a product.

Roadmap

Source: Venngage Release plan

You can also consider creating roadmap infographics to depict all the processes of product development. Use ready templates to design a roadmap to your liking. Below you can see one of the great examples.

Roadmap

Source: Venngage Roadmap infographics

The kanban roadmap is useful for development teams. With its help, a company's departments can divide the tasks into several groups: backlog, planned, in progress, and completed. The main advantage of Kanban is that teams can follow their plans without reference to exact dates. You can show that you work on a specific task and motivate the rest of the team by telling them about your progress.

Below you can see an example of Kanban roadmap.

Roadmap

Source: ProductPlan Kanban roadmap

Congrats, now you know some reasons to create a product roadmap, its types, and several examples. Make use of our guide to develop a roadmap for your product.

Resources:

  1. In this article, you’ll find types of product roadmaps.
  2. This article provides readers with a guide to product roadmaps.
  3. This article unveils the importance of a product roadmap, its types, and provides readers with a guide on how to create it.
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