Moving Your Product Strategy Forward
When you begin developing your product roadmap, you start to envision how your product strategy will actually be accomplished. You tangibly define the phases or activities required to reach your aspiration goals. These set of activities will typically cover multiple product development cycles and define high-level deliverables. The form your roadmap takes is largely dependent upon the expectations of your organization. This can range from PowerPoint to more automated tools.
Purpose of the Product Roadmap
So what do you want to accomplish? Are you trying to attain internal and external alignment around a set of envisioned activities? Or are you also attempting to ensure an appropriate allocation of supporting resources so that your team can achieve its goals? Your organization likely has goals of its own. Organizations commonly use roadmap deliverables as a visible measure of how efficient your product team is. Make sure you not only understand what you and your team want to accomplish – but also what the organization’s expectations are. A disconnect between these two sets of expectations can spell trouble.
5 Things Normally Included
Every product roadmap needs to cover these items:
- A timeline aligned with customer purchasing behaviors or business cycles.
- Outline the market drivers that will drive deliverables on the roadmap. For instance, tradeshows, high sales seasons, or expected legislation that could impact the market, etc.
- Define the business objectives or product themes that divide the overarching timeline into phases that align with the overall product strategy and support the long-term product vision.
- Capture the high-level features being targeted for delivery in each phase.
- Optionally, include an aligned technology roadmap that reveals specific technology platforms that will be impacted by each major phase and feature list. This can be a big help in proactively aligning product and technology groups.
Four Characteristics of a Top-Notch Product Roadmap
- Be crafted in such a way that it can guide each of the planned phases and project priorities.
- Align with your product vision and strategy and provide a plan for delivering on what these documents promise.
- Include a plan around resource requirements that the executive team supports.
- Is not so set in stone that it cannot be updated along the way as market changes occur and progress is made.