How to Build a Product Roadmap & Its Useful Types - Complete Guide

How to Build a Product Roadmap & Its Useful Types – Complete Guide

Do you find product road mapping tasks difficult? Do you get confused by its types? Your confusion can leave you in a difficult position.

Roadmapping task is not something you can do in a single setting. It demands time, patience, energy, and clear communication.

Roadmap and its tools are a great helping hand for product managers and perfect guides for team members.

Creating an accurate roadmap that covers all information tasks and companies’ objectives takes lots of effort and energy. But, if it is used incorrectly or unintentionally, it can backfire for you and your team.

 From this article, you can expect guidance toward how to build a roadmap and its valuable types.

What is the product roadmap?

A roadmap is a high-level visual representation that maps out the vision and direction of your product over time.

It communicates why and what over the product you are building. A roadmap is strategic guide documentation as well as a plan for executing the product strategy.

A perfect roadmap demands lots of effort and the intention to cover all objectives of the company, implementing features and requirements that align with your strategy.

Except that, as the product matures, the roadmap also evolves. They should be often updated throughout the product’s life cycle, considering the customers’ needs and market demand.

Why is a product roadmap essential?

Roadmapping helps you capture and share a plan of product with your team. Roadmapping is an essential part of strategic planning.

It highlights the factor that requires immediate intention and working. Moreover, a perfect product roadmap keeps the team-oriented ad update about the progress.

As a product manager, your work impacts all team members. A product comes to life with the effort of all departments.

So, a roadmap should include cross-functional teams and factors. For instance, engineers can improve the overall technicalities of a product.

Moreover, marketing can work for more impactful campaigns and launching and sales with determining customer expectations.

How to build a product roadmap?

Before starting a roadmap, you must understand the objective of the business and the initiatives you will invest in to reach those goals.

Once you have a product plan, then you can determine which features are best aligned. Then, visualize them on a timeline. Here are the simple steps you can follow to create a roadmap.

5 simple steps to build a product roadmap:

  1. Define the strategy
  2. Review and manage the idea
  3. Determine features
  4. Organize the release
  5. Select a view

Define the strategy

Strategy is planning to execute the vision. It tells why and what you are building. Set the vision and goal for the product and how they will support the business initiatives.

A product vision is crucial information that the team must understand carefully to give an advantageous outcome.

Review and manage the idea

The best way to consider customers’ requests is ranking. You can rank them by scoring. Scoring takes subjectivity out of idea evaluation and ranks the most impactful idea.

Determine features

Identify the features that best support your strategy. Build those out in users’ stories and requirements that give the engineering team the context to implement the best solution.

Organize the release

Now you can organize the features you find impactful into themes. Once you have aligned everything, you need to set the timing for release. This can be grouped according to a particular launch or your development pace and capacity.

Select a view

For each roadmap you create, you can change the template and how much information and detail you want to give.

To select the view, you need to consider the purpose of the roadmap, time frame, and who will see it?

Types of product roadmap

There are many different ways to create a roadmap according to the product. Each roadmap serves another purpose that is supposed to fulfil the needs of the team, customers, and executives.

From the large variety of roadmaps, here are some most valuable roadmaps that are beneficial for the company.

3 types of product roadmap:

  1. Status based roadmap
  2. Theme based roadmap
  3. Outcome based roadmap

Status Based Roadmap

The status-oriented roadmaps give information about the progress of the product and where the team stands. It is not committed to any time frame. 

It is a simple three roadmap organized into three columns. These columns are based on deliverables like now, next, and later. It focuses on prioritizing the task according to need. Well, it does not matter what task is being done at what time. Moreover, it gives space to shift the column of next and later.

Now the column tells where the team stands right now and what task it is working on. Moreover, which task needs immediate attention and discussion? The next column determines the task for the coming week. This column is less likely to change as compared to the last columns.

In the end, the later column contains the task that can be overlooked for now. Of course, they cannot get excluded but can wait for it to be accomplished. This section is most loosely defined and likely to shift.

Just because this roadmap is simple does not mean that it lacks functionality and intentionality. The best thing about this roadmap is that you can anywhere and anytime create and update it in a small fraction of time.

Theme Based Roadmap

Theme-based roadmaps are helpful for the product team. It determines its goals and plans into top-level strategic categories.

This kind of roadmap is helpful for the stakeholders and keeps the team aligned without getting too far.

It is designed to deal with significant problems. Moreover, if anytime any situation comes in, the team can discuss and solve it immediately.

It is easy to ask everyone if it fits into the theme and current time. Primarily, theme-based roadmaps are quarterly based.

A roadmap should be a top-level design of a team’s goals and plans associated with the product strategy. A map should provide clarification of why we are building this product in this way.

Many teams create their product roadmaps like a list of planned attributes. Developing a roadmap according to themes provides more strategic benefits to a product team.

Outcome Based Roadmap

Outcome-based roadmaps are almost similar to theme-based roadmaps. But, it is focused on the consequences.

Before starting a product, people ask how it will benefit us. How will it achieve business objectives? This roadmap answers all these questions.

By agreeing on the outcomes, the team and you will be driving forward. It teams with the full power to find the solution.

It is telling the solution before the problem is considered the big problem of today’s roadmaps. It keeps the stakeholders happy but creates turmoil in the team.

Stakeholders are primarily concerned about the result instead of which features the team is working on and the process.

Except that they see what the problem team is working on. This approach indeed gathers alignment across the board, while it is not something to show to customers.

However, it is not so detailed for the team, but it saves the team from working on a feature that does not make a slight difference. When you are fully aligned for the outcome, it creates quicker learning loops for the team.

They quickly understand that something is not working. The team does more profound research to solve this without hindering the results.

How product roadmap evolves as a product matures

As the development progresses, the product matures, and the roadmap evolves. It becomes more complex and expected to do more and to integrate with other products and features.

A roadmap of freshly minted product is significantly different from the mature product at many extends

Horizon

At the start, it is challenging to predict upcoming requirements and opportunities. However, the product roadmaps do not go too far in the future.

On the other hand, establish a product and determine future long-term plans. They have gained a better understanding of their customers and the demands of the market.

Frequency

When the product is new and scrappy, it always needs to be ready. But, the established product can take time out for their release.

Dependencies

Landing products need to move quickly and without a break. On the other hand, mature products have to deal with third-party integration and regression issues.

Goals

The goals of a brand new product are very different from an established product. Initially, it tries to get some traction and needs to grow. Then it will have more different strategic objectives and other targets.

How to prioritize features for a roadmap

Roadmaps are created with lots of time, considerations, and lengthy analysis. Once you are done with product planning; now it comes to prioritizing features.

Product teams need to assess each item under consideration for value, level of effort that needs to be invested, and opportunity costs.

Except that, teams need to compare short-term wins and long-term goals. A perfect roadmap includes both items.

This makes sure that incremental gains are being seen regularly. Features can also be prioritized by analyzing the requirements of the process.

Conclusion

A product roadmap is a visual representation of the way to vision. It is as important as the fundamentals.

It keeps the team-oriented and updates about the coming task. Moreover, it keeps the stakeholders satisfied that their time and investment is nothing going in vain.

In conclusion, with the diverse vision, there are many types of roadmap. However, it is created by following the same steps, but it leads to a different purpose.

Moreover, many tools have been developed to help product managers in this hectic task. Every tool comes with other qualities and features that are beneficial and boost productivity and revenue.

Having an expert product manager as well as a tool will lead your business towards success.

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