Top 10 Product RoadMap Tips

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  • Collaborative Roadmap:
    1. A product roadmap provides context around day-to-day activities of the team members. Even though it is the job of the product owner to create and update the roadmap, yet it’s always good for a successful product roadmap to evolve with opinions from all the team members. This does not mean creating the roadmap post discussion with the team which can lead to multiple elongated discussions with unhealthy outcomes. The product owner should create the first version of the roadmap and share it with the team, update it with the relevant feedback received. This gives a diverse view and help in consideration of challenges at all the levels like Design, Development, UI, Testing, Release, market trajectories, values propositions etc.
  • Work on the philosophy of Build -> Share -> Use -> Evolve:
    1. It is a loop where it doesn’t matter how many laps you complete but how perfectly you evolve to capture the challenges and deal with them after every lap.
      1. Build: This phase consists of identifying the initiatives and mapping the timeliness corresponding to it.
      2. Share: This phase consists of sharing the product roadmap with the whole team. If the roadmap is created on Spreadsheets or PowerPoint they are usually emailed or shared at a common location, else if the roadmap is created using a tool the View and Comment permissions are added for all the team members.
      3. Use: The Roadmap should be mapped to the actual work of the team. High-level requirement mentioned in the Roadmap should be broken into Epics, further into User stories and further into tasks if the team is following Agile, else similar narrowing in whatever model is being followed.
      4. Evolve: Inputs from the team should be considered and the roadmap should be updated to remain at par with the market and changes in priorities.
  • Don’t use standalone tools like PowerPoint and Spreadsheets:
    1. Once the roadmap is prepared it needs to be shared with the team so that everyone understands the strategy and vision. Most Product Owners create product roadmap using tools like PowerPoint and Spreadsheets and emails/share them to the team. The problem with this is everyone has their own copy of the roadmap and keeping them updated is inconvenient, they need to replace the file each time a new file is shared by PO. Using tools like Aha! , productplan, wizeline will do the job at best.
  • Business should always be updated with what the team is doing
    1. Usually creating and updating the Product Roadmap is the Job of the Product Owner who is mostly a person with both business and technical skill sets. In certain cases, I have seen product owners are technical people who have a hierarchy over them which finally reports to the business/executives. Many times in such situation business is not aligned with the current state of the product. Keeping business in the loop is very important because they are the one who bring in the market knowledge which helps in redefining the goals and keeping up with the market. This helps in the timely release of product and meeting latest customer requirements.
  • Product Roadmap should neither be updated very frequently nor never updated
    1. The product roadmap is a strategic document to capture initiatives and timelines. It is good to update the roadmap at times of shift in the landscape but if that’s happening very often it will result in a demotivated team and an unsatisfactory product.
    2. It is also important to keep a check on the change in the competition space, market value proposition and technological changes to update the roadmap accordingly.
  • ‘NO’ to the Detailed Requirements
    1. Detailed requirements should not be a part of the product roadmap, we have a specific requirement document to capture them. This only overweights the roadmap and shift its intent from being a strategic document.
  • Focused on short-term initiatives, strategy to achieve long-term goals
    1. The roadmap should always target to achieve long-term goals with a perfect strategic plan for short-term initiatives and associated timely deadlines.
    2. It is always good to review the roadmap at timely intervals, most organization working in long-term products keep the duration of review to be quarterly.
  • KPIs should be an essential component in all the goals:
    1. Well defined KPI (Key Performance Indicator) for measuring the objective achievement is equally important as defining silhouetted goals and timelines.
    2. Having concrete KPI tied up with each goal allows measuring the success of the roadmap and help in reviewing the roadmap in progress retrospective.
  • Risk and Dependencies assessment:
    1. It is always good to list out the probable risks and dependencies while creating/reviewing the roadmap. Risks and dependencies can of the wide nature, these can be- technical feasibility, resource crunch, financial issue or legal regulation issue. The roadmap should be risk ready and flexible enough to accommodate small diversions.
  • Keep the roadmap theme focussed and not feature focussed:
    1. As Jim Semick, Founder of ProductPlan said; “By grouping initiatives/features together into themes, you can organize your roadmap in a way that describes value to customers and other stakeholders.”
    2. Read more about this by Jim at Themes: Organize Your Product Roadmap to Show Value

2 thoughts on “Top 10 Product RoadMap Tips

  1. A very crisp yet insightful thought ware for Product owners and teams who are on their spree to create product and services for better business experience. You have highlighted the fundamentals of product roadmap with clarity. “NO to detailed roadmap” is the way how agile philosophy has changed the way we do business and develop product and services.

  2. Quite Fascinating !!!!!!!
    In the end i would say “Best Quality evolve through Best Design”.
    One should concentrates more on quality !!!!!!

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