Product Roadmap Guide

Product Roadmaps are one of the important work product of product managers. A Product Roadmap is the short, medium and long-term vision for the product or product line. It includes the vision for what will initially be released, together with details of future enhancements or features planned for release.


Caveat – It’s *Not* Static

A Product Roadmap is not a static document. For it to be of any use at all, much like any business plan, it needs to be treated as a living breathing part of the product management process. If Product Roadmaps are not updated regularly, they become worthless very quickly.

Good practice suggests that a cursory update at least monthly (more often in faster paced environment) and then a full review quarterly is enough to keep the document valid.


Uses of Product Roadmap

Product Roadmap Guide
Product Roadmap Guide

The Product Roadmap can be used for many different audiences so you should write is to be as flexible and as useful to you and the business as possible. For example, it can be used as:

  • A strategic document to be presented and signed off by the executive committee.
  • As a release schedule.
  • As a presentation for potential customers.
  • As a discussion document for team meetings.

Creating Product Roadmaps

Storing and tracking the Product Roadmap data can be achieved using a simple database, spreadsheet such as Excel, or specialized tools such as Accompa Product Management Software.

You can then export this data into presentation software such as Powerpoint when presenting to audience.


Are Product Roadmaps Needed?

In some organizations (especially small companies and small teams using “Agile” development) Product Roadmaps are frowned upon – but this is mainly because they have a bad reputation when not utilized correctly.

When you are working with a cross-functional team, it is very important to have everyone on the team buy into the vision. A Product Roadmap that the team builds and updates together by consensus will help to generate the type of buy in required to mobilize the team behind the product.

Furthermore – customers, prospective customers and partners often request your Product Roadmap and use it as a major part of deciding whether to purchase your company’s product or partner with your company.


Creating a Roadmap Resources

Product Roadmaps by Marty Cagan

The Inconvenient Truth About Product by Marty Cagan

The Product Roadmap that Boosts Innovation by Janna Bastow

How To Build A Product Roadmap Everyone Understands by Andrea Saez

How to build a solid product roadmap: Part 1 by Kenton Kivetsu

How to build a solid product roadmap: Part 2 by Kenton Kivetsu

You don’t need a product road map by David Heinemeier Hansson

Roadmap Alternative FAQ by Marty Cagan

Don’t publish a product roadmap by Colin Rand

Roadmaps on Vision & Benefits – Not Features by Bruce McCarthy

How To Get Organizational Alignment With Your Product Roadmap by The Clever PM

Rethinking The Product Roadmap by Melissa Perri


Tools for Creating a Roadmap

Roadmunk
Roadmapping software to visualize sprints, releases, projects and more.


Aha
Another advanced tool for creating roadmaps.


ProdPad
Roadmapping tool that also includes features for managing ideas, mockups and feedback.


Trello
Not to be forgotten as it works great for creating simple roadmaps.