Learn How To Create A Product Roadmap For Your Business Through These 5 Easy Steps

Product management is a complex area that requires navigating various aspects, from design, development, to marketing of a product. Apart from tremendous planning capabilities, it also requires a high level of self-organization.

If you want to become a product manager, innovation backed by a robust product roadmap is the only key to get your products to market faster, especially in today's rapidly-changing business environment.

What is a Product Roadmap?

A product roadmap is essentially an overview of multiple aspects of an upcoming product, including the goals, timelines, resources, features, and more. It can help product owners align product teams, key stakeholders, and customers on the product strategy and priorities.

A certified product manager prioritizes a product roadmap and considers it as a document that communicates both short- and long-term initiatives that teams will work on covering the what, how, and when of the overarching product strategy.

A well-defined product roadmap can be used to-

  • Track progress of the product toward goals
  • Prioritize tasks, timelines and initiatives
  • Have a consensus, and understanding within product teams
  • Coordinate multiple activities across teams

5 Easy Steps To Create A Product Roadmap

Creating a good product roadmap is a multi-step process that requires accomplishing a number of strategically important tasks simultaneously.

Here we're discussing five easy steps of building your product roadmap from the start -

1. Plan and have a customer-focused vision

This is perhaps the most important part of your product roadmap process. When you are only focused on functions, features, and tasks, you are completely missing the opportunity to serve your customer’s true needs.

Excellent project roadmaps are all about goals, vision, objectives, and benefits. These are the finer details to help to understand how you will achieve those and how to know when achieved. 

Not having the knowledge of what your target audience actually needs can quickly make your product roadmap obsolete upon contact with customers. This makes it essential that the product roadmap you create solves a meaningful customer problem.

Focusing on the product outcomes instead of execution also helps you create an accurate product roadmap instead of just another high-level project plan.

2. Design a product strategy

A product strategy is how you work out the fine details of your product. For example, to be successful in the product development process, stakeholders need to be aware of the following details-

  • What business goals will the product achieve?
  • The target audience who will use the product?
  • What are the specific problems that the product will solve?
  • What are the other
    major product differentiators that make your product stand from the competition?

Answering all these questions supported by the product vision offers a solid outline to build the rest of your product roadmap. Another important aspect to consider here is the alignment where you tie your product strategy to the overall roadmap in order to keep everyone on the loop.

There are several tools available that you can use to develop a valid product strategy. They essentially work by capturing the vision, business goals, the target customers, the problem to be solved/benefits offered, and the key features of the product.

3. Identify key activities

When it comes to product development, there usually are many activities to complete the project within each workstream. This is where the product managers need to prioritize the less is more approach to help everyone concerned.

Make sure not to add too many details to your roadmap and keep it simple and easy to understand. You need to capture what really matters and leave out the remaining by strictly focusing on the goals.

Also, remember to keep the features on your product roadmap objective and derive them from the goals. Here you also have to consider the priority of the features and how soon they need to be completed during the project. 

For example, if a feature is more important to the overall product's function, it is recommended to pursue those projects first. It allows you to perfect the core functions of your product that are imperative to fulfill customers' needs and goals.

4. Define a broad time frame to your initiative

The product roadmap you create should reflect the entire scope of the project for the duration it has been projected for. Depending on the size and scope of the undertaking, the range might vary from months or years,

However, no product manager would want the roadmap to go out so far that predicting the approximate delivery dates becomes difficult. 

It is, therefore, important to create a timeline by breaking your project into different phases, with each phase having a separate project roadmap and timeline. An excel sheet or other similar project management tool can be used at this stage to put together the final roadmap under a defined timeline.

5. Make your product roadmap measurable

Using a goal-oriented product roadmap makes it essential that every goal you put is measurable. This allows the managers and product teams to assess if they have met the defined goal or not. For example, if the goal is to customer acquisition, start by asking the total number of customers that should be acquired.

If you fail to define a goal or a target, it becomes difficult to tell if the goal has been met or not. What is also important here is to keep the goals and targets, realistic followed by selecting the metrics that will help you determine if a goal has been met and if the product release has delivered the desired benefits.

Safeguarding your roadmap by reviewing it every time you experience an issue is equally essential. Remember that your roadmap may not begin perfect, but you can always fine-tune it to get a product the way you envisioned it.

To Wrap

Bringing the vision for an original product to reality is one of the main struggles for many businesses. Although the product development might seem like a cumbersome process, it becomes much easier if you create a proper product roadmap.

By following the above steps, you can successfully come up with a product roadmap that allows you to systematically break down the overwhelming task of bringing a new product to market into more defined phases. 

In the end, you just need to ensure that your product roadmap should depict a completely coherent story about the likely growth of the product and keep away from distractions.

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