In most cases, software developers concentrate on the Agile principles to accomplish the tasks faster, give room for making changes, and meet the deadlines. This implies that development teams do not need to plan for a longer period. However, many investors prefer long-term plans. In such instances, the product roadmap becomes essential. The basis of the product roadmap is to help the investors understand the growth of the product.
If you are a developer, read on to understand everything about product development roadmap, build one for different projects, and why the roadmap is crucial for businesses. Above all, you will learn about the best tools to use when creating a roadmap.
Understanding Product Roadmap
In simplified terms, it is a streamlined step for product development. Since there are many techniques involved in product development, some essential features, technology trends, and how the product will be useful, all these elements are combined in the product roadmap.
Managers find an easy time to arrange tasks and milestones and check the progress of the more significant project. As a result, they achieve many things effectively without much effort.
Uses of a Product Roadmap
You may wonder why you need the product roadmap when you have all the details of the project.
The agile teams create a feature through user stories whereby the stories are converted into a product backlog. A product backlog is a list consisting of tasks for the entire team.
However, the user stories can’t work on a long-term strategy. Otherwise, developers couldn’t be able to arrange anything.
Again, the company reaches a point and start growing in terms of productivity. The developers then have to collaborate with other professionals like accountants, HR, and legal teams. Since these teams do not follow the agile movement, it can turn out challenging to work together.
Components of a Product Roadmap
When a company creates a roadmap, there are two forms of the audience involved, which are internal (The product team) and the external audience (the customers)
You can decide to create different roadmaps for both customers and investors. This roadmap highlights the tasks you need to accomplish and how to accomplish them. In this scenario, the roadmap should be visually appealing and straightforward.
Also, you can create an employee roadmap to keep the whole team in the same direction. This kind of roadmap has more details.
Apart from external and internal audience, below are other essential elements of a roadmap
Time horizons- According to your goals and objectives, the timeline can be monthly or even yearly. Consider giving investors a yearly timeline while you give employees a timeline on monthly basis. Do not put-on specific dates as things might change along the way.
Planning a Product roadmap Using Time Horizons
- Milestones– Milestones help you to check with your team progress to ensure you all are on the right track and the roadmap is useful and updated.
- Themes– A theme means a high-level prioritized goal in product management. It all depends on the type of product and the requirements which enable you to prioritize tasks.
- Epics– Epics include features with a common objective. In every theme, you will have some epics or features for each topic.
- Stories– They include specified steps you ought to take to attain some goals. You must be specific with what you want to do.
Check: Product development mistakes
Types of Product Roadmaps
Let’s briefly review the popular roadmaps types:
This type of roadmap concentrates on what needs to be done immediately. It is mainly for internal teams, i.e., the product team, developers, and other product development teams that participate. The Kanban roadmap statuses include validated, ready, approved, in progress, and ready for estimation.
The status notifies the stakeholders of the progress of product development.
This roadmap focuses on answering questions. For example, when are you planning to complete the task? Or How long will you concentrate on a specific job?
The purpose of a timeline-based roadmap is to offer the stakeholder a clear picture of the entire product development process. As a company, avoid fixing the particular dates since issues may arise and be forced to extend deadlines.
Roadmaps without Dates
Always concentrate on creating a product roadmap with strategies and themes and avoid deadlines. After all, you want to catch the people’s attention to other products other than setting up expectations and days when the product will be available.
When it comes to marketing teams, you can’t risk telling the team on specific dates. It can ruin your reputation is the product development process takes more time.
Importance of Product Roadmaps
- They explain priorities to both the external and internal audience.
- They show how the company prioritizes the product requirements according to the strategies used.
- Product roadmaps help stakeholders understand all the tech needs and business language.
- The roadmaps help track the feedback from users and respond to such feedback.
- Enables different teams to work together well.
Building a Product Roadmap
Now that you have a good picture of a roadmap, let us now evaluate the process of building a product roadmap
The product’s vision should come first because you create the product and introduce it to the market. You have the vision to succeed in every step. So, you must know what idea you have for the product. After knowing your dream, you can now highlight your goals.
The targeted audience
Now that you know your vision, there is another aspect; you need to share the roadmap with other parties, including the customers, stakeholders, sales & marketing representatives, and programmers.
Ensure everyone stays updated so that no team misses something essential. Focus on the following aspects when delivering the roadmap to the following audience:
- Customers. Be keen on the value the product offers to the customer. It should be easy to use and solve the problems of the customer.
- Investors– Check on the revenue aspects
- Developers. With developers, concentrate on tech trends and feature like stories, epics, among others.
- Sales & marking teams. Check on the features of the product.
Divide Themes into User Stories and Epics
We’ve talked about themes before. The next phase is to split the themes so that the app complies with HIPAA and boosts the website’s performance.
Rearrange them into more user stories and epics that can operate adequately.
Select a Roadmapping Software
Yes, you can build a product roadmap with already existing software in your machines, such as Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, or Google spreadsheet. However, you can use tools like Jira, Aha! Roadmunk, and ProductPlan to speed up the entire process.
Now, think of the key themes that you will place on the roadmap. Once you have selected the foremost themes, now you can go to specific features and layering epics. The critical element here is to prioritize the backlog stories.
You need to plan for the opening release at this stage since you are already done with prioritizing the themes. All roadmaps do not have specific dates, although the dates can vary if they are any.
Put the epics and themes on an unfixed timeline to figure out the planned process, more so if you are on an Agile development process. As mentioned earlier, do not set fixed deadlines. Things can happen in between, and you end up messing with everything.
Which Software Can You Use to Create Roadmaps?
We have mentioned above the software that assists in building roadmaps. Let us explore them further.
Aha! – Aha! Software tops the list of the best software for creating roadmaps. Among the companies using Aha! Include Dell, LinkedIn, and Siemens. The software comes with marketing, product, services, IT, business, and project templates. The prices range from $74 monthly for premium and $149 monthly for the enterprise.
ProductPlan- ProductPlan tool comes with over 20 free roadmap templates, such as IT strategy, product roadmap, and Agile roadmap templates. Among the unique features of ProductPlan include drag and drop editor, simple UI, custom reviews, and unlimited roadmaps. The prices are $49 monthly for the business suite and $1188 annually for the enterprise one.
Roadmunk– Roadmunk collects feedback from users, prioritizes it, and comes with many ready roadmaps. Among the companies using Roadmunk include Expedia, Slack, Cisco, Amazon, and Ubisoft, among many more. The prices include $19 monthly for a starter pack and $99 monthly for an expensive professional.
With an Agile roadmap, you can see and weigh the direction of the product. Once you achieve one goal, remember to keep the system updated. It all relies on the type of product; you will know how often you need to update it.
For more information feel free to contact Aalpha