Building a product roadmap helps you stay on track through the path to product success. Developing a product takes a lot of time, and you might need to go beyond the initial idea and come up with new ones along the way. As you develop your product, a roadmap enables you to ensure all the teams are on the same page about the process and the goals you want to achieve. It also provides direction to your efforts as well as a clear path to reach your goals.
On top of that, using CRO tools besides product roadmap enables you to maximize profits by creating products that meet customers’ demands with optimized performance. By understanding user behavior and tracking performance over time, you are able to develop successful product strategies for long-term success.
In this comprehensive guide, you’ll find everything you need to know about product roadmaps. So, read on and find out how to build an excellent product roadmap to boost your business strategy.
Pro Tip: WatchThemLive is one of the best CRO tools that enables you to create an effective roadmap that ensures your products are meeting customer needs while optimizing conversion rates. Keep reading to understand how!
What Is a Product Roadmap
A product roadmap is a visual representation that maps out the product development stages. Businesses create product roadmaps to align the product’s vision with their objectives.
This visual communication tool illustrates your product, why you are producing it, and how it will evolve. Additionally, it gives the stakeholders and teams insights that help them prioritize their workload, and focus on goals.
Overall, a roadmap is a guide that helps the organization plan and implement its strategies more effectively and conduct product research.
Why Is Creating a Product Roadmap Important
Creating a proper product roadmap can help your business in many ways. Here are some of the most significant benefits it offers:
1- Creating Organizational Alignment
As mentioned before, roadmaps help you make sure all the teams across the organization have the same understanding of the product strategy. This understanding enables the teams to make informed decisions that will benefit both the business and customers.
2- Increasing Stakeholders’ Confidence
With a product roadmap, you can communicate your product strategy to stakeholders more effectively. It shows them what’s going on and how you are progressing. Therefore, stakeholders will feel more confident as they know you are putting effort into solving customers’ pain points, which then leads to business growth.
3- Improving Cross-Team Collaboration
Another benefit of product roadmaps is that they help employees from different teams to collaborate more efficiently. It facilitates product prioritization as teams and stakeholders can have collaborative dialogues about what to focus on. Also, a product development roadmap enables you to identify the problems that you need to solve first.
4- Creating a Direction for the Product
As teams collaborate and continue conversations about product development, they achieve a deeper understanding of the vision. This understanding will help you set a destination that guides you toward creating a strategic direction.
Who Uses Product Roadmaps
As we previously mentioned, a product roadmap provides teams with clarity on the goals, objectives, and deliverables of a product or service by outlining its release timeline. Product roadmaps can be used by any organization looking to effectively manage its products and services while delivering exceptional customer experiences.
The use of product roadmaps has become increasingly popular among businesses in all kinds of industries, from healthcare to finance to manufacturing. Product owners, project managers, and other stakeholders rely on these roadmaps to understand what features should be included in the upcoming releases as well as how those feature releases will fit into the overall strategy of their business.
When Should You Use a Product Roadmap
Now, let’s see when is the right time for you to use it. A product roadmap should be used whenever your company is planning to develop a new product or service. It could potentially provide invaluable assistance in organizing and managing the successful launch of a new product, significant upgrades to an existing item, or even updates on current internal applications used by your organization.
What Should a Product Roadmap Include
Now let’s see what you should include in your product roadmap:
1- Product Vision
The product vision gives you the big picture of the what and why of your product. It’s necessary to define a vision as it helps you design a successful product strategy.
After defining your vision, you need to develop a strategy that determines your actions to fulfill the vision. The strategy helps you build a business case for your product. As a result, you can show the shareholders how the product will benefit the business and persuade them to invest.
Needless to say, a product roadmap should include objectives. You need to set goals to have a clear picture of what you want to achieve with your product. These goals help you measure progress and understand where your product is going within a specific timeframe.
The roadmap should also include the features your product has. Talk to your sales and customer service teams to find out what users expect from your current products. Also, try to figure out how to achieve customer delight. This way, you can determine the features you can add to your product and prioritize them.
It would be best if you created a timeline for your goals and feature launches within your product roadmap. A timeline lets you know where you are headed and how much time to spend at each stage.
6- Status Markers
Use status markers so that all teams can keep track of progress. This is a great way to keep everyone informed about the timing.
Metrics enable you to measure your progress toward achieving your business goals. Make sure everyone understands the metrics and measures progress the same way.
Different Types of Product Roadmaps
Here are the most common types of product roadmaps with examples:
1- Now-Next-Later Roadmap
Now-next-later roadmaps communicate priorities in a specific period of time. They indicate what you are doing now, what the next step is, and what you should do later. Below, you can see an example of this type of product management roadmap.
2- Goal-Oriented Roadmap
Creating a goal-oriented roadmap is one of the most efficient ways to ensure that an individual or organization is on track with achieving their goals. The goal-oriented roadmap focuses on the outcomes. It helps you set product goals and create release plans. You can use this roadmap to organize and convey information about your goals.
3- Theme-Based Roadmap
Theme-based roadmaps are like goal-oriented ones, but the difference is that they include multiple goals. The product team uses this roadmap to group and prioritize goals strategically.
4- Feature-Based Roadmap
Feature-based roadmaps help you track specific features of your product. With these roadmaps, you can communicate the development progress of key features to all team members and prioritize releases.
5- Product Portfolio Roadmap
Organizations use this type of roadmap to manage a set of products. It helps you keep track of how each product is progressing toward business objectives. You can also understand the relationships between products.
How to Create a Product Roadmap
Before creating a product roadmap, make sure to determine what business goals you want to achieve. Now, let’s dive deeper into the steps you should follow to build a product roadmap:
1- Develop Your Product Strategy and Vision
Why are you developing this product? The answer to this question is the starting point of designing your product strategy. Remember, your vision is the why of your product. With a clear vision, you will know what you need to do to gain a competitive advantage as it tells you who your target audience is, and what they need.
Research the market and your rivals. Try to understand your customers on a deeper level. Talk to your salespeople, as well as your customers. These will help you simplify the persona mapping process. The insights buyer personas provide enable you to develop a clear vision and a more effective product strategy.
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WatchThemLive User Tracking
When it comes to product roadmaps, user tracking is a key component of success. User data allows teams to identify areas of improvement, prioritize tasks, and ensure they are working on the right features. To truly build a product development process, tracking user behavior should be an integral part of any successful roadmap.
User data is invaluable for understanding how customers interact with your products and services. WatchThemLive’s user tracking feature provides insights into which features need improvement, what types of content engage them most, and how often certain aspects of the product are being used.
Moreover, you can observe the journey that a user takes when first arriving on our website, which includes their activities such as clicks and scroll-depth. And, you can track their navigational path as users transition between web pages.
You can watch visitors’ journeys and understand all information you need about them just by clicking on ‘view’.
Then, you can observe the information such as visitor ID, IP, custom parameters, user status, total sessions, first session, last active, country, city, device, etc.
WatchThemLive’s Conversion & Goal Tracking
In today’s ever-evolving digital landscape, it is critical for product managers to have an effective roadmap in place. Conversion and goal tracking are two important components of this roadmap. By understanding user behavior, conversion rates, and the success of specific goals, product managers can develop a comprehensive plan that will guide their development efforts to create successful products.
Conversion tracking refers to the process of measuring how many users visit a website or app, and then take actions, such as signing up, making a purchase, or completing a task. Goal tracking measures whether users complete specific actions you want them to take on your site or app in order to reach certain objectives. Both methods provide valuable insights into users’ behavior, which can be used to make informed decisions about what should be included in the product roadmap.
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2- Define Your Intended Audience
Your product roadmap will differ depending on the audience you want to present it to. The intended audience is the main factor that determines your roadmap’s format, type, and content.
For example, if you are going to present your roadmap to the sales team, it should focus on the features and the customer benefits. That’s because they need to know how to sell the product and increase sales.
You should explain the benefits to sales reps so they can communicate them to prospects and leads. Also, categorizing features into themes will help your sales reps explain them to prospects more effectively. To illustrate, if your audience are engineers, the roadmap should focus on features, release dates, deadlines, and milestones. Therefore, engineers will know exactly where to channel their efforts and how to handle tasks.
3- Define Features and Requirements
By now, you know the purpose of your product. So, you should define the features that support that purpose. Write user stories to better understand the user perspective on a specific feature. Additionally, you also need requirements to provide engineering teams with insights into implementing solutions.
Features focus on the end-user’s point of view, while requirements are things the product does and its qualities.
4- Choose a Product Roadmap Type
The next step is to pick a product roadmap type based on your intended audience. For example, a feature-based roadmap may be the right choice if you are going to present it to engineers.
By choosing the roadmap type, you will know what content, information, and level of detail you need to include.
5- Choose the Right Metrics
Product metrics are necessary to measure your progress. The metrics you choose depend on the goals you want to achieve, considering customer and business needs.
By making your roadmap measurable, you can make sure you are working toward your goals.
Product Roadmap Best Practices
Here are some tips to follow while building your product roadmap:
1- Keep It Flexible
You might have created the timeline, defined your product’s features, set release dates, and so on. However, everything’s changing so fast, including customers’ behavior, technology, competition, etc.
As there are many unpredictable factors, you must keep your product roadmap flexible. Understand that change is part of the product development process, and priorities might change.
2- Forget about Useless Features
Not all the ideas you come up with are going to work out. Sometimes, you add a feature to your product that seems like a great idea at first, but after testing the feature, you find out no one is paying attention to it. Maybe it would be better to stop working on it as it can be a waste of time.
Moreover, there are times when a good feature becomes useless over time. It’s not always worth it to spend time to find out how to fix it, so you might want to remove it.
3- Listen to All Teams
Product success requires the collaboration of all teams. It won’t happen if only the product team is working on it. Keep in mind that the marketing and sales teams and the others who are connected with customers can offer valuable insights into customers’ needs and preferences. These insights can help you build a more effective product roadmap.
Best 5 Product Roadmap Software
Up to now, we’ve covered all information about roadmaps for products. In the following, we’re going to discuss the top 5 product roadmap software.
This is one of the great product management platforms that offers an all-encompassing solution for product teams. It enables them to organize and communicate their strategy, prioritize tasks, create roadmaps, and obtain feedback in order to accurately solve issues.
You can use Airfocus to build your own product stack based on your needs. Begin by using the ready-made workspace templates and from there, you may expand or customize them as required.
Airfocus Key Features
- Project management,
- Customer feedback management,
- prioritization & notification,
- Task scheduling.
Airfocus Pricing & Plans
- Essential: $19, per editor per month
- Advanced: $69, per editor per month
- Pro: Custom (billed annually)
- Enterprise: Custom (billed annually)
This tool provides a wonderful opportunity for product professionals to personalize their roadmaps and build connections between strategies, features, and visual designs in order to create an exclusive product story that can be shared with each audience.
As a business owner, Craft.io helps you:
- Strategize your vision,
- Collect valuable feedback,
- Explain the most important feature,
- Prioritize the tasks that need to be completed by your developers,
- Plan capacity without any challenges,
- Share a compelling story about your product,
- Manage your portfolio in one place.
Craft.io Key Features
- Data visualization,
- Customer management,
- Gantt charts,
- Task scheduling,
- Resource management.
Craft.io Pricing & Plans
- Essential: $39
- Pro: $69
- Enterprise: Custom
ProductPlan is an excellent product roadmap software established in 2013 with features including portfolio roadmaps, customizable views, and filters as well as adjustable layouts.
Companies such as Sony, Dell, EA, Microsoft, and Adobe are known to use this software. It has many product roadmap templates, such as those for IT service management, customer-facing products, multi-product roadmaps, quarterly release plans, and many more.
It’s simple to create and share roadmaps. You can quickly switch between timeline, list, and table layouts with a single click.
ProductPlan Key Features
- Project management,
- Resource management,
- Task scheduling,
- Gantt charts.
ProductPlan Pricing & Plans
Product management software is an essential tool for any modern business looking to optimize its product development process. ProdPad is a comprehensive product roadmap solution designed to help streamline and connect the entire product development cycle.
It stands out from other product roadmap solutions by offering a lean approach that easily connects with company objectives, goals, and key results (OKRs). ProdPad’s user interface design is intuitive with customizable visualization charts that assist teams in their task prioritization.
ProdPad promises to help developers better comprehend the desires and requirements of their customers by providing integrated idea and feedback management systems.
ProdPad Key Features
- Lean product roadmap,
- Feedback management,
- Idea management,
- Project management.
ProdPad Pricing & Plans
- Roadmap essentials: $30, Per month, billed monthly
- Roadmap advanced: $55, Per month, billed monthly
- Ideas essentials: $30, Per month, billed monthly
- Ideas advanced: $45, Per month, billed monthly
- Feedback essentials: $30, Per month, billed monthly
- Feedback advanced: $45, Per month, billed monthly
Ignition is one of the most comprehensive product roadmap tools available. With its intuitive, user-friendly interface and wide array of features, it’s no wonder why more and more companies are turning to Ignition for their product road mapping needs.
It offers an all-in-one solution that allows teams to execute projects quickly and efficiently. It provides users with a centralized hub for creating project plans, managing tasks, setting deadlines, and tracking progress.
Ignition Key Features
- Drag-and-top roadmaps,
- Customer personas,
- Feature voting,
- Free-for-viewers model,
- Customer analytics,
- Competitive analysis.
Ignition Pricing & Plans
- Starter: $69, per month (billed annually)
- Professional: $149, per month (billed annually)
- Scale: $369, per month (billed annually)
Best 2 Product Roadmap Examples
Every product manager should understand the product roadmap examples below to help them create a great one:
- Sprint plan roadmap
- Kanban roadmap
In the following, we’re going to explain them more.
Example #1: Sprint Plan Roadmap
A sprint plan roadmap, as its name implies, focuses on short and repeating blocks of time during which specific tasks can be completed.
Doing sprints is an effective way to break down large and complex projects into more achievable segments.
Example #2: Kanban Roadmap
Kanban roadmaps provide product teams with the opportunity to break down tasks into smaller parts and organize them accordingly on separate boards, for example:
- Backlog (Complete any tasks that need to be addressed urgently),
- In progress (Tasks that you are currently working on),
- Planned (Tasks that should be dealt with eventually).
The Kanban roadmap is a delivery-based roadmap that helps you Group initiatives into categories, such as backlogged items, current plans, works in progress and completed projects.
These types of roadmaps are constantly subject to change, keeping team members focused on completing the relevant tasks at hand.
FAQs on Product Roadmap
We have had a comprehensive discussion on the importance of the product roadmap so far. We would be delighted to answer some of the questions you may have in the following.
Q1. What Is a Product Roadmap?
A product roadmap is necessary for any business owner that is launching a new product or service. It is a high-level visual summary that maps out the vision and direction of a product or service over time. It also serves as a plan to guide the development of an upcoming product, helping the team keep track of progress and stay aligned with their goals.
Q2. Is Gantt Chart a Product Roadmap?
It is often thought that project or product roadmaps are in a similar structure to Gantt charts, though they each fulfill different needs of their own audiences. A Gantt chart provides a comprehensive, yet easy-to-follow timeline of the tasks associated with any particular project. However, a roadmap is a helpful, forward-looking tool and an excellent way to express the objectives and vision of your project.
Creating a product roadmap is necessary as it allows all teams to understand the product strategy and the development process. It also helps you prioritize tasks and achieve your product goals.
If you want to develop a product roadmap and make changes in a product, you need to know your target audience and have access to user behavior data. WatchThemLive, a behavior analytics tool, gives you this data.
Sign up for FREE to get what you need in order to improve your existing product.