What is a product roadmap? Company and product
A product roadmap is a high-level visual summary that maps out how your product will evolve over time. It communicates the why and what underneath what you are building. A product roadmap is a strategic document as well as a plan for executing the product vision.
For example, it might describe the features of a product, or outline the technology stack that underlies the product. These days, most companies build detailed technical specifications alongside their product roadmaps. However, even without a formal set of requirements, a good product roadmap provides clarity about the vision and strategy of your product.
The product roadmap has three core purposes:
1. Communicate the vision and strategy
2. Guide the execution
3. Provide accountability
In practice, there are many different ways to communicate the same information. But we've found that one of the best ways to do this is with a simple visual representation. This makes it easy for everyone inside your organization to understand the big picture. And it helps ensure that the people making decisions about the future of your product are aligned around the same vision.
Why is a product roadmap important?
Product roadmaps encapsulate how a product strategy becomes a reality, taking many competing priorities and boiling them down to what's truly most important. They help focus teams on the big picture, setting expectations and inspiring people to work together toward common goals.
They're also a source of motivation, inspiration, and shared ownership of both the product and its success. All the work individual contributors perform often only makes sense within the context of a product roadmap and knowing that goal and what the organization hopes will happen can get naysayers on board.
For many employees, it's their only glance into where the product and organization is headed and why certain decisions were chosen.
Who is responsible for the product roadmap?
Product roadmaps are often seen as one of the most important tools for driving innovation within an organization, particularly during times of rapid growth. However, there isn't always a consensus about who is responsible for creating and updating them. In some cases, it could fall under marketing; in others, it might be the engineering teams. If you're looking to improve the process, here are some tips.
How do you plan what goes on a product roadmap?
A good product roadmap helps you communicate clearly about where your products are headed, what features you want to add, and how much work it might take to deliver those features. But creating one isn’t easy, especially when you’re trying to balance out the desires of multiple stakeholders—users, managers, developers, marketing folks, and others.
In this post, we’ll look at three ways to approach the process, and explain why each works better than the other. We’ll talk about the pros and cons of each method, and show some examples of both successful and failed roadmaps. You’ll learn how to choose the best way for your organization.