A product roadmap is certainly not just a document that would help you set budget for your project or convince your investors and stakeholders regarding project’s feasibility and profitability, it helps you and your team to define individual roles and hence fulfill the deadlines with effective results. Especially in a dynamic industry like technology, creating a product map becomes more significant.
We have gathered 10 practical tips shared by the PMs for you to create a feasible agile product roadmap.
- Begin with Determining Your Goal
A product roadmap is typically based on weeks on business analysis and market research work. However, these factors are dynamic in an agile environment and thus your research and analysis results would vary at every point of time and so will the strategies. But if you have a goal set, that is, what is it that you want to ultimately achieve from this project then it will make things clear and help in strategizing better.
- Set the Standards
You should know what you are going to compare your results with so that your team has set standards to reach up to. Of course, you have standards to compare with in the outer environment of your business including the growth and revenue of your competitors, but internally you should be setting evaluation strategies for your team in the product roadmap so that errors can be rectified at each stage.
- Invite Collaborative Inputs
Before you start charting the product roadmap, call a meeting or workshop of key people from all the departments including designing, development, sales, marketing and communication and discuss the outline of project with them along with the vision. This will inculcate the sense of ownership among your team and they would be more involved in achieving the objectives. Besides, experts can always add valuably to your vision.
- Chalk Down a Coherent Story
Create a timeline to depict the growth of your product to reach the vision and define the role of each department in that road map specifically so that they know when their job begins and when it ends. Each layover should be picked up from the previous one so that a connection can be developed among all releases and stages. Also, try to keep it as realistic as possible without overselling or speculating much.
- Remember the KISS Concept
Your product roadmap should be simple to understand so that one does not have to read much in order to understand your plan and vision. Resist including too many details in the roadmap and reserve that for the product backlog document. Keep your roadmap goal driven, focusing on how your product will grow along the various releases.
- Keep Your Users First
Your product might be really cool and useful loaded with some amazing features and you might be planning the growth keeping in mind how much you are going to add to the product with each release but nothing would work unless you have considered the target users too. While creating the roadmap, make sure that you have indeed taken into consideration the response of your consumers about the product too.
- Clearly Mention the Problem & Solution
Your product has to be problem solving. It should be clearly defined in the product roadmap that what discomfort or issue is it going to solve for the users and what tangible advantage will it offer. In case it is catering to multiple needs, choose one which you think causes the most issue to users and prepare your product roadmap around that.
- Write the Essence of Product
State 3 or 5 key features that your product is going to provide to the users. They have to be unique, relevant and beneficial for the user while setting you apart from your competitors. You can include functional, qualitative and design features in this section too if you feel they would lure the customers. However, do not start writing the details in your product roadmap because that should go in backlog.
- Mention Dates
When you are working on the time-driven products like a college website which should be ready to launch before the admission season begins, it is always recommended to include the dates and deadlines in your project roadmap. It would work as a reference for your internal team. However, while preparing a roadmap for your external stakeholders like investors or customers, skip mentioning the dates so that you are not held answerable in case you are not able to fulfil those commitments due to any unforeseen circumstances.
- Review and Fine-tune Roadmap Regularly
Since we are talking about products being developed in agile environment here, you should be expecting changes as you progress. So, make sure that your project roadmap is being reviewed and revised according to the challenges and subsequent solutions on regular basis. Sit down and review the progress of your product development every 3 weeks while tallying it with your roadmap and wherever you feel the need, make changes in the plan.
Though you should be sticking to your roadmap and ensure that entire team follows the plans and deadlines, you have to be flexible enough to make changes in your strategies as you progress. Remember that in an agile environment, changes are bound to happen.
Article written by Ashish Sharma