Step by Step Approach for Product Roadmap

We all as Product Managers must have a Roadmap. Why?  It defines your Product Journey. Its better to acknowledge the same and work to create effective roadmaps for a predictable product journey vis-a-vis your product goals and initiatives.

Step 1: First of All, you need to define your Product Goals.

The Product Goals can be your Product, Sales, Marketing or any other business goals depending on your current stage. Goals should be ideally supported by numeric KPIs. This should be based on solid market analysis/ sense/ hypothesis/guess/ intuition so that you put some realizable numbers on the table.

Reference: Aha Tool

Step 2: Product Goal to be aligned with Customer Initiative

Initiatives are defined as the Customers Problems you would to solve to achieve your Product Goals. Hence, the initiatives are linked to Goals. There can be multiple initiatives linked to multiple Goals. This exercise would require to step out in the market and interact with your customers (/relevant audience) and discover their current and future problems. The research hypothesis should be supported by Analysis (Qualitative and Quantitative)/Sense/Guess/ Intuition as it would be help run the experiment with higher success probability.

Reference: Themes: Organize Your Product Roadmap to Show Value

Step 3: Layout your Initiatives Roadmap

Once your initiatives are defined, you may put the same over a timeline and you would your get your Initiatives Roadmap.

Step 4: Define your Product Releases mapped with your initiatives (and goals)

The product release is given a time frame considering all tasks like Features listing, Definition, Requirement Specs, UX work, Development, QA, Deployment, Marketing (/PR) etc. You needn’t expect this timeframe with very highly rigid as that effort and time estimation may have error margin (10-20% may be acceptable in initial stages). However, you need to be more and more accurate over time. Here, you need to have Product Management, RnD & Engineering, Marketing and other guys on the same table for effort and time estimation. RnD & Engineering would need to have a list to features listed for any release to give an estimate (look at Step 5). The final result will be Release Roadmap or Product Roadmap.

Reference: Aha Tool

Step 5Product Team to build features list 

An input which is required to define timeline for Release Roadmap is features list. Hence, Product Team need to build list of features (defined at a higher level rather than in detail) for corresponding releases.

Reference: Aha Tool

Tips:

  • The Prioritisation is to be practiced at each planning stage considering Value Vis-a-Vis Effort for each Goal, Initiative, Release, Features.
  • The Product Manager needs to sync up with team for time to time to track progress and share changes in Product Roadmap as per inputs from the team.
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