What Is Product Roadmapping?

A product roadmap is a plan of action used to guide the development and evolution of a product over time.

Written by Anthony Corbo
Published on Dec. 16, 2021
What Is Product Roadmapping?
Image: Shutterstock / Built In
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Jeff Hurd | Aug 11, 2022

Product roadmaps provide reasoning and plans for the product’s existence, allowing stakeholders involved in building the product to have a strategic document to refer back to when executing the product strategy. Ultimately, a product roadmap will align stakeholders while outlining future product functionality, release cycles and offer responses to shifts in the product's landscape.

How do you create a product roadmap?

  • Product roadmaps are created by product teams, development teams, customer success teams and high-level stakeholders within the enterprise.

Product roadmaps provide the opportunity for all stakeholders involved with product development, go-to-market strategies, and customer success to align their goals and create a strategic document for the creation and growth of a product. Product roadmaps should include key information about the product’s journey to market and the value it will provide to stakeholders, as well thresholds for success throughout the product’s growth. 

To create a product roadmap, the strategy and requirements needed to provide value to the customer and to the business must be set. These requirements are influenced directly by the product’s vision, customer support team feedback, direct user feedback and existing product knowledge. The strategy and requirements are then assigned to a broad timeline and tailored toward stakeholder participation. Finally, the roadmap is shared with all stakeholders and development can begin. Product roadmaps are often created in spreadsheets or proprietary cloud-based software and should be visual in nature, have several variations to account for changing factors, and be flexible enough to be adapted regularly.

What goes on a product roadmap?

  • Every product roadmap should contain the product’s vision, strategy, requirements, production plan, key markers and success metrics.

Product roadmaps are intended to shed light on the growth of a product over an extended period of time, from its initial development through its evolution on the market. Accordingly, product roadmaps must be robust and contain strategic details for every point in the growth process. 

The roadmap should begin with the product’s vision, which puts the company on a trajectory towards the final product. The strategy is how internal and external stakeholders become familiar with the product and describes the value it will provide to the business. The roadmap is used to ensure strategy remains the same throughout production. Requirements are then added to outline the needs of the project and what value users need to receive once the product is launched. The product plan includes production steps, ensuring the product vision will be met and outlines how the plan will be executed. Markers are crucial to keeping all stakeholders informed about the project’s timing. They may be adjusted over the course of the project but the inclusion of markers in the product roadmap allow stakeholders to remain organized during handoffs. Finally, metrics ensure success can be measured over development, launch and growth periods.

How often should product roadmap planning be done?

  • Product roadmaps should be regularly reviewed and updated to account for changing factors in production and variable market trends.

In many enterprise environments, particularly those that abide by Agile methodology, changes during a product’s production cycle are considered a natural part of the product’s lifecycle. Flexible market trends and production capabilities can lead to changes in product elements or processes, meaning product roadmaps will need to be adjusted to account for these changes and remain on track with the production process. 

The intervals in which the product will be reviewed can depend on the product’s age and market share, but reviews will often occur every quarter for mature products in a dynamic market and monthly for new products in a dynamic market. In more stable markets, these review periods will occur every three to six months for mature products and quarterly for new products. Additionally, product roadmapping will need to occur any time a new product will be put into production.

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