Importance of Product Roadmap

 

Importance of Product Roadmap

You have big goals and dreams for your startup, and there’s a good chance your teams are just as excited as you are about your company's and product's future.

 

No hopes and dreaming alone can move your startup forward. You also need a realistic, well-defined plan and to put it down on paper.

 

At the same time, your plan can’t be too detailed or rigid; you’ll need some wiggle room. As this is the 21st century, the startup world moves fast, and your plan has to be able to always keep up. Product roadmaps can be extremely helpful tools in any product manager’s arsenal. However, if used incorrectly or without intentionality, they could be potentially detrimental to you and your product development team.

 

Developing an effective product roadmap is not something to be taken lightly. It takes time, patience, and clear communication to ensure that your team's priorities are accurately reflected to internal stakeholders, external stakeholders, and potential customers.

What is a Product Roadmap?

An agile product roadmap is a document that communicates the strategic direction of a new or existing product or organisation in order to align key stakeholders, marketing teams, sales teams, product teams, and, in some cases, customers on what will be delivering. It is a component of the product strategy or plan.

 

A great product roadmap communicates both the "why" and the "what," whereas a product backlog communicates only the "how." A great product roadmap must be easy to understand, clear, abstracted from detail, and adaptable.

 

The product roadmap has several long-term objectives:

        Explain the vision and strategy.

        Provide a strategy implementation guidebook.

        Bring internal stakeholders on board.

        Facilitate option discussion and scenario planning

        Assist in communicating with external stakeholders, such as customers

 

Why you need Product Roadmap

To achieve your desired outcomes, you must channel everyone's backgrounds, ideas, and thought processes in the right direction in your startup. A product roadmap provides this guidance.

        They provide guidance to your team.

        They ensure that all teams are on the same page regarding product priorities.

        They allow for feedback and consensus, ensuring that all team members and stakeholders are on board with the process.

        They examine all aspects of the product journey to identify any gaps.

 

Product roadmaps are living documents that should never be considered 'complete.' The more you and your agile team learn in an agile environment, increased changes of the product roadmap will have throughout the product life cycle.

 

1. Creating a strategy and a vision for your product

All of the opinions and expectations surrounding your startup's product can lead to your team focusing on the wrong things. Excitement may cause them to get carried away and add extraneous features to your product—this is known as "shiny object syndrome," and it will slow you down and cause you to stray from your target.

 

This is a major issue in startups because many new ones do not immediately organise themselves around a central strategy. Your product roadmap assists you and your team in focusing on the end goal of your product. It keeps your entire team informed about how their work contributes to the company strategy and moves the product forward.

2. Long-term planning allows you to make changes along the way.

Have you ever considered that not having long-term plans is akin to flying an aeroplane without instruments? A good roadmap, like an aeroplane's instruments, should tell you if you've already reached cruise altitude or if you still need to boost your product's engagement, for example. To do so, compare your current metrics to the ones you defined with your team when developing the roadmap. Looking at this, your team can refine the features and sprint goals, make data-driven decisions, or, at the very least, recognise that some desired outcome will not be achieved, allowing you to activate your plan B. Otherwise, your team will simply work sprint after sprint with no regard for the impact of its efforts on the business.

 

3. Prioritising task for every team

Because a product roadmap connects each team's roles to the product's core purpose, it aids in the creation of clear priorities and tasks for each team.

 

As previously stated, it is easy for startup members to become distracted by their product ideas.

 

You can set clear priorities and deadlines for each team with a product roadmap in place. Executives in charge of each team know exactly what they need to do, which results in better work from all team members.

 

Motivate your product team to add value.

4. Persuading investors

Your product roadmap isn't just for the benefit of your team. It demonstrates to investors the purpose of your product, that you have clear goals, and that you have concrete steps in place to get there.

 

Keep in mind that investors are looking for reasons to say no. You must provide them with as many reasons to say yes as possible, and a visual roadmap of your product strategy does just that.

 

Investors now only care about making a profit on their investment. Despite being a useful tool, the roadmap will not suffice. You'll also need to know how to present it to investors once you've created it.

5. It gives visibility to stakeholder

Have you ever considered how many meetings you could have avoided if there had been a roadmap? We are not supposed to give a status report to stakeholders because we are working in an agile environment, but I assume your team does not work in a vacuum and your product must be part of a larger company strategy. In that sense, your goals and progress toward them must be visible to everyone in your organisation. This level of transparency increases senior management buy-in even when things don't go as planned, because the entire strategy that relies on your product can be adjusted if necessary. Furthermore, it fosters a sense of teamwork and accelerates your JTBD growth.

6. Motivates the Team to move to next Step

When delivering a feature, it is possible that you will encounter numerous technical issues and that things will not function as expected. As a result, if you don't have a clear vision of what's next and why it's important, your motivation to work harder to overcome such challenges will dwindle. Remembering every day that time is a limited resource sharpens our critical thinking about problems and why we should solve them.

Conclusion

So, you and your team have spent a significant amount of time developing the roadmap, goals have been established, and everyone is held accountable and motivated to achieve them. That's fantastic! So, after the roadmap-building collaborative sessions, the Product Manager saves it on his/her computer, the team begins working on the features, and that's it, right? No, big no! It may seem obvious, but if we don't see the roadmap and talk about it on a daily basis, we will forget all of the precious and hard work we have done to build it, or worse, we will forget what we are committed to do as a group and start working as a group of individuals on their own, which is exactly the opposite of how a team works.

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