When we are talking about a roadmap in the context of product management, we mean a shared source of truth that outlines the vision, direction, priorities, and progress of a product over time.
It’s a plan of action that aligns the organization around short and long-term goals for the product or project and how they will be achieved.
It is an essential tool for product planning and serves as a communication channel between product management and other stakeholders. Product managers need to understand how to create a product roadmap and how to keep it updated, and keeping it updated with reality is the challenging part.
As Mike said: “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”
Or in other version (popular in the army) – “No plan survives first contact with the enemy.”
That’s why we must invest in keeping it as close as possible to the changing reality.
Let’s follow the different stages.
Mission – What are we trying to achieve with this startup/project/product?
The mission statement is the foundation of a successful product management process. It states your product strategy’s objectives, goals, and core principles. It provides guidance for making critical decisions and serves as a guide for everyone involved in the product development process.
Psst… As a product manager, you must ensure that the mission statement accurately represents the product’s vision and reflects the company’s goals.
Vision – What does the service/product look like?
The vision for a product or service sets out the high-level objectives you aim to achieve. This should be as specific as possible, outlining the precise outcome that the user will see (e.g., the actual UX/UI in many cases).
By having a clear vision at the beginning of the Product Management process, you will be able to set measurable objectives and better manage priorities.
Strategy – What is our plan to win?
Once the mission and vision are established, the product strategy should be defined. It provides guidance on how to successfully launch and manage the product. The plan should include the target market, user personas, core customer needs, a timeline, key milestones, and the resources needed to bring the product to market.
Goals – How will we measure the progress?
Product managers often use the OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) framework to track progress and measure success. Goals are the objectives or desired outcomes, and Key Results are the measurable milestones that must be met to achieve the goals.
OKRs can also align teams and employees around common goals and priorities. It would be best if you started at the top, and each level in the organization should support the level above it.
Roadmap – What should be worked on?
The Roadmap is the tangible part of the product management process. It’s a document that outlines the timeline and tasks associated with launching and managing the product. The Roadmap should also include a list of features and any dependencies that need to be considered. This will help ensure that all stakeholders are aware of the product’s development schedule. The Roadmap is meant to be a living document, so product managers should update it regularly as the product evolves.
Here are some tips to help you make the transition from Mission to roadmap:
Do Your Research
Before you can create an effective roadmap, you need to do your research. This includes understanding the product’s mission and goals, researching the market and competition, and understanding the customer’s needs and wants. Doing this research will give you the information you need to create a roadmap that meets the product’s mission and goals.
How to Find the Right Balance Between Customer Feedback and Market Research
Finding the right balance between customer feedback and market research is an important part of creating an effective roadmap. While customer feedback can provide valuable insights into what customers want and need, it’s important to also take into account market research. Market research can provide valuable insights into what the competition is doing and what trends are emerging in the industry. By finding the right balance between customer feedback and market research, you’ll be able to create a roadmap that meets the product’s mission and goals.
Create a Timeline
Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to create a timeline. This will help you plan out when each step of the roadmap will be completed. It’s important to be realistic when creating your timeline and to factor in any potential delays or roadblocks.
Once you’ve created a timeline, it’s time to prioritize the features. Not all features are created equal, so you need to decide which features are most important and should be completed first. This will help you focus your efforts and ensure that the most important features are completed on time.
Communicate with Stakeholders
Once you have a roadmap in place, it’s important to communicate it to all stakeholders. This includes the product team, customers, and other stakeholders. Communicating the roadmap will ensure everyone is on the same page and will help ensure the roadmap is implemented correctly.
Product management is the process of bringing a product or service to market. It requires understanding customer needs and market conditions and the ability to think strategically and execute efficiently. A successful product roadmap is the result of a well-executed product management process, and it is the foundation for creating a successful product that meets customer needs and delivers value.