A high-quality product roadmap is a must-have for most companies and products, especially those that rely on evolution to further develop. A guide for the entire company, this roadmap helps outline the vision, goals, and priorities that should be shared among teams. It enables clear communication and planning that sets the product up to succeed, so it’s important that you follow best practices to optimize this important component of your growth.
Understand Your Audience
From team leads to executives to stakeholders, the product roadmap keeps everyone in the loop. With that being said, each of these parties has different takeaways to glean from it, so it’s important to answer the questions that the audience will have. Different versions of the same roadmap are often a convenient way to achieve this, since the messaging can be altered to fit as needed. While the marketing team will be looking for progress in product features, the CEO is likely asking more zoomed out questions about company efforts. Have a plan that suits both to be most effective.
Make Your Product Roadmap a Living Document
By their very nature, product roadmaps are apt to change. As your plans become realized, they move out of view while new long term goals become the main focus. However, these changes do not replace a more frequent evaluation and update that makes for a great product roadmap. Continuously assess your goals, your progress, and your strategy and tweak details as needed. This resource should accurately convey the what, why, and how of your plans so that everyone can stay on the same page and effectively make their own plans to support the larger picture.
Additionally, trying to avoid mapping out your product’s journey six months in advance. While it’s great to play the long game and have general metrics or product components you’d like to achieve, an agile product roadmap relies on flexibility. With constant change in your industry or among your target audience’s preferences, you should be ready to take those things to adapt to fit those into your plan instead of holding to set priorities that may become less relevant.
Keep Your Backlog Tidy
Your backlog is meant for features, additions, and goals that aren’t quite ready to take center stage. Make sure that you don’t overload it by adding things that the company isn’t imminently ready for. Having plenty of ideas is great, but check in frequently to prioritize the most important. As soon as room opens up for new projects, the most impactful ones will be ready to execute. Try to plan so that your current priorities and your future ones are cohesive for a more efficient journey.
Use the Right Tools
Softwares specifically designed for creating product roadmaps have become a new favorite. While to a few years ago presentation software was the go-to, that preference has shifted. Having a platform meant to build out your product planning can help you optimize it and make it more effective, which is crucial. Find one that works for your company and its goals and use it to its full potential—it will make life easier for you and lead to a better final product.