Your product roadmap’s contents will be determined by several things, including the audiences who will be reading it, your plan for the roadmap, your company’s culture, etc. Therefore, it is worthwhile to take a step back and consider a roadmap’s general objective before discussing the topics that should be included in your product roadmap.
You might think that what is the product roadmap? A product roadmap’s primary function is to convey strategy. Product managers use their roadmaps to explain to a variety of stakeholders the vision and goals for their products and to demonstrate how those goals support the company’s bigger strategic objectives.
It becomes obvious why a product roadmap cannot just be a lengthy list of features once you realize that a roadmap should communicate a product’s strategy. To tell the story of your product, the roadmap needs to be at a higher level than that. In this article of universal agile we’ll discuss the major components of the product roadmap.
What Makes Up a Product Roadmap?
Assume that you have selected at least some of your primary initiatives and priorities for a new product. Although you haven’t decided on all the features or plotlines you’ll need for the product’s initial release, you have created a rough, high-level plan for its main strategic goals.
What’s next? How do you begin turning those broad strokes into a roadmap? Although each person’s roadmap will be somewhat unique, the following basic framework can be used as a useful place to start.
“Swimlanes” or lanes
The high-level categories of the projects on your roadmap can be divided into lanes, also known as swimlanes, to highlight responsibility divisions.
Swimlanes can stand in for several teams, responsibility areas, geographical regions, or any other categories that make sense for the way your business or your product is organized.
Containers (or Themes)
The highest-level groupings of the efforts on your roadmap will be represented by containers. Containers are the high-level categories to which all of the other items on the roadmap should be rolled up. Think of them as the main themes of your plan.
Use containers to symbolize the various epics, projects, themes, or other things you have planned.
Bars are high-level items that are gathered under the proper containers in groups. The initiatives that all contribute to a specific roadmap theme might be thought of as these elements that could represent anything for your product. With scrum master certification you will be able to use these components easily.
Dates and Timelines
For a variety of reasons, it is occasionally preferable for your roadmap to exclude certain dates or to simply show due dates for particular initiatives.
When to include timelines on your roadmap and how specific those timelines should be will depend on factors like the audience for the roadmap. For instance, when publishing a roadmap, you might not want to include firm deadlines and dates because you run the risk of losing your customers’ trust if you can’t meet them.
Whether a specific product release is connected to a bigger, data-driven event will be another thing to take into account. It might make strategic sense to include and even emphasize specific dates on your roadmap if, for example, you want to launch a product the week before a significant trade show for your sector.
But in some circumstances, if your roadmap will only be visible to internal audiences and if the launch of the product is not dependent on another strategic date, it might be wise to place less emphasis on dates and more emphasis on other strategic facets of the initiative.
Making your roadmap a potent communication tool requires careful consideration of which legends to present.
You want the people who will be viewing your roadmap—stakeholders, developers, other members of your cross-functional teams, etc.—to be able to read and comprehend many aspects of it quickly. They ought to be able to view, for instance, the items you’ve prioritized and why, your strategic objectives for each roadmap initiative, as well as perhaps the status of each initiative.
A well-designed product roadmap should also, ideally, provide current and easily accessible details regarding the status of any effort, activity, or strategy on the roadmap.
All items should be clickable so that a reader can see the status of that item right now. Is it done? Has the group begun to work on it yet? What proportion of the task has been finished if it is in progress?
If you are utilizing an appropriate roadmap solution, tags will be another useful element to include on your roadmap.
The use of tags will make it easier for you, the product manager, as well as your cross-functional teams, to keep track of initiatives, targets, and areas of responsibility as the development process progresses.
You may filter your roadmap by “revenue” if you want to rapidly analyze all items that were identified as contributing to raising revenue.
What Shouldn’t Be Included on a Road Map?
There are a lot of items that can be alluring to include in your plan, possibly even those that are being asked for by your important stakeholders and/or clients. Maintaining objectivity, supporting the product team, and not placing unreasonable demands on them are crucial. To make everyone else happy, you want your product team to be content.
Make it clear from the start that a roadmap is not the same as a deadline. A product roadmap is directional and conveys the product’s strategic direction.
Don’t worry about adding “non-value” items to your strategic roadmap, either. Technical debt, DevOps tasks, bug patches, and other topics can be included in this list. This shouldn’t be a problem because, hopefully, you’re avoiding a feature roadmap (although there can be a time and place for it as well).
Always expect that some of the time spent by your team is going toward these low-value items. Showing off what exactly your team is working on inside your roadmap isn’t necessary if one of your goals is to increase the performance of the app. This is because your team will inevitably work on improvements that your consumers might never see (such as non-value features).
Always assume that your team will spend some time on these time-consuming tasks. If one of your objectives is to improve the performance of the app, showcasing the specific projects your team is working on inside your roadmap is not necessary. This is because your team will unavoidably work on upgrades that your customers might not even notice.
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