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Roadmap in Product Management

Have you ever wondered what it takes to go from ideation to building a detailed roadmap that everyone is on-board with?

Senior Product Manager, Walmart eCommerce

Outline of the key points:

1. Idea validation and defining the product vision

2. Product requirements gathering

3. Roadmap creation

4. Execution and delivery

5. Measuring success

There's a lot of talk these days about the roadmap in product management. What is it? What's its purpose? And how do you create one that works for your team and your product? In this post, we'll answer all those questions and more. 

So if you're curious about what a roadmap is and how it can help you build a better product, read on! 🚀🚀

Roadmaps lay out the vision for product development and help stakeholders understand how the product will evolve over time. Roadmaps can take many different forms, but all should answer the following questions: What are we building? Why are we building it? When will it be done?

Product managers use roadmaps to communicate the team's plans to stakeholders and align everyone around the product's business purpose. Roadmap creation is an iterative process, and the best roadmaps are always evolving to reflect the ever-changing needs of the product.

Roadmaps typically include both high-level milestones and detailed feature lists. Milestones indicate when a particular goal will be met, while features describe the functionality that will be delivered at each milestone. Features should be prioritized based on their alignment with the product's business purpose.

Timeboxing is a critical part of creating a roadmap that works. All features should have an estimated delivery date, and stakeholders should agree on these deadlines before work begins. This ensures that everyone is on the same page and that no one is surprised by sudden changes in the schedule.

Roadmap for product managers is critical for success because it ensures everyone is aligned and working towards collective goals. By plotting out features and milestones, product managers can keep track of progress and ensure nothing falls through the cracks.

Furthermore, roadmapping provides an opportunity to get buy-in from stakeholders early on in the process. By sharing the vision for the product and getting feedback from key decision-makers, product managers can make sure they are aligning with company goals. Roadmaps also help to set realistic deadlines and ensure that products are launched on time. By taking into account time constraints, product managers can avoid Scope Creep and deliver a finished product that meets all stakeholders' needs.

The product roadmap is a living document that should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis. As new features are delivered and objectives are met, the roadmap should be updated to reflect these changes. By keeping the roadmap up to date, product managers can ensure that everyone remains aligned with the latest plans for the product.

"P2PAgro-lending" use case

To better illustrate the process of building a robust roadmap let's use a fictional example of a microfinancing platform in the agricultural industry called "P2PAgro-lending":

Story plot: "Jane is a principal product manager at the SaaS mid-sized company and she is tasked by her Chief Product Officer to build and present a product roadmap focused on getting a new P2P lending platform targeted at farmers and agricultural professionals who need working capital to buy seeds, planting material, crop protection chemicals, and lease seasonal machinery and equipment."

Product managers are responsible for the success of a product and must take a holistic view of the product. This includes understanding what features the product should have, how to prioritize those features, working with stakeholders to get buy-in, and ensuring that the product is launched successfully.

In order to come up with features for a new peer to peer lending platform aimed at farmers and agricultural professionals, Jane first did market research to understand the needs of this target audience. She then outlined an MVP for the product and worked with stakeholders to get buy-in. Once she had approval from stakeholders, she worked with the engineering team to implement those features. Finally, she used data analytics from the marketing team to make decisions about the platform. 🥕🥦🌽🚜🚜

1. Do market research

The first step in coming up with features for a product is to do market research. This involves understanding who your target audience is, what their needs are, and what solutions are currently available in the market.

For Jane's peer to peer lending platform, she did market research on farmers and agricultural professionals. She interviewed them to understand their needs and what solutions were currently available to them. This information was used to outline the MVP for the new platform.

2. Outline an MVP

Once you have a good understanding of your target audience's needs, you can start outlining an MVP for your product. An MVP is a minimum viable product - it's the simplest version of your product that will still meet your target audience's needs.

Jane used her research on farmers and agricultural professionals to outline an MVP for her new peer to peer lending platform. The MVP included a basic version of the platform that would allow users to borrow and lend money between each other. It did not include all of the features that Jane had planned for the final product, but it met the needs of her target audience.

3. Work with stakeholders to get buy-in

Once you have an MVP, you need to work with stakeholders to get buy-in for it. Stakeholders are individuals or groups who have a vested interest in your product - they may be customers, employees, or shareholders.

For Jane's peer to peer lending platform, she worked with the chief product officer and other members of senior management to get approval for her MVP. She presented her findings from market research and explained how the MVP would meet the needs of her target audience. Once she had approval from stakeholders, she moved on to implementing those features with the engineering team.

4. Work with engineering team to implement features

Once you have approval from stakeholders, you need to work with the engineering team to implement your product's features. The engineering team is responsible for building and maintaining your product's software or hardware infrastructure.

Jane worked with the engineering team at her company to implement the features of her new peer to peer lending platform. She provided them with a detailed specification of what needed to be built and made sure that they had everything they needed in order to complete the project on time.

So, how do you take a big hairy audacious idea and turn it into a reality? The first step is to validate your idea. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to define the product vision and gather requirements. With those in hand, it’s time to create a roadmap and start executing on your plan. But what happens if things don’t go as planned or you hit unexpected roadblocks?

That’s where measuring success comes in. By tracking key performance indicators (KPIs), you can course correct when necessary and continue moving forward towards your ultimate goal. Have you tried any of these tips for developing your product roadmap? What was the outcome?

Ultimately, a well-crafted roadmap is essential for ensuring a successful product launchRoadmaps provide clarity, alignment, and buy-in - three essential ingredients for any successful product. 

Let me know - I would be excited to learn more details!

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