How to create a product roadmap

Why should I care?

Defining the next steps of a product allows your company (and customers) to align to a common cause.

What is a product roadmap?

Product roadmaps define product goals and their related features to be executed in the near future. They can be high level or detailed, with a preference to the former.

Think of your roadmap as a strategic communication document

 Janna Bastow

Priority buckets (by Foursquare) help you to develop a product roadmap by prioritizing roadmap goals into one of three buckets:

  • Now – within the next 2-4 weeks
  • Next – this quarter
  • Later – beyond

Product roadmaps emphasize goals over features. Following this pattern helps remove unnecessary bloat from your product. It also encourages you and your team to step back and focus on realizing the product’s vision, rather than developing features for the sake of developing features.

How to create a product roadmap

1

Trim your current product roadmap

Use a technique like the Lean Feature Analysis Hack

2

Review your product strategy document

Utilize the contents of your product strategy to derive your roadmap

3

Develop your goals

Again, align these with your product strategy

4

Find features that align to your goals

Use market research, customer feedback and your intuition

5

Put your goals and corresponding features into buckets

Use priority buckets – now, next and later

6

Repeat

Review this monthly

What to watch out for

  • Reviewing your roadmap infrequently
  • Focusing only on features
  • Only implementing customer feedback (the voice of 10 customers might not be the same voice of 10,000)

Further reading

Although there is no canonical approach to creating a product roadmap, there are a number of great frameworks to base your own on:

There’s even a talk about not needing a product roadmap at all. But these discussions mainly refer to inflexible product roadmaps that don’t change with the market.

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