Product Roadmap: What it Is, Why You Need it, How to Create One + Examples


Two people working on a product roadmap on a board.

successful product takes an excessive amount of effort to develop and keep. This course of entails balancing the product’s strategic goals with the wants of its finish customers and inside stakeholders.

Juggling these duties efficiently requires a product roadmap.

Product roadmaps are efficient instruments for product managers to stipulate the event of a undertaking. Along with offering oversight of an ongoing undertaking, a product roadmap helps allocate time, finances, and assets.

You’ll be able to design a great product, however the design is barely step one. A product roadmap converts your product imaginative and prescient and strategy into tangible tasks and duties your group can work on day by day. Along with explaining what you’re constructing, a product roadmap additionally explains why you’re doing so (in any other case generally known as your strategic imaginative and prescient).

Not like technique paperwork, which concentrate on the granular duties required throughout product development, product roadmaps are comparatively high-level. A sensible product roadmap addresses all questions which may come up throughout product improvement. It ought to, nonetheless, be versatile sufficient to adapt to adjustments alongside the best way to make sure the product’s success.

Over the previous fifteen years, our group has helped 1000’s of entrepreneurs and small companies construct and enhance their merchandise via visible design. We’ve constructed complete product roadmaps for a lot of startups and small companies and often mentor entrepreneurs and enterprise house owners on constructing profitable merchandise.  This information shares the actionable insights, ideas, greatest practices, and experience we’ve developed after serving to over 100 thousand manufacturers.

This text will focus on the various kinds of product roadmaps, why it’s best to have one, easy methods to create one, and examples of fine product roadmaps.

Why do you want a product roadmap?

There are a number of explanation why product roadmaps are important:

  • A product roadmap ensures everybody works towards a standard purpose. It’s primarily a communication software. For anybody unsure in regards to the path and priorities of your product, product roadmaps are the first supply of reality;
  • Groups can concentrate on probably the most important features of the undertaking. A roadmap lets you determine the important steps wanted to attain your objectives with out getting misplaced within the particulars;
  • Product managers can prioritize options, duties, and launch dates;
  • Stakeholders are stored updated on progress as a result of a product roadmap adjustments as product improvement proceeds. Transparency in a product roadmap can encourage belief and confidence in your group’s business plan from the highest down;
  • It promotes discussions and strategic planning. A roadmap is a dialogue, not a rule. It permits everybody to ask questions, voice issues, and provides suggestions.

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The principle elements of a product roadmap

Listed here are the core elements of most product roadmaps:

Merchandise. A product might seek advice from an merchandise, service, or methodology that meets the client’s present wants or calls for. That is characterised by tangible and intangible attributes (advantages, options, capabilities, or functions).

Objectives. This pertains to measurable, time-bound aims supported by clearly outlined success metrics. Product roadmaps embrace objectives as an example the important accomplishments required to make the product imaginative and prescient a actuality.

Releases. Releases sometimes contain introducing new products and options that present worth to clients. A number of options, typically generally known as epics, are delivered concurrently in a launch.

Epic. The time period epic refers to a big user story that can not be fulfilled inside one launch. The work is usually damaged down into extra minor options or consumer tales that may be delivered incrementally.

Options. The time period characteristic refers to a brand new or improved operate that gives worth to customers. A characteristic supplies extra detailed details about the brand new performance.

Minimal Viable Product (MVP). An MVP is a improvement approach by which a new product is created with only some core options that may enable it to operate. MVPs are designed to shortly collect buyer suggestions and enhance the product with out losing time or cash.

Consumer Tales. A consumer story describes a brand new software program characteristic from the top consumer’s perspective, sometimes highlighting their needs and desires. The phrases “options” and “consumer tales” are sometimes used interchangeably.

Timeline. Sometimes, product roadmaps embrace dates for the completion and launch of latest merchandise and updates to present merchandise.

Varieties of product roadmaps

Agile and waterfall are two of the preferred approaches to product administration.

Waterfall product roadmaps talk a dedication to constructing particular options over an prolonged interval.

In contrast, agile roadmaps are designed to accommodate inevitable adjustments whereas committing to engaging in significant work. Agile roadmaps talk a short-term plan for reaching product objectives that’s versatile to regulate as buyer wants change.

Product roadmaps can be found for varied audiences, actions, and tasks.

Most of those are designed for inside audiences, corresponding to government, product improvement, advertising and marketing, and gross sales groups. Others are used for exterior communications, corresponding to notifying shoppers about upcoming releases.

Listed here are a number of examples you might come throughout:

Technique roadmap

A method roadmap outlines what’s arising for a company.

Not like a product roadmap, a technique roadmap focuses on a broader vary of actions. Along with adjustments to the services of a company, it could additionally embrace adjustments to its construction and processes.

Product launch roadmap

Product launch roadmaps present an outline of upcoming software program releases. They function inside guides to tell stakeholders of the undertaking’s progress.

Sometimes, every launch consists of launch dates and might be organized by date, product, or undertaking. Every characteristic can be described, together with data relating to whether or not it’s in improvement, testing, or has been launched.

Advertising roadmaps

Product-related advertising and marketing actions are described in a advertising and marketing roadmap, which guides engineering, undertaking, improvement, and gross sales groups. Advertising groups and product managers typically create roadmaps, however additionally they assist inform wider groups of their contribution to the advertising and marketing course of.

There may be sometimes a quick description of the product, a target market, and a schedule of marketing activities and objectives. It could embrace, for instance, a timeline of digital campaigns and their objectives.

Know-how roadmaps

A know-how roadmap outlines the key technological milestones that have to be met to launch a brand new product. Know-how roadmaps are sometimes focused at manufacturing and improvement groups.

A company might set milestones based mostly on exterior aims, corresponding to offering explicit options to clients. Alternatively, these can characteristic inside functions, corresponding to implementing a company’s tech technique.

Portfolio roadmaps

Particular person tasks all the time have their roadmap, however a portfolio roadmap captures the technique and aims for a broader vary of merchandise. When used as a framework for making choices, it may well help in figuring out what merchandise to spend money on and easy methods to prioritize them.

Though product roadmaps needs to be reviewed and up to date often, portfolio roadmaps require much more particular consideration. They carry advanced tasks containing a number of dependencies and product administration groups.

By sustaining a roadmap, every of those groups, which can in any other case work in isolation, will be capable to coordinate their planning processes higher.

Tips on how to construct the right product roadmap

Construction is important to the event of a strong product roadmap. The 4 phases of the undertaking life cycle are a perfect place to begin. Contemplate the next steps as you create your roadmap:

  • Initiation section. That is the section by which you conduct analysis and construct context across the product you’re growing.
  • Planning section. Throughout this section, you identify the specified outcomes, determine issues to be resolved, and prioritize associated options.
  • Execution section. Throughout this stage, you break down huge epics into validated duties, steadiness short- and long-term objectives, and current your roadmap to your group and stakeholders.
  • Ongoing monitoring stage. The aim of this step is to measure success and to replace your roadmap as needed.

Let’s take a look at every step in additional element.

1. Analysis and context-building

The aim of product roadmaps is twofold. First, they impart your objectives and priorities to others. Second, they develop company-wide help on your plan.

Step one is to find out who your roadmap is meant for. For instance, your engineering group’s inside roadmap will cowl totally different subjects than these designed on your finish clients.

Who’s reviewing this content material, and what are they anticipating? It’s helpful to obviously outline your viewers earlier than presenting your roadmap.

Subsequent, contemplate how what you are promoting is at the moment performing. As your organization grows, your product roadmap may also mature and alter. Growing an MVP for a startup differs considerably from balancing a number of merchandise throughout a number of markets for a extra mature group.

2. Establish the specified consequence based mostly on enterprise necessities

Constructing a product roadmap requires a transparent understanding of your aims.

What’s the function of the undertaking? Is it to develop a brand new product or to revamp an present one?

If you develop a brand new product, you have to start with the ideation section, outline the minimal viable product for individuals to make use of, and check its performance. MVPs are integral to product roadmaps, and their priorities have to be clearly outlined.

For instance, when you create a login web page for customers to entry your platform, coming into their electronic mail ID and password will likely be essential. Nevertheless, MVPs such because the ‘Overlook Password’ characteristic might be stored at a decrease precedence and added later.

Establish a number of key elements and brainstorm them together with your teammates and key stakeholders:

Desired consequence

What’s the enterprise want you are attempting to deal with? For instance, “turn out to be the highest t-shirt printing e-commerce retailer in North America.”

Influence metrics

Which metrics point out that you’re fixing an issue most successfully? For instance, what you are promoting might improve the common order measurement to 5 merchandise per buyer.

Conduct metrics

What user behaviors should be modified to attain your objectives?

As an example, to extend income, your technique might begin specializing in top-of-funnel users, upselling existing customers, and even reactivating churned customers to extend income.

Contemplate revising your technique and imaginative and prescient to determine areas of affect.

As well as, you might want to examine different assets corresponding to market researchcompetitor analysis, inside requests from stakeholders, exterior requests from customers, and even present duties in your product backlog.

3. Resolve the right issues

It’s time to study easy methods to enhance your product and alter user behavior to attain your objectives.

How are you going to resolve consumer issues to affect your metrics and enterprise wants?

You’ll be able to determine issues that relate to your required outcomes in a number of methods:

Buyer suggestions

The easiest way to uncover consumer issues is to conduct consumer interviews. Nevertheless, when you can’t communicate with clients straight or want to collect extra knowledge sources, search feedback out of your advertising and marketing group, and take note of social listening, gross sales, customer support, and different departments that straight affect customers.

Accumulate and analyze utilization knowledge

Your clients might not all the time inform you what they need. Contemplate how your clients are utilizing your product. What downside are they making an attempt to resolve when shopping for your product?

Product backlog

There may be probably an in depth record of duties, points, and issues that require your consideration. Preserve your backlog updated as you determine issues. Assess every element to find out if it supplies worth, has an proprietor, and nonetheless matches inside the total technique for the product.

Researching opponents and the market

Wherever your model may sit within the business, it’s nonetheless important to remain aware of the issues your opponents are fixing or how the market is altering.

As quickly as you will have determined in your purpose, you possibly can start to map out consumer tales. Utilizing the user-driven strategy, you possibly can determine necessities from the consumer’s standpoint.

Constructing a product backlog via consumer mapping is far more partaking than writing a boring and prolonged doc of necessities.

4. Determine on a timeframe

A roadmap should have a vacation spot. Set up a tough however life like timeframe based mostly in your desired consequence and the issues you will have recognized.

Does the issue seem to have a easy answer that may be examined inside a number of months? Do you plan to implement vital strategic adjustments that will take a number of years?

Change takes time.

In any case, a product roadmap ought to point out progress as early as doable in order that you don’t decide to blindly chasing outcomes for a few years to come back.

5. Create a high-level framework for organizing issues

You need to now have a reverse funnel, going from a particular consequence to a couple affect metrics after which an inventory of issues to resolve (and probably some present backlog objects that match).

The method is prone to be messy. Regardless of this, you will need to visualize this circulate from purpose to potential options and observe what number of totally different paths can result in the identical outcome.

6. Make sure that your roadmap is concise and clear

So long as your group is aligned towards the identical purpose, product improvement will likely be far more environment friendly. This could solely be achieved if the whole group understands the product’s position in its improvement.

Preserve your roadmap easy and simple to grasp. An in depth recreation plan might look like the easiest way to make sure your success, however it’s going to solely lead to miscommunication and missed deadlines. A transparent and concise roadmap is essential to holding workers targeted and motivated.

7. Divide duties into epics

After figuring out the timeline, it’s needed to interrupt the duties into extra minor, manageable epics.

Relying on the undertaking’s complexity, the story map or timeline might encompass as much as six ranges.

For smaller tasks, nonetheless, three ranges are often ample. You need to consider the product by way of its maturity and measurement.

8. Develop a imaginative and prescient board

As a subsequent step, the whole lot will likely be compiled on a imaginative and prescient board accessible to all stakeholders. By doing so, everybody concerned can hold observe of the progress of the product’s improvement.

In an agile strategy to product highway mapping, testing happens at every epic stage and doesn’t have to attend till the whole product is full. Utilizing this methodology, you possibly can decide how a lot time every activity takes with the prevailing assets and if further assets are needed at any time.

If you’re growing an agile roadmap, you have to be adaptable to all sudden adjustments that will come up and take care of them accordingly to attain success.

9. Consider your product roadmap.

You shouldn’t count on your product roadmap to be excellent. Sudden roadblocks will come up, and you have to rally your group to make sure deadlines are met. All of this can be a needed a part of the method.

You’ll be able to safeguard your roadmap by reviewing it each time an issue arises.

  • Did you anticipate this downside?
  • Is there a short- and long-term answer obtainable to you?
  • How will we resolve this challenge? What assets will you want?

Your roadmap won’t be excellent from the beginning, however you possibly can fine-tune it to make sure your product arrives precisely as you meant.

Product roadmap examples


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Simplicity is a trademark of the now-next-later roadmap. Prioritizing duties is made simpler with it.

Maps of this kind illustrate the relative significance of duties, options, and sprints.

Each group member can profit from understanding how their work progresses via the now-next-later roadmap. Moreover, this roadmap is each simple to grasp and create.

For instance, you should use it for presenting to clients or for conferences with a big viewers. Here’s a temporary overview of the construction of this kind of roadmap.

“Now” exhibits the group’s accomplishments inside the subsequent two to 4 weeks. Included are objectives/points that needs to be the group’s precedence. It’s often not essential to make any adjustments to this part.

“Subsequent” refers back to the group’s medium-term options, which they are going to concentrate on in a number of weeks. It’s doable to switch the options on this part.

“Later” signifies long-term plans, often one thing the group plans to perform inside the subsequent few months. It’s important to grasp that objectives on this part will probably change over time. Due to this fact it’s doable to plan them roughly.


The characteristic roadmap outlines the important thing options of a product and permits monitoring of its improvement and launch. Purchasers and group members can use it to grasp the following step.

Due to this fact, customers will respect the product’s worth, and the group will be capable to see the path by which it’s evolving.

Implementing a feature-based roadmap lets you prioritize the discharge of options and distribute assets inside the firm.

This kind of map will should be up to date incessantly attributable to technological advances and buyer preferences, making it more difficult to take care of sooner or later.


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A goal-oriented roadmap helps make clear your technique and makes it simpler to grasp.

The objectives clarify the rationale behind every characteristic and assist construction the data logically.

This kind of map is right for exhibiting to executives. It is because they’re much less involved in regards to the product’s particular options and are extra involved in regards to the larger image.

A goal-oriented map will point out whether or not the product can fulfill its guarantees.


Roadmaps might be highly effective instruments, however they have to be versatile. A robust product roadmap will contribute to profitable product improvement and assist your small enterprise or startup improve revenues and earnings.

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