Hey people, 

The first thing you should know about a product roadmap is: that you need it. Really.

One of the most valuable ways to manage the risk of failure and reduce the time taken to build successful products is by making a product roadmap followed throughout its lifecycle by developers, managers, and users.

A Product Roadmap can be a communication tool for product managers, designers, developers, and users. Also, it can help clarify how different pieces of information fit together to define the actual value of your product.

Today’s post would essentially talk about a product roadmap, why it is important, and how you can make one. 

But, first things first.

What is a Product Roadmap?

Let’s think about it this way; a product roadmap is a high-level, visual summary that maps out the vision and direction of your product over time.

It is a statement of intent. It is a vital visual communication tool that product managers use to communicate with the stakeholders and various teams involved in developing the product. 

Watch the full video here.

How is a Product Roadmap different from a PRD? 

We’ve already talked about PRDs in detail. You can check it out here: What is a Product Requirements Document?

Both PRDs and product roadmaps broadly talk about the vision of the product development, but:

PRODUCT ROADMAPProduct Requirements Docuement (PRD)
– is a visual communication tool that maps the direction of the product life cycle.– is a formal document that talks about the product, functionality, elements, and features in a lot of detail.
– highlights what the product is going to look like in the long-term future.– talks about what the product would look like in the next version.

Why are Product Roadmaps so important? 

Roadmaps are important because

  1. Product Roadmaps map the vision and strategic objective of the product in a visual way, hence making it easier for development teams to share and collaborate. It displays the priorities and details of how everyone will deliver against the mission and the strategy. So all the stakeholders and the various teams involved are almost up to date with the status, the prioritization of features, the long-term direction, and the execution plan. 
  2. Roadmaps help in cross-functional team collaboration and provide clarity around priorities. The product roadmap becomes a source of valuable information for everyone in the team, and people in the team would know what the recent developments related to the product are and what the prioritization is going forward. It will reduce cross-team communication and chatter and provide clarity to everyone. 

How do we make a Product Roadmap? 

For this, you should:

1. Identify the goals for a specific period

Define that period and mention the goals. You are ideally planning for, say, the next few months or quarters because, as a PM, you definitely cannot predict what will happen a year from now. So mention the time and the product vision you have in mind. 

It should talk about the reason for building the product, its unique positioning, the value it will provide to the company and the users, and how it aligns with the broader business goals. 

2. Identify the problems that could be solved via that particular product

You will try to define the metrics related to that vision and assess how the product problems are being solved. 

Next, you would like to think about how these metrics will improve through your changes. You will probably do a competitive product analysis, take customer feedback and develop the right initiatives your team should be working on. This will help you explain which problems are specifically essential and should be focused on later. 

3. Align it with Internal Team and Stakeholders

The product roadmap is generally not a single-person effort; it has to be collaborative from start to finish. You will generally have weekly or quarterly meetings with all the stakeholders and internal teams so everyone can contribute and bring in their suggestions. This will make the purpose of a product roadmap much stronger. 

4. Define the metrics of success or the KPIs for your initiatives within the product roadmap

Align your product roadmap to well-defined KPIs. This is very important to measure the impact of your initiatives. So, you should be able to answer questions like

  • What will be the long-term impact of this change?
  •  How will we measure if the impact has been achieved? 
  • What is the process for updating and communicating the progress of this impact to everyone in the team?

5. Prioritization

As a product manager, you have to understand that, along with user needs, you also have to look at what is possible for you and your company to achieve with the resources that you have. This is where prioritization comes in. 

So you will start by asking questions like what initiatives will create the most impact, what’s the most urgent thing that needs to be tackled, and what’s our scope of resources in terms of time, effort, and technology. Two prioritization frameworks that are most popularly used are either the rice prioritization model or the value versus effort model.


So let me summarise what we have discussed today. 

A product roadmap is a visual document highlighting the stages of product development. 

Then we talked about how you can build a product roadmap and the five points you need to remember:

  • identify the goals for a specific period, 
  • identify the problems that you want to solve, 
  • align your roadmap with both internal and external stakeholders, 
  • define the metrics for success and the KPIs for each initiative that you pick, 
  • and then you go ahead and prioritize the product roadmap. 

That’s all for today. Thank you so much for reading. 

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