9 Questions about the Product Roadmap If You're New to Roadmapping
1. What is a Product Roadmap?
The product roadmap is a high-level strategic document that communicates the product vision and outlines the steps necessary to achieve that vision. It’s a high-level view of the company’s priorities and a blueprint for how a product is going to evolve over time.
2. Who owns the product roadmap? Product manager or product owner?
The Product Manager typically owns the product roadmap although in some companies the Product Owner is responsible for the roadmap.
3. Who is the Product Roadmap for?
The product roadmap ideally should be for everyone in the company from the CEO to the intern so that everyone knows what’s going on with your product. But the roadmap is also used to communicate with customers and let them know what problems you’re solving and get them excited about the future direction of the product.
Internal roadmaps could be used by the product team, sales team, and executives to align everyone on the progress and direction of the product.
4. What are the key elements of a product roadmap?
Typically, the key elements are:
Product vision, strategy and goals
Products and features to be built
Who will build the products
When the products will be built
High-level themes or priorities
5. Is the Product roadmap the same thing as a release plan?
Many roadmaps are excessively detailed documents that contain release plans. But it should communicate just the priorities – what you’re doing , what’s coming , and what’s on the horizon for ; it’s not a release plan. Things – markets, customers – change so you should leave room to adjust the roadmap when change occurs.
6. Is it a list of product features?
No, it is not a feature list but organized around larger, high-level themes. Themes tell the bigger story while features are more detailed. A roadmap should focus on themes.
7. Is it a collection of backlog tasks?
The product roadmap is not the product backlog. The product roadmap is a strategic document designed to communicate the product’s vision, strategic objectives and plans. The product backlog is a tactical list of the tasks needed to accomplish the strategic plan and priorities as expressed in the product roadmap.
8. Is it a project management tool/tracker?
No, it is not. Instead it’s a communication tool that articulates the specific plan and evolution of the vision for the product. It’s also a strategic planning tool to keep your team focused on the goals of a particular product.
9. Should a product roadmap be updated?
Absolutely. As customers, competitors and markets change, these changes should be reflected on the roadmap. Roadmaps are often organized by month or by quarter so any changes should be communicated on the roadmap to keep everyone informed.