What is a Roadmap?

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Roadmap

What is Roadmap?

Roadmap Definition

Roadmap refers to the plan that will guide the team members and show them how to reach the desired goals. It mainly includes a step-by-step plan for achieving the milestone. A roadmap is also a tool that consists of the ‘why’ behind the ultimate goal and the plan.

A roadmap is a strategic synopsis of a business project

A roadmap is a plan of action that defines the goal and the checkpoints or significant steps to be followed to reach the goal. 

Roadmaps help improve alignment and strategy formation and centralize responsibilities and powers to critical authorities. 

Therefore it is a vital tool for product managers and project managers

The areas of product management that roadmap coves are:

The roadmap should be adaptable and collaborative. It must visually communicate the necessary components.

What Is the Use of a Roadmap? 

A roadmap is a guiding tool that provides visibility into the project without revealing the tasks in detail. 

The collaborative teams working on a project refer to the roadmap for the path of the process that they have to follow. 

A roadmap contains answers to questions like when development teams need to do a specific task or what comes next. 

The roadmap communicates the overall project strategy and plans to the concerned stakeholders, decision-makers, executives, or team leaders. 

The role of a roadmap is to function as a visual illustration of the strategy. Therefore it avoids chaos and supports a focused and goal-centric approach. 

What Should a Roadmap Include? 

The answer to the question of what should a product roadmap include lies in various factors. These roadmap factors are as follows:

  • The teams who will use the product roadmap as the guide
  • The plan for building the roadmap
  • The company culture

Therefore it is necessary to go one step back and determine the overall purpose of your product roadmap. With these factors in place, you can decide what components must a product roadmap include.

The use of a roadmap is to help reach the product strategy to the teams. And to communicate this strategy, product managers use product roadmap software to do this task.

Product roadmap software helps them convey the visions and o objectives of the product to the teams. They can also share the relation of these product visions with the company’s bigger picture and other team members. 

The moment the points mentioned above are clear, you will understand why the product roadmap is not just a written document of product features

It is much more than that because it will let others know your vision for the product.

First, product managers need to include the strategic vision of the product. After that, they can consist of the other small and tactical details, depending on the product manager’s needs. 

Product managers can make things easier and jot down important information using product management software like Chisel

Your product roadmap must have the following five components:

Themes

A theme refers to the product manager’s objective for the product. The development team builds this product using features and stories. 

Your theme is a broad strategic view of your product that your team must fulfill by the end of the product deadline.

Epics

Epics are the large categories of work that span multiple releases. Teams can break down epics into small features. 

Stories

Once your product theme is in place, you may start building on more granular details of your product roadmap. Product managers can use various product management tools to stay on track with their team members. 

A story in a product roadmap is a unit that will help teams achieve their end goals. 

Features

Features are the new or updated functionalities that teams make to the product. These features will add value to your product and give better results to your target audiences.

Timeline

This component of the product roadmap refers to the approximate timelines that product managers decide for product releases. Product managers can put these timeline details in the product management software like Chisel, and it will remind you of your deadlines. 

What Are the Types of Roadmaps?

Before we delve deeper into the product roadmap types, let’s first understand they can vary from one product to another.

There are four roadmap types. They are:

Department roadmaps

This roadmap type increased for internal teams to operate and strategize the work efficiently. 

Business development roadmaps

Business development roadmaps are mainly for the company’s operations. They outline the relation between company strategies, projects, and market needs. 

Product roadmaps

When a company decides to build on or update a product, it uses the roadmap. Product managers guide the teams using the product roadmap software. Various product manager tools are available in the market to build the product that serves the end goal.

Project roadmaps

Product managers or other leaders create project roadmaps to understand the objectives, tasks, deadlines, and deliverables graphically. 

What Are Some Roadmap Examples?

Now let’s look at a product roadmap example for a product release timeline.

A release timeline is one type of product roadmap. It means the tasks that teams must achieve before the set timeline for product releases. 

For example, programmers may decide to release the software update of the product before the product release. This way, they can adjust and improve any technology glitches.

Release timelines can also help the other team members in various departments across the company.

For example, the customer support teams will have to prepare to take up the customer calls and other work after updating the software. 

What Is the Difference Between Roadmap and Strategy?

A roadmap is a tool that helps product managers visualize how they can achieve their goals. They then share this roadmap with investors, team members, and customers to better understand the plan.

On the other hand, a strategy will have some roadmap components. It will also include the business side of your target markets, revenue your business generates, competitors, and so on.

When you define a roadmap, you as a team are planning to take to reach your goals. 

When you define a strategy, you put across the direction your business will take to achieve your goals.

For example, a product roadmap will include the milestones of a product release such that the teams must fulfill the following:

  • Design
  • Marketing 
  • Manufacturing

A strategy example would be if your company is planning to reach the top 50 in your industry, you must strategize. You can plan out what you need to achieve as a company to reach that point. 

Roadmaps are flow diagrams that will show the relation between your tasks and milestones.

Brainstorming and research are the key factors that will help you to strategize 

Strategy and roadmaps will change depending on the following factors:

  • Change in market
  • Change in technology
  • Change in company’s culture
  • Other factors

FAQs

What is roadmapping?

In product management, roadmapping refers to the process wherein the product manager and the team follow the process of taking action to reach the ultimate goal.

In roadmapping, teams determine and take necessary steps, actions, and resources that will help them to bring their product blueprint to life.

What is the difference between a product roadmap and a project roadmap?

A significant difference is the core purpose of both. The product roadmap outlines the entire lifecycle of a product.

On the other hand, a project roadmap deals with a project with some set of tasks that development teams have to complete.

The project roadmap has a desired goal. The product roadmap refers to the strategies and stages involved in the product management process.

Both roadmaps have different components and implementation and usage.

How do you create a product roadmap?
  1. Determine the strategy.
  2. Assess your ideas.
  3. Mention features and requirements.
  4. Organise major tasks and releases.
  5. Make it understandable for the teams, and it should address the fundamental questions of need, purpose, and visibility.

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