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Want the direction and progress of your product development to be clearly communicated to all involved? Get everything aligned and documented with a product roadmap.
Product roadmaps are strategic project plans that include details of the goals and objectives for the development process over a predetermined time frame. One of the main functions of the roadmap is to align all teams and stakeholders involved with the product on the direction and progress of its development.
By using a roadmap, efforts can be prioritised, expectations managed, potential issues identified and teams kept focused on delivering value to customers, while also meeting business goals.
In this article we’ll dive in and check out:
Amongst other elements, a product roadmap typically includes a timeline, product features and goals.
Timelines capture the important milestones and overall schedule of your entire product development process. Having a timeline is critical and helps all teams plan and prioritise to keep the processes on track.
Key functionality or capabilities that the product will offer are covered in product features, as is the value proposition and a clear overview of what the product will actually offer or do.
Objectives of the business that are encapsulated within the product goals need to be crystal clear. These could include any key performance indicators, such as revenue targets.
There are several product roadmap types. We’ve rounded up some of the most commonly used to get you started:
A more traditional approach to product development, the waterfall roadmap involves a process of ideation, planning, design, development, testing and implementation. The timeline is often fixed and the features predefined.
Unlike the waterfall approach, agile roadmaps involve frequent product releases and ongoing feedback from customers. The focus here is quick delivery of value and adaptation to ever-changing market conditions.
Image source. Agile Product Roadmap
New products or new product features are guided by this approach. Milestones, tasks and resources that are needed for a successful launch are all captured within the roadmap.
Short term goals are in the spotlight for sprint plan roadmaps. Usually covering a shorter period, they outline the key tasks that the team will be working on in that time frame.
Based on the Kanban methodology, the core of this method is improving efficiency and reducing waste in the product development process.
As discussed, the type of roadmap you select will have its own nuances, but the following steps are common to most map types:
The first step is to define your product purpose and this can be done by clarifying the vision and strategy. Having a clear understanding of the target audience’s needs and how your product will address and hopefully solve these needs is a vital starting point.
Other teams such as development, marketing and customer support are all vital collaborations to nurture. You will be more likely to create a realistic and achievable road map by being aligned with relevant teams.
It’s vital to identify and clarify the most important features that will help deliver the most value to customers and achieve business goals.
A visual representation of the product roadmap, a template should include key details such as the timeline, product features and goals.
Product roadmaps are by no means a ‘set and forget’ document. Update your roadmap regularly based on feedback from customers, market shifts and team progress.
Whether you’re looking to upskill or venturing into a new career with Product Management, quality industry-focused training is highly recommended to ensure you’re equipped with the right skills and mindset.
At Academy Xi, our Product Management courses are built with experts from Accenture, MYOB, PwC and Deloitte, offering you only the latest frameworks and techniques to ensure you’re able to hit the ground running in your first Product Management role.
For those upskilling, Product Management: Elevate will see you gaining immediately applicable Product Management skills and give your professional development a serious boost.
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If you have any questions, our experienced team is here to discuss your training options. Speak to a course advisor today and take the first steps in your Product Management journey.