4 min

Product roadmap: what it is, and why you need it

Eugenia Evtushenko
Eugenia Evtushenko
October 6, 2020
Product roadmap: what it is, and why you need it

“If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far” – go with a roadmap, an unsung hero in the product arena. But who exactly and why needs to have a product roadmap on the spot? Let's see.

What a product roadmap is

A product roadmap is a visual representation of your product strategy aimed at showing your team members, customers, investors, stakeholders the strategic and practical sides of what you’re offering. A product roadmap provides you with a convenient way to track key deliverables & product evolution over time.

Product roadmaps also provides your users with the transparency of your team’s intentions relating to the product development. They can see the planned steps, track the upcoming improvements, and determine how they correlate with their expectations. They can also suggest any updates on their own.

The main components of an adequate product roadmap are:

  • Upcoming features with thorough descriptions (technical nitty gritty).
  • A timeline with the indication of the feature release dates. 
  • Clearly articulated business objectives.
  • Success criteria.
  • Time allocation.
  • Iterations.
  • Overall vision covering all areas to align your key milestones with teams’ activities.

Why and who needs a product roadmap

If you have a product roadmap, you can map out and prioritize tasks more effectively, and monitor their implementation progress. It helps you regularly remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing, which is especially essential for those working in startups in an agile environment.

– A company’s top management representatives need a product roadmap to envision a product’s direction, and stay up to date with such milestones as major feature releases, launch dates, etc.

– A marketing team needs a product roadmap to timely provide the relevant pieces of content, develop and conduct marketing campaigns, prepare activities to promote the launch of the new features.

Software engineers, in their turn, need a product roadmap to evaluate their capacity for feature requests against the planned work.

With the aligned teams’ efforts, you can dramatically increase their efficiency, productivity, and reduce time-to-market.

So, where do I start?

For sure, you can choose a harder way – dig up tons of articles on how to build a flexible product roadmap, and, after the weeks of work, finally get the needed result. However, there's a much more pleasant and less time-consuming option: do not build anything from scratch – use one of the ready-made product roadmap templates offered for free by various vendors. The core benefit of using a template is that you have plenty of work already done, so you can just customize the template you choose.

If the second option seems more attractive for you, check the list of the top 7 product roadmap templates we prepared to choose a template that meets your needs. Do not hesitate to contact our team if you have any concerns.

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