Effective Product Roadmap is an important document. It describes the product vision and strategy for delivering realization of that vision to market. Product Roadmap helps align the team around what matters most, makes sure that everyone is working together towards a common goal rather than working in isolation.
There are many different views on effective Product Strategy, but I liked this post because it focuses on Product Roadmap specifically and offers simple tips on how to create an effective roadmap as well as provides links to more resources. Hope you’ll enjoy it as well.
5 Tips On How To Create An Effective Product Roadmap:
In my experience, creating a good road map is one of those things where being mediocre or even just bad gets you into trouble more often than being great helps. Whether it’s a startup, chaotic environment or big company, chances are you’ll have to present and defend your product roadmap at some point.
The exercise doesn’t need to be fun – but it does need to happen
It doesn’t matter if the rest of your business is using Agile and delivering software every two weeks – if you don’t plan ahead one release, you will not ship anything. Period. I’ve seen this over and over again, so let me repeat.
If you don’t do any kind of planning ahead, nothing will ever ship! So whether that means creating a dedicated road map workshop or just thinking about what needs to be worked on next week – it’s important. Often the first reaction to the need for a roadmap is that it’s just extra work, but I think you should view it as an investment. It’s not fun, but by investing in creating the best possible product road map you are setting your company up for success.
Know your market – know your customer
So maybe this is obvious, but I’m going to say it anyway. You have to understand what motivates people to buy your product before you write down any features or changes on a public document where anyone can see them!
If the sales team knows who the top accounts are and which prospects are most likely to sign multi-million dollar contracts with us then they probably don’t feel like sharing that information because they’re not stupid. You need to tie your product strategy into what features are most likely to drive adoption and revenue with the types of customers that you’re targeting.
Just don’t fall in love with your own ideas. I’m guilty of this, which is probably why I hate spending time writing down feature requests or roadmap items because it feels like a waste of time if you know that they may not ever end up in the product.
But even if an idea seems really great, sometimes it’s just not going to go anywhere for whatever reason (budget constraints, market conditions etc.), so at least your sales team knows ahead of time and can be prepared when prospects ask questions about upcoming features in the next release cycle.
Know how to use your CRM effectively
I have a confession to make. I don’t know how to use my own CRM. For whatever reason, I’ve never been able to get into the habit of using sales software that much, even if it’s just extracting reports during weekly sales meetings or creating new leads from emails.
Every time I try to do this though, it takes me hours and by the end of the day I usually end up with frustration and wish that I was coding instead. With that said, knowing how your CRMs work will help you better understand their functionality and potential ways for improving them.
Be open about what you like and don’t like in products and software.
The Glitch Collective: Although you may not want to be in sales, Glitch will reward your hard work with a chance to pick amazing people for an epic hackathon weekend. Plus we’ve got API sponsors who can help you level up on API skills!
If you’re the type of person who’s always using technology and trying out new products and software, think about how you could create a monthly newsletter sharing whatever technical discoveries and insights that come your way.
This way it is more than just a one-way broadcast of information, it becomes a dialogue between the reader and author which might lead to some cool opportunities down the road.
If you’re really interested in building up your API skills, consider signing up for a Hackathon! The latest Glitch “Hack the Unconference” was a ton of fun and brought together some amazing people.
If you can’t make it to one of those, maybe look around your city or town’s GitHub organizations for something going on near you. One thing that surprised me is how much time I have after work where I can actually sit down and crank out some code.