How to Create a Product Roadmap

by Contributor; Updated September 26, 2017
Create a Product Roadmap

How to Create a Product Roadmap. If you don't know where you are going, it's impossible to determine the best way to get there. A product roadmap is an essential tool for product planning and development. Product roadmaps outline when products are scheduled for release and include an overview of their primary and secondary features.

Step 1

Determine what type of product roadmap is required. Product roadmaps are either for internal or external use. Internal roadmaps are far more detailed than external roadmaps and often contain proprietary language and information.

Step 2

Research systems that will factor into creating the roadmap. When you release your products will be determined by analysis of market trends and shifts, competitive behavior and technology forecasts.

Step 3

Determine market requirements and prioritize features to address those requirements. The Marketing Requirements Document (MRD) will provide this information in one location.

Step 4

Create a time frame to bring the product to market that will work for the other departments, including engineering, marketing and sales. Your time frame should also capitalize on market conditions.

Step 5

Create the product roadmap document. This typically features a graphic representation of the time frame, as well as relevant explanations.

Step 6

Submit the roadmap to team managers for approval. You may need to make adjustments to the plan to suit the capacity of different departments.

Step 7

Finalize the roadmap and distribute it to all relevant parties. Once the roadmap is completed, you should avoid making major changes to it. A product roadmap is an essential blueprint for your company that should remain consistent.

Tips

  • Most product management software includes features to help you create a product roadmap. The software makes these documents much easier to create, as much of the information you need is routinely inputted into the program. Keep your team in the loop when you create your product roadmap. All managers should be briefed on the process regularly so that they can provide input where needed and feel as though they are a part of the system. If you create an internal product roadmap first, it will be easier to create an external product roadmap later. Use company-specific language to refer to products in the internal product roadmap. Writing in code will help prevent your plans from leaking out should the roadmap fall into the wrong hands.

Warnings

  • Be careful not to make your product roadmap too rigid or too vague. Short-term goals should be specific, but not set in stone, and long-term goals should be broad, but not indistinct.