Product Road Mapping
I recently did a presentation on roadmaps at our monthly product manager’s forum and highlighted the following regarding product road maps:
A Roadmap is not:
1) A random list of features handed down to the product manager to document.
2) A roadmap is not a static document that stays at version 1.0 all year.
3) A secret hid away on SharePoint or some other document management system.
A road map is according to Marty Cagan of SVPG (product strategy in an agile world):
“A product roadmap is what describes your current plan of how you will get from where you are today, to the vision described in your product strategy.” Marty goes on , in the same article, and states that “The product strategy analyzes the market opportunity and the technology and describes a vision of what the product can be.” Therefore “The product roadmap describes the sequence of product releases to make the product strategy a reality” (the article goes on to say). The product strategy feeds into and delivers on the company’s business strategy.
Taking the above into account means that product managers need to have a firm understanding of the over all strategy of the businesses that they work in. The involvement in the business strategy will vary depending upon the company that you work for, but overall every product manager needs to have a clear understanding of the businesses they are operating in.
How to Create a Product Roadmap
• Understand the business strategy.
• Collaborate with commercial owners, sales, marketing, engineering and business development on developing product strategies to fulfil the business strategy.
• Research and come up with ideas and present to stakeholders and arrange a brain storming sessions.
• Collate the ideas and work up a strategic roadmap.
• Show the roadmap around and get buy-in from budget holders.
Using the roadmap as a communication tool.
It is absolutely necessary that product managers constantly communicate – the roadmap can be used as a good communication tool to commnunicate to:
– Developers, Test Analyst and the wider technical team.
– Your line manager and heads of departments
– Managing Directors and Chief Executives
Communicating the product roadmap demonstrates that the product has a clear vision of where it is planning to go and therefore goes a long way to building confidence at all levels.
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