Creating a product roadmap – Part 2
Welcome to part 2 of our series of posts on creating a product roadmap. After going through the first steps we’ve listed, you should probably already have figured out what are the new features you’re considering adding to your product roadmap, divided them into smaller batches for more comprehensive and short releases, and prioritized and reordered them according to the way – or ways – that best suit your business.
The last step we’ve approached in Part 1 was estimating resources, on which you were supposed to confront your expectations with more realistic and down-to-earth resource estimations. So, that leaves us with improvements/features you’d like to add, already prioritized, and estimated how your releases will fit on your timeline. So, what’s next?
Product Roadmap: Getting down to the specifics
A product roadmap is, roughly, a guide to your product’s evolution or, more specifically, how you expect it to develop and grow in the long term. Creating your product roadmap, therefore, gives you a reference to get back to every time you need to determine what will come next in the process of developing your product.
We’ve ended up part 1 with a general timeline that isn’t exactly a robust document to get you to actually start development. What you need to do to “upgrade” your future plans is simple: just add more details to it.
You’ll analyze each of the features you broke down into smaller parts in the first part of this post and specify what is it you’ll actually need to achieve them. It’s simple and you do it all the time when managing projects so it’s quite simple to relate to your product: you’ll draft a simple budget of all the resources you’ll need (mostly time and money) that’ll help you determine when you should start working on each new step.
This step of the road-mapping process is all about the details, such as: what tests you’ll need to run – and when you’ll need to run them – to make sure that you’re putting your efforts into something that’ll actually improve your product (other than splurging on precious resources for no apparent reason). The more details you add, the most specific and useful creating a product roadmap will prove itself down the road.
Managing your product roadmap:
With all this information and details in your hand, it’s more than natural that you’re already thinking about adding all of the information you’ve gathered to the tool you use for managing your projects. Well, that’s not exactly the most practical way to proceed.
Some awesome project management tools are bound to get you excited but, even those that have the capability of helping you manage work that’s months or even years in the future, won’t offer you the flexibility you’ll need to easily adjust details on the go.
We’re not saying you shouldn’t use a workflow management tool (such as Pipefy) to help you manage your product roadmap, no sir, you may and should use it (here at Pipefy, we’ve even got a Product Roadmap template to be used just for that). What we’re saying is that you shouldn’t add all the information to your roadmap at once. The reason for that is simple: it’ll get you unnecessarily overwhelmed.
Constantly looking at your product roadmap and all the work you have planned for months -or even years- in the future will get your head spinning while trying to juggle current projects that demand your focus with future releases you haven’t even started working on.
Your product roadmap must be built in a document that will allow you to easily refer back to – and make adjustments – whenever you need to, while at the same time not interfering with your business’s day-to-day operations. Then, whenever you’re ready to work on a specific part of it, you’ll add it to your project management workflow tool.
Pipefy offers you a great way to do this: Having different pipes for managing your roadmap and your day-to-day activities, you’re able to create connected cards from one to another whenever you’re ready to work on a piece – let’s say you have all your future plans on your “Product Roadmap” Pipe: whenever they reach the “queued” phase of this Pipe (where they’re waiting to be tested) you’ll then create a connected card on your “Software Development” pipe to get it in line to be tested and managed along with your day-to-day requirements.
All about the flexibility:
I’m assuming you’re not capable of seeing into the future and, therefore, predicting every twist and turn the future reserves for your business. What you can do, however, is build flexibility when creating a product roadmap in a way you’ll be able to consider the possibilities in both the short and long-term future and find improvement opportunities that’ll help you easily adjust to them.
Some steps of your roadmap will have dependencies on other steps, some won’t. Specifying the underlying dependencies when creating a product roadmap is essential to ensure you’ll be able to keep moving forward even when something else got stalled on your process. Building flexibility into your roadmap also ensures you’ll be able to change and reorder your plans whenever the circumstances call for it.
In Part 3 of this series, you can read the conclusion on how to lead your road-mapping process.
Free Product Roadmap Template!
Try Pipefy! We help companies keep organized and more productive by running their processes and day-by-day routines on an easy and intuitive tool, making them leave in the past inefficient manual forms, spreadsheets, and e-mail threads.
Our product roadmap template was developed to help you learn how to prioritize your features by following the best practices of product management – from defining the type of improvement to the advanced measurement of impact on your goals.