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How to Build a Sustainable Product Development Roadmap
Here are 4 steps to making sure your product roadmap will weather the storms:
- Understanding the roadmap’s place in the product scheme. The entire product management process is about taking an initially abstract idea and then step by step, breaking it down into actionable items. Vision is segmented into stories, which are then fitted to personas. Strategy becomes themes and epics which are transformed into tasks and assignments, like designing, writing, and dev. The roadmap is a critical stepping stone in the process of realizing your vision.
- Think of the product roadmap as a lifeline of communication. The roadmap’s foremost purpose is to reflect the product’s goals and strategy. As such, it is also a guiding beacon for the team, to always work with the product’s defined strategy. This is why many product companies often publish parts of their roadmap – it is a simple tactic to fine-tune your target audience and ensure users and product are on the same page.
- Vision-building through visualization. The reason current day roadmaps are made visual is that they need to be grasped intuitively by anyone looking at them. A roadmap’s intelligibility is the key to getting everyone – team and stakeholders – on board and moving forward.
- Consolidating the big picture with the items. It’s important to use the product roadmap as a reflective tool, rather than an absolute directive. To that end, roadmaps are flexible and should be able to reflect back the process and to contain all the complexities of needs vs. challenges.
Visual Product Roadmaps in Agile Management
Agile product roadmap templates can take many forms, but basically, an agile product roadmap consists of a multilayer, chart association, which is based on the time factor, allowing to link technology development to market trends and driving forces. It’s true that visual roadmap examples can also be manually designed as a PowerPoint or Visio diagram, but visual roadmapping usually refers to an existing tool with existing designed templates, where you only need to enter the data rather than wrestle with PPT SmartArt, ClipArt and other forms of art. The beauty of working with an existing (usually web-based) tool, is that they often come with a variety of views for displaying your roadmaps, according to need and convenience.