A great asset for any SaaS company is a product roadmap. They provide the only source of information for all involved in product planning.
Product roadmaps can help you:
- Organise the development work within your organization
- Please get to know other departments so you can get their perspectives on product plans
- Keep customers and stakeholders informed
However, they are only useful if you follow a few best practices for product roadmaps.
Today we will discuss the five best practices in effective and informative roadmapping. These tips apply to both public and internal roadmaps. Although it is easiest to use the product roadmap editor, there are many other ways to create a roadmap.
If done properly, product roadmapping can be extremely valuable. Don’t let your hard-earned work in creating a roadmap go to waste.
Here are 5 best practices for product roadmaps
1. KEEP YOUR ROADMAP UPGRADED
Product roadmaps, like any other widely used source of information, are only useful if they are kept up to date.
Misinformation and disorganization can lead to internal misinformation. This will lead to confusion in the product team and other departments.
Externally, an an-out-of-date roadmap is useless to stakeholders–investors, customers, and so on.
They won’t be able to get any useful information about the future. The worst-case scenario is that they will get an incorrect idea of what’s happening. This can lead to a lot of anger and disappointment.
Your company’s stage and the product you are at will determine how often your roadmap should be updated.
Two main methods to ensure your roadmap stays current in the initial stages of development are:
The product team should regularly review the roadmap even if they are not adding or changing anything.
It doesn’t matter if you do it weekly, monthly, or whatever frequency you choose. You’re fine as long as you review it often to ensure everything is in its right place.
Add things to the roadmap
Make sure that all actions taken in meetings and documents are added immediately. Any hard conclusions should be second nature.
It is easy to forget things. Every item missed can cause confusion if it is being looked at by other departments and customers.
It will be easier to avoid confusion and ensure that things don’t slip through the cracks by making it a regular, clear practice to update the roadmap regularly.
2. DO NOT OVERPROMISE YOUR ROADMAP
It’s fun to put things in a plan.
It’s almost a pride for developers and product managers. Everyone will be thrilled to see your added items to the roadmap.
We’ve already discussed overpromising. A product roadmap can only be useful if it is realistic, just like keeping it up-to-date. Consider the scope of everything you include in your roadmap and consider whether or not it is feasible. Don’t include it in your roadmap if it isn’t.
Keep in mind that customers and colleagues will be thrilled to see the plans you have made. They won’t be as excited if things don’t happen on time.
If you continue to disappoint them, people will lose faith in you. This is not what you want.
It is always better to overpromise than to underdeliver.
3. MAKE SURE THAT YOU HAVE A PLACE FOR FEEDBACK
Your product roadmap should be ideally designed based on customer feedback, requests, and internal feedback from departments.
Once the roadmap is complete, it’s important not to close all feedback channels. It is normal to want to “close” your roadmap and lock it away after it has been constructed.
Software roadmaps, in particular, are not set in stone. Based on new information or requests, plans can change. Different items end up being prioritized.
Additionally, roadmaps are not usually very detailed. People who are not directly involved in product planning may have additional questions or input. As a result, you might have to update your roadmap.
It’s crucial to have a way for people to provide feedback and ask questions about your roadmap at any time.
This means both internally and publically.
- Facilitating a forum for product planning discussions
- Establishing a contact method to reach the person responsible for the information on the roadmap
- Clarify how to reach the entire company regarding their roadmap, if necessary
It’s always a good idea to get additional feedback and input. This will make your roadmap more flexible and adaptable to changes beyond your product.
4. MAKE OWNERSHIP CLEAR
It is crucial to clearly state who is responsible for each item, especially when creating internal product roadmaps.
Everyone will know who to contact if there is an issue or question. If this happens, the general manager of the product will be overwhelmed with questions and problems that they will have to reassign.
Clear and visible ownership in the roadmap will also make people more aware of their work and encourage them to take pride in it.
5. KEEP THE FORMAT CONSISTENT
It doesn’t really matter if you keep your product roadmap Saasfe or Trello. We recommend Saasfe, which includes a feedback and idea collection tool. Trello is a great roadpmap tool, but it was not designed to be a roadmapping tool.
It is important to have a discussion about the format and entries of your roadmap. Everybody who is allowed to modify the roadmap should agree to a common “way.”
This is simply a consistency issue. This can lead to a lot of confusion if your entries are not consistent in format.
Consistency in your entries does not necessarily mean adding more things.
It all depends on the way your teams work. There can be an issue with either too much or not enough information.
- Information gaps and communication problems can be caused by a lack of information.
- Excessive information can lead to confusion and noise.
No matter what format you choose for adding items to the roadmap, it should look identical and contain the same amount of information.
Your product roadmap should be a constant source of thought and effort.
Product roadmaps are very useful, whether they’re used internally or externally.
They can be used to organize work between departments within your company and let stakeholders know what’s next.
Product roadmapping is the link that connects user feedback with execution. Your roadmap will help you start conversations about your product’s future and provide context for what you are doing.
Your product roadmap should be kept current, up-to-date, and easily accessible. This will streamline your product planning process and save you time.