Product Roadmaps: an Introduction

Product roadmaps are living, visual documents that convey the strategic direction of a product.

Product roadmaps are living, visual documents that convey the strategic direction of a product.

Product roadmaps are living, visual documents that convey the strategic direction of a product. These high-level summaries bring all the moving pieces involved with product management and product development together. They convey both aspirations (through the product vision) and plans (through initiatives) while also connecting product strategy to company strategy. When done effectively, product roadmaps communicate the “why” behind what you’re building.

Roadmap Examples ➜

However, that’s not the only objective of a roadmap. Effective product roadmaps help product management professionals and their teams achieve several things:

  • Describe the product vision and strategy
  • Provide a guiding document for executing the strategy
  • Get internal stakeholders in alignment
  • Facilitate discussion of options and scenario planning
  • Communicate progress and status of product development initiatives
  • Help communicate your strategy to external stakeholders (including customers)

Over the course of the next few chapters, we’ll walk you through the roadmapping journey and equip you with everything you need to roadmap effectively. But before that…

Roadmaps Aren’t Only for Product Managers.

It’s worth noting before we continue that product management professionals are not the only people who can benefit from a visual roadmap.

A few of the many examples out there include:

  • IT teams can use roadmaps to plan and track architecture projects, software implementation, and various other projects.
    See an IT Project Roadmap ➜
  • Marketing teams may use roadmaps for planning everything from their marketing strategy to their content calendars.
    See a Marketing Plan Roadmap ➜
  • Businesses and business operations teams can use roadmaps to plan scaling and other organization-wide objectives.
    See a Business Roadmap ➜
  • DevOps may use roadmaps to better connect the various pieces of an org they are responsible for bringing together.
    See a DevOps Roadmap ➜
  • Engineering teams may use roadmaps to plan sprints.
    See an Agile Sprint Planning Roadmap ➜

The possibilities are endless. While this guide is written primarily for product management professionals, people in other roles interested in learning about roadmapping may also be able to learn from the advice and insight we’ve provided here.