What Is Product Roadmap

The product roadmap is a strategic communication tool used to outline the vision and evolution of your product or solution in a timeline. Here, we will tell you everything you want to know about product roadmaps. Learn what is a product roadmap, its uses, types, and how to create it. Also, check out our product roadmap templates.

1. What Is Product Roadmap?

A product roadmap is an excellent tool used by product managers to plan the direction, progress, important steps, and the future vision of a product over time. Product development is not a simple and small procedure. It takes a lot of time and precise planning for an efficient product development process. Product managers use the product roadmap tool to develop flexible plans and point out priorities based on an organization's long and short-term goals to communicate the vision of a product and how to achieve it.

The product roadmap is a detailed document that visually represents crystal-clear guidelines to identify the key steps in the product development process and a strategy for executing that plan. The document includes the purpose and a clear direction of the product. Making a product roadmap is a team effort that includes the ideas from each member, but the ones who finalize and implement the roadmap are the team managers. Suppose you want to know how to build a product roadmap. Here are some key elements to make a perfect roadmap.

What is a Product Roadmap

Click on the image to edit. Source: EdrawMax Online

Goals: Goals are the objectives that are essential to turn the product vision into reality. They define the accomplishments of a product over time.

Initiatives: Initiatives are the priorities or high-level efforts listed in the product roadmap that the team must complete to reach the product goals.

Releases: A release is the launch of a new product or service by an organization with multiple new features to provide value to the customers.

Epics: Epic is the release of a large product or service broken down into smaller features because it is impossible to launch it in a single release.

Features: Features are detailed information about the functionality of a new product. It represents the qualities of the newly launched product to increase value to customers.

Minimal Viable Product: A minimal viable product is typically an early release of a product with enough features for customers to use and give proper feedback. Still, it is not the finalized version of the product.

Timeline: The timeline is the dates included in the product roadmap so that product managers can keep track of time about when to introduce new products or updates.


2. What Is a Roadmap in Agile?

An agile product roadmap is a strategic document that illustrates a flexible plan to reach the product goals. It contains details about your product's release, initiatives, and goals. Product managers use the agile roadmap to capture all the details about the cross-functional work required and priorities to build an efficient and popular product. You can create an agile product roadmap for long-term product plans, or you can create one to represent the high-level initiatives of your early product.


3. Benefits of Product Roadmap

Provide a better understanding of the visions and objectives of any product to the developers with a product roadmap. A roadmap is an excellent tool that makes it easier for the development team to understand the broad picture in product development, help them realize the tasks that take priority, and make effective and fast decisions.

Align the product strategy and make it more attractive with product roadmaps. It is the best tool to provide visibility about everything that is happening or will happen in the product development over time to the stakeholders. It makes them believe that you have a firm grasp on the project and each of your team members is creative.

Improve the communication between developers, product managers, marketers, and the rest stakeholders involved in the product plan with a product roadmap. Developing an effective and attractive product depends on the communication and group effort of everyone. Roadmaps provide a simple channel for communication among team members from various departments.

Provide a comprehensive business strategy for product development using product roadmaps. The purpose of a roadmap is to document each step or detail that is part of the product plan and make it overarching and simple simultaneously. It helps communicate the truth of product development to everyone involved and aligns stakeholders.


4. Roadmap Types

Internal Roadmap for the Development Team

These roadmaps mainly include milestones, customer values, and the target release date of the product. The format of these roadmaps depends on how the development team likes to work and what document type is the easiest for them to understand. Team managers make these roadmaps in many ways by doing brainstorming sessions with the development team.

Internal Roadmap for Executives

The purpose of these roadmaps is to represent the high-level priorities and product goals based on a specific timeline. Instead of having in-depth details about the development process, these roadmaps emphasize the product goals in their target time limit. Most of these roadmaps document the product goals on a monthly or by quarter time organization.

Internal Roadmap for Sales

We use these roadmaps to support product sales and focus on the prioritized value to the customer by including the features and benefits they want in the new product or update. These roadmaps do not contain many details about other product plans because their only focus is how to improve the sales of the product.

External Roadmap

External roadmaps are similar to brochures used to promote the new features of the upcoming product or update to make customers excited. These roadmaps use an attractive design with detailed images and highlighted features of the new product. These are also easy to understand for the customer because the features are typically represented with supporting images.

External Roadmap for Customers and Prospects

These roadmaps visually represent the details of your customer service plan and its prospects regarding how it will evolve. The key feature of these roadmaps is that they are not intended for the cross-functional team but for potential customers who will buy the product when it comes to the market. These are specific risks, requirements, and benefits of using these roadmaps.


5. Product Roadmap Use Cases

Development: The product roadmap is a commonly used planning tool for the product development process. Engineers use it to understand better the high-level initiatives, features, and releases of the product. Understanding the specifics of the product, what, when, and why the product is required as it helps them use expertise to generate the development work needed to achieve all of that.

Marketing: You can use a product roadmap to visualize the features and goals of your product to the marketing team to help them understand the benefits it will bring to the customers. It helps them generate effective marketing plans even before the product is completely developed. It also explains the impact of the new features on customers, which helps the sales team deliver a perfect message to capture more customers.

Leadership: The leadership or the board of any organization mainly focuses on the features and vision of the product to understand how the product represents the company vision and aligns with high-level metrics of the business. We use the product roadmap to represent a concise document to the leadership visually.


6. How to Create a Product Roadmap

Building a product roadmap is a team effort where all stakeholders brainstorm ideas and provide their expertise on the matter. The product managers then filter those ideas and create a list of the final ideas. Those ideas go together in the same document to create a product roadmap. Here are the five main steps to build an efficient product roadmap.

  • STEP 1: Define the product goals and strategy with high-level initiatives as the first step of building a product roadmap. Explain the purpose of your product with a strong product vision.
  • STEP 2: The next step is to review user stories and organize ideas from the stakeholders to create a product that completes the vision and the user needs. Use high-level matrices to reflect strategies and keep your roadmap clean.
  • STEP 3: After managing ideas, the next step is to determine the features and requirements of your product. You can use the initiatives and goals of your product to define the new and specific features of your product.
  • STEP 4: Include as many details as the product roadmap demands to represent the truth to every member and stakeholder and divide the tasks and features into epics to split the work and create an efficient product.
  • STEP 5: The last step of making a product roadmap after writing down everything you want to include in it is to create a visual representation using templates or making diagrams. After you make your diagram, review it with your colleagues to solve any problem.

Watch this video to learn more. If the video doesn't play, please visit it at YouTube.

After understanding the procedure to build a product roadmap, get started with free templates and drawing software to make a graphical representation. EdrawMax Online is the best product roadmap maker that gives you free templates and many unique diagramming tools. It makes the process easier and helps save time and effort with its easy-to-use interface. Here are the steps to create your diagram on EdrawMax Online.

  • STEP 1: Log in to EdrawMax Online or create a new account.
  • STEP 2: You can make your diagram using a template or open a blank canvas to draw it from scratch. Go to new, and click on the project management category. Select roadmap and click on the + button to get a new canvas, or select a template to edit it right away.
  • STEP 3: The next step is to customize your product roadmap. Go to the symbols library and insert icons and symbols with a simple drag and drop. Add connecters to visualize the relationship between components.
  • STEP 4: After your diagram is complete, the next step is to download it. EdrawMax Online supports various document formats, so you can export in any format you want. You can also share and print it.


7. Free Product Roadmap Templates

Building a product roadmap is a group task and representing it correctly is important for the strategic communication between departments. You can use our free professional templates to create your product roadmap. Check out these templates and pick the one you think is suitable for your project.

Example 1: Product Roadmap Slide

This product roadmap slide template represents a strategic roadmap with four production steps. The first steps include defining the strategy and its purpose. The second step is for managing ideas, and the third step defines the product's features. The format of this template is simple and easy to understand, and there is enough space to add as much details as you want.

Product Roadmap Slide


Example 2: Product Development Roadmap

The product development roadmap in this template visually represents a sample product roadmap of the GEM product line spread over the span of nine months. It enlists the epics of the roadmap and separates each activity or process using different colors. Product managers include many things in the product roadmap, such as feature requests, customer ideas, and internal input.

Product Development Roadmap


Example 3: Visual Product Roadmap

The visual product roadmap in this template illustrates the objectives, goals, and initiatives of a product plan in a roadmap infographic. The roadmap steps are on the left side, and the details are on the right side of the template. These templates are mainly used to build external roadmaps for customers because there are attractive and easy to understand for everyone.

Visual Product Roadmap


8. FAQ About Product Roadmap

1.What should a product roadmap include?

Building a product roadmap is complex, and it must include seven main elements. You need to add product goals in the roadmap along with initiatives, releases, and epics. It must contain the features and requirements of the product, and you must also add the minimal viable product and provide a timeline.

2.Who is responsible for the product roadmap?

Making a product roadmap is a task for members of different teams in an organization who brainstorm ideas and combine them to create a strategic product plan. Although it is a team effort, the one who filters and selects the ideas is the product manager, who also holds the highest responsibility for the product roadmap.

3.What is the purpose of a roadmap?

There are four main reasons for building a roadmap in any organization. It provides clarity and truth to all stakeholders by defining the purpose, vision, and goals of the product. It links the initiatives to align the strategic steps. It improves coordination between team members from different departments and helps with strategic communication.


9. Key Takeaways

The product roadmap is a strategic summary of your product's vision, goals, and features. It is a simple and concise guide for team members to execute the strategy and get stakeholders in alignment. Product managers use it to communicate with the team members and external stakeholders. EdrawMax Online is the best product roadmap maker with free editable templates and a symbol library to make your diagram. It also supports various document formats. Go to EdrawMax Online and get started right away. You can easily create a spider map on EdrawMax Online. It gives you free professional templates and a symbol library to make your diagram. It also comes with unique customization tools and supports various document formats. Find more product roadmap examples.

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