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If you’re reading this, you likely want to learn the why, how, and when of product roadmaps. 

This blog post aims to offer a comprehensive guide covering all the key aspects of implementing, maintaining, and improving your own product roadmaps. 

We’ll cover:

  • A definition of product roadmap

  • A product roadmap’s key components

  • Types of product roadmaps

  • How to create effective product roadmaps

  • Examples of product roadmaps for different scenarios

Let’s begin. 

What is a product roadmap?

A product roadmap is a strategic plan that outlines a product’s direction, priorities, and progress over time. 

Think of it as a visual guide that helps everyone in the company understand where the product is headed and why. It's a communication tool that connects the dots between the company's goals and the product team's day-to-day work.

What’s the purpose of using a product roadmap?

Companies will want to use product roadmaps because they:

  • Speak everyone's language: They break down the product vision into digestible steps, making it easier for everyone to understand what's being built and why it matters. This clarity helps to keep everyone on the same page, from executives to developers.

  • Get everyone on the same page: Roadmaps align different teams (think engineering, marketing, sales) around a common goal. When everyone knows the bigger picture, they can make better decisions that contribute to the product's success.

  • Cut through the noise: With so many ideas and requests, it's easy to get sidetracked. Roadmaps help to prioritize the work that will have the most impact, ensuring that resources are used effectively.

  • Show businesses exactly where they’re going: Roadmaps act as a living document, illustrating the product's evolution over time. By keeping track of what's been accomplished and what's coming next, teams can stay on track and adapt when needed.

What are the key components of a product roadmap?

A product roadmap is a multi-layered plan that combines different elements to guide your product's development. Let's break down the six core components:

Vision and strategy

Your roadmap starts with your product's 'north star,' which includes its vision and strategy. The vision is the aspirational long-term goal of where you want your product to be. The strategy is the plan to get there — the key approaches you'll take to achieve that vision.

Example: A fitness app's vision could be "to empower everyone to live a healthier life." Their strategy might focus on personalized workout plans, community challenges, and nutrition tracking.

Goals and objectives 

Goals and objectives detailed in a product roadmap will break down your strategy into specific, measurable targets. Goals are broader outcomes you want to achieve, while objectives are the concrete steps you'll take to reach them.

Example: A goal might be "increase user engagement." Objectives could be "boost daily active users by 15%" or "increase average session length by 5 minutes."

Features and initiatives 

This is where a product roadmap helps you get into the nitty-gritty of what you'll build. Features are the specific functionalities or improvements you'll add to your product, while initiatives are broader themes of work that encompass multiple features.

Example: A feature might be "add a social sharing option for workouts." An initiative could be "enhance the social aspects of the app."

Timeline and milestones

The timeline plots out when you expect to release different features or complete initiatives. Milestones are key checkpoints along the way — major achievements that mark significant progress. Roadmaps act as a cheatsheet, reminding everyone how things are progressing.

Example: A milestone could be "launching the beta version of the new social features" or "reaching 100,000 active users."

Resource allocation

A roadmap isn't just about what you'll build — it's also about how you'll make it happen. A sturdy roadmap will detail how you’ll manage your resource allocation. Roadmaps should outline the budget, team members, and other resources needed for each phase of development.

Example: This could involve assigning specific developers to work on certain features, budgeting for marketing campaigns, or securing partnerships for integrations.

Metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs)

How will you know if your product is on track? Metrics and KPIs are the quantifiable measures you'll use to track progress and assess how well your product and its features are performing. A robust roadmap should include which exact metrics should be tracked and how. 

Example: Metrics could include "user acquisition rate," "churn rate," or "average rating in app stores."

Types of product roadmaps

As stated earlier in this article, product roadmaps come in all shapes and sizes. Let’s take a look at the types of product roadmaps you’ll likely encounter: 

Strategic roadmaps

Strategic roadmaps provide a high-level overview of the product's long-term vision and direction. They focus on key initiatives, goals, and milestones that align with the overall business strategy. 

Strategic roadmaps are essential for communicating the product's overall vision and direction to executives, investors, and other stakeholders.

Release roadmaps

Release roadmaps communicate the specific features and functionalities that will be released in upcoming versions or updates. They include detailed information about each release, such as its features, target audience, and launch date. 

As their name implies, release roadmaps are critical for planning and executing product releases.

Feature roadmaps

Feature roadmaps provide a detailed breakdown of the features that will be developed for a specific product or service. They include information about each feature, such as its description, user stories, and technical specifications. 

Feature roadmaps help break down complex features into manageable tasks and are essential for product managers, engineers, and designers who are responsible for developing and implementing the features.

Technology roadmaps

Technology roadmaps outline the planned evolution of the tech stack that supports a product or service. They include information about the technologies that will be used, as well as the timeline for their adoption and implementation. 

Technology roadmaps are essential for ensuring that the product's technology stack is up-to-date and meets future needs.

Steps for creating an effective product roadmap

1. Define your goals and objectives

What do you want to achieve with your product roadmap? What are your overall business goals, and how will your product roadmap help you achieve them? 

Once you have a clear understanding of your goals, you can start to identify the specific objectives that your roadmap will address.

2. Gather input from stakeholders

It's important to get input from all of the stakeholders who will be involved in the development and execution of your product roadmap. This includes your product team, your marketing team, your sales team, and your executives. 

By gathering input from different stakeholders, you can guarantee that your roadmap is aligned with the needs of the entire organization.

3. Identify key initiatives and break them down into manageable tasks

Once you have a clear understanding of your goals and objectives, you can start to identify the key initiatives that will help you achieve them. These initiatives should be large, strategic projects that will have a significant impact on your product.

Then you can start breaking these initiatives down into smaller, more manageable tasks. This will help you to track your progress and ensure that you are on track to achieve your goals.

4. Create a timeline for your roadmap

After identifying your key initiatives and tasks, you can create a timeline for your roadmap. This timeline should include the start and end dates for each task, as well as any key milestones that you need to achieve along the way.

5. Communicate your roadmap to stakeholders.

After ironing out any details in your roadmap, it is important to communicate it to all stakeholders involved in its execution. This will help to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that they are working towards the same goals.

6. Regularly review and update your roadmap.

Your product roadmap is a living document that should be regularly reviewed and updated as your plans change. This will help make sure your roadmap is always up-to-date and that it is still aligned with your end goal. 

Examples of product roadmaps

A smart home device roadmap 

This roadmap could be visualized as a timeline with four quarters (Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4). Each quarter would list the planned features and milestones. For instance:

Q1

  • Feature: Voice-activated lighting control (beta testing)

  • Milestone: Beta testing of voice control completed

Q2

  • Feature: Smart thermostat integration

  • Milestone: Launch smart thermostat compatibility

Q3

  • Feature: Security camera upgrades (enhanced night vision, facial recognition)

  • Milestone: Rollout enhanced camera security

Q4

  • Feature: Smart speaker integration

  • Milestone: Launch smart speaker compatibility

The roadmap could also include a color-coding system to indicate the status of each feature or milestone (e.g., green for completed, yellow for in progress, red for delayed).

A mobile app roadmap 

This roadmap might be presented as a Kanban board, with columns representing different release versions. Each version would list the planned features and platform updates. For example:

  • Version 2.0 (iOS and Android):some text

    • Features: New user interface design, enhanced social sharing

  • Version 2.1 (iOS only):some text

    • Features: Improved performance, iOS widget support

  • Version 2.2 (both platforms):some text

    • Features: Android Wear OS integration

An e-commerce platform roadmap

This roadmap could be presented as a Gantt chart, with bars representing different initiatives and their timelines. The roadmap could be divided into different sections, such as "Product," "Marketing," and "Customer service." For example:

Product

  • New payment gateway integration: April — June

  • Personalized product recommendations: July — September

  • Streamlined checkout process: October — December

Marketing

  • Summer sale promotion: June — August

  • Holiday gift guide launch: November — December

Customer service

  • 24/7 live chat support: Ongoing

  • New customer onboarding program: January — March

Next steps

Now you should have a better grasp of what a product roadmap is and why having one is so important. That, however, isn’t where the journey ends.

Remember how we mentioned metrics and KPIs earlier? We said that keeping track of them is essential if you want your product to be successful. 

The real power behind these metrics is you can use them to run experiments. These experiments can then shed some light on areas of your product map that need improvement and help in making it as effective as possible. 

That's where Eppo comes into the frame. 

Eppo is an experimentation and feature management platform that helps organizations experiment confidently with data they can trust. From advanced A/B testing to sophisticated feature flagging, Eppo puts you in control of how experiments are carried out. 

Here’s how Eppo can help improve your product roadmap: 

  • Truly accurate experiment results: Eppo pulls data directly from your data warehouse. Eppo is warehouse-native. This gives you extra confidence when basing your product roadmap decisions on experiments run with Eppo. 

  • Shifting the focus to impact: Eppo helps you link roadmap choices to tangible business outcomes, like increased revenue or better user retention. This proves the value of your roadmap and lets you adapt it based on real-world results.

  • Building a culture of experimentation: Eppo's intuitive platform and focus on sound statistics encourage those involved in the roadmap to embrace a data-driven mindset. This leads to better teamwork and smarter decisions about your roadmap's direction.

Book a demo and explore Eppo.

Learn the basics of product roadmap planning and creation. Our full guide covers definitions, examples, and an implementation guide for your own product roadmap creation.

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