What is the Process of Building a Roadmap of a Product?
The primary purpose of the Agile workflow methodology is to get a feature out and validate it as quickly as possible. Integrating roadmap creation into the agile environment seems to involve a conflict. Therefore, building a strategic plan and roadmap is a necessary step; after all, it is possible to run very fast, but you might get “stuck in the wall”.
The strategic plan defines the vision of the product and the central business and technological goal, and as a result, the roadmap determines what the main actions that we need to take to implement the strategic plan are.
A roadmap is not only a goal statement on a page, but it also has an internal commitment and an external commitment to various teams that synchronize and operate according to it. For example, the development team, the product team, salespeople, and even customers who are waiting for certain features — all of them are using the written roadmap.
TLDR- The roadmap construction process includes:
1. collecting product requirements
2. setting goals with stakeholders
3. conforming product requirements referring to the high-level goals
4. performing scale per requirement (Small/ Medium/ Large)
5. prioritizing all requirements
6. creating an offer by the product manager
7. making discussion decisions and getting a roadmap approval
Step one -gathering requirements. At this stage, the product manager is gathering ideas, needs, and requests from various parties. It is recommended to share information with marketing, support, sales, product, and development teams as much as you can. Ask yourself “How do I see the product?” “What do I think should be done?”
Step two -defining the company’s goals for the coming year — “Where we are going?” For example, getting more customers? doing something innovative? stabilizing the systems? Defining the company’s goals is a group process where the company needs to prioritize what is essential to achieve. The management will set the vision, and the product manager with the development team will define the implementation stages.
Step three -performing analysis along with the development team to evaluate the development of the features (small, medium, large).
Step four -creating a prioritized list of features. The product manager needs to match each item in the backlog with one of the company’s goals. If a certain item does not match any goal, the product manager should take it out. In other words, the product manager should not prioritize a feature that serves something that the company does not currently need. At this point, the guiding questions that the product manager should ask are — “What drives the company most?” and “What is most valuable to the costumers?”. At the end of this process, the result will be a prioritized list of requirements that corresponds to the company’s overall goals for the coming year.
Practical Product Manager Tools:
1. Participate in meetings with stakeholders about the company’s goals.
2. Initiate requirements and reach an in-depth understanding of the real problem and a solution to it through discussions (better than making a patch that covers a specific requirement).
3. Initiate discussions with the development team to define the magnitude for development and create a sense of ownership of the features.
4. Produce a record of the high-level goals using a convenient tool (Excel, Google Sheets, Monday, etc.), and below it indicate the requirements that fulfill these goals.
5. Break the requirements down to the smallest user’s stories and maintain them throughout the year.
6. Initiate a cross-sectional meeting every half quarter (about six weeks) to check your development — “How close are we to accomplish our goals?”
7. Collect requirements and maintain the backlog. Initiate monthly meetings with all the parties, so that by the time you reach the item analysis (once every six months / year) and the annual roadmap planning, you will already have collected requirements.
In summary, a roadmap is the product of two processes that form into a work plan. The first is a top-down process that includes defining what the company’s vision is, and then creating requirements for the product. The second is a bottom-up process that includes collecting the requirements from the customers, marketing, sales, development and product management teams, and then setting the goals.
Written by Maayan Galperin