This article explains how to build a product road map in seven steps. It will help companies avoid bottlenecks when launching their project.
No matter how great the idea of a new product is, there will be many obstacles in its creation. The main block last year was the lack of funds for software development. Many companies experienced roadblocks in software development because they did not create a well-structured product roadmap. Without this guide, it isn’t easy to estimate the cost of building a product accurately. And it often leads to project delay or abandonment.
Indeed, only 30% of companies have a plan with descriptions of goals at an early stage. As for Europe, more than 60% of entrepreneurs stated that they did not create a development roadmap, but they are thinking about it in the case of digitalization.
Planning for startups is essential because only a clear roadmap strategy can help companies minimize development errors and stay within budget. Today, we will talk about how to build a product roadmap, a business lifesaver, and why it is necessary to create it for everyone who wants to succeed.
What is a Product Roadmap
The product roadmap is a visual guide that maps out the vision and direction of your product offering over time. It is a plan of action for short-term and long-term product goals. An ideal roadmap should consist of components such as:
- product vision
- objectives and indicators of the product strategy
- features and hypotheses of the product
- possible risks and crisis plan
- technology stack level timelines and stages
- results after each stage
- priorities and development progress
It is used to plan and execute the startup’s business mission.
Ideally, companies should create a roadmap before starting developing a new project. It will minimize errors, save time and resources, and ensure that the team moves in the same direction.
Why Do Companies Need a Product Roadmap?
The roadmap ensures that the teams and people involved in development have the same vision and goals for the product.
Disagreement in product goals often leads to disorder in software development, delays, increased costs, and failure. If the action moves in different directions, misunderstanding increases, and the result will be at risk of disruption.
It often seems to many companies that they are going in the same direction with their developers and business partners. However, a product roadmap is still needed to keep everyone focused on the same goals.
The product roadmap ensures that technical and business processes are visible, process participants understand their responsibilities, and there are no problems with communication.
In 2022 many businesses have realized that they need to adjust the goals and objectives of their product. That is why they are actively spending money on analytical tools as a roadmap.
Steps of Creating a Product Roadmap
Creating a roadmap is crucial for companies that would like to lead their project to success. We will highlight seven critical steps that should be looked at with special attention.
Step 1. Defining Your Product Strategy
In 2022, many startups prefer to use specialized product development programs for:
- visualizing the stages of development
- tracking deadlines
- developing a company strategy
As a result, incredible unity is created from a shared vision, goals, and product development strategies.
The roadmap should show the overall picture of the product and make it possible to understand:
- customer needs
- core project functionality
- competitors’ descriptions and how to create better solutions
- different strategies how for solving clients’ pain.
Companies should always focus on the audience and design when creating something new. For example, Coca-Cola found out that the audience had problems with overweight and needed a product with minimal sugar retention. Therefore, the product strategy was the creation of Coca-Cola zero, without sugar content, which significantly increased sales, and audience loyalty, and the new product became successful.
Step 2. Collecting Product Requirements
Functionality matters. It affects many things, such as the product’s ease of use, and adds value to the audience.
When choosing features for a product, it is essential to consider surveys and interviews conducted with potential customers.
Many experts recommend conducting market research, particularly interacting with the audience on popular social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Choosing the right features also includes a detailed analysis of direct and indirect competitors of products. To conduct qualitative research, a Business Analyst who has experience with a particular industry is needed. The specialist should not just adopt the functionality of a competitor. They need to analyze it, take the best functionalities, and transform them into a new product that meets users’ requirements.
Step 3. Setting Deadlines
Regardless of their scale, all companies need to set clear deadlines for completing specific tasks. There is a high probability of a long time-to-market if this is not done. Since functions are most often interrelated, the delay of one will lead to an increase in the time for the development of another. Thus, it is essential to do everything on time.
Step 4. Determining the Scope of Work and Budgeting
First, companies should evaluate core functions and choose their execution time. All data must be used to determine the total time spent on development.
After determining the time, the company needs to choose which specialists they need for the project: a beginner, intermediate or senior programmer, a project manager and designer are required, etc.
The ideal team for product development usually consists of the following experts:
- UI/UX Designers
- Quality Assurance Engineers
- Business analysis
- Software or mobile developers
- Project Manager
Step 5. Early Detection of Dependencies
Identification of interdependent functionality in developing a new product is also essential. Companies need to find out as early as possible which tasks are interconnected and what needs to be done to:
- avoid making strategic mistakes on time
- create the transparent process of creating a product
As for the roadmap, companies can get an anti-crisis plan for interdependent functions.
Step 6. Presentation of the Product Roadmap
The product roadmap is a unique document that describes the product development in detail at each stage, so it should be presented to the entire team, including the marketing, sales department, investors, and top managers.
Step 7. Tracking Progress
Software development roadmap trackers such as Aha and Product Plan help companies stay in touch with the whole product creating process:
- monitoring the results of tasks
- managing marketing strategies and sales campaigns
- analyzing the exact time spent on each task
When creating your new product, do not forget to learn how to build a product roadmap.
The roadmap is a reliable assistant that will distribute all the project tasks, help identify interrelated functions, and help companies save development time and cut costs.
However, companies using reliable software development service providers to create and monitor the implementation of the roadmap in strict accordance with the requirements take into account seven critical steps:
- Product strategy definition
- Project requirement collection
- Deadlines for each process setting
- Work scope definition
- Dependences finding
- Roadmap presentation
- Tracking progress
Compliance with these steps will allow companies of various sizes not to fall behind in terms of the budget and enable the development to be completed on time.