What is a software roadmap? (2023)

What is a software roadmap?

A product roadmap is a high-level visual summary of a company's vision and strategic goals.for your product. A software roadmap is a specific roadmap for a software product.

When and why do you need a software roadmap?

The development of a software product, like any other type of product, follows a logical sequence of phases.

An organization first establishes its vision for the product. The product team translates this vision into a plan that includes a long-term vision of the product's strategic goals and themes. This is the product roadmap phase. Finally, a cross-functional team of project managers, developers, and other groups will translate the high-level roadmap plan into actionable work.

As you can see, a successful software product manager needs a roadmap that serves as a bridge, connecting the company's product vision to the tasks required to bring that product to market.

What are the benefits of a software roadmap?

1. It helps your developers understand how their work contributes to the bigger picture.

Giving your development team access to your roadmap gives them insight into how day-to-day work contributes to the overall product.

Access to your roadmap can motivate your development team. When your development team sees how their coding efforts help shape the product and ultimately improve the lives of the product's users, your developers will feel a greater sense of contribution and purpose.

2. Helps the team make smarter prioritization decisions.

No matter how well planned, product development rarely follows a linear, predictable path from project initiation to market launch. Team resource levels are subject to change at any time. Top management can freeze budgets at short notice or without notice. Different needs from other parts of the organization can suddenly take precedence over product development.

When a product team is faced with these unexpected changes to their plan, it can help to have a well-thought-out product roadmap. The roadmap allows the team to step back, review their overall goals, and make the right decisions about where to reprioritize resources if needed.

3. It can help persuade prospects.

If you only show your executives a list of planned features, without a strategic explanation of why you're developing your product in this particular way, those executives may not be inspired to give your plan the green light. Most product teams need this leader to give the green light to move forward.

Against this background, a well-developed product roadmap also serves as a valuable communication and persuasion tool. You can help a product team present company executives with a compelling strategic plan that gives the team the support they need to begin development of their product.

What is a software roadmap? (1)

Tips for creating a software roadmap

The development of a roadmap should follow a series of strategic steps. Here's a high-level checklist forCreate your first roadmap from scratch:What is a software roadmap? (2)

Step 1: Determine the "why" of your product.

Before you can decide how to prioritize your product's features or other details, you must first determine the strategic rationale for the product. You need to know why you want to develop the product, what you want to achieve and for whom.

All of your other strategic decisions about building the product flow from your answers to these initial questions.

Step 2: Determine the intended audiences based on your roadmap.

You cannot develop a software product roadmap in a vacuum or create a single version of your roadmap to share with all audiences.

Your roadmap presentation to executives should focus on overarching strategic goals. Your executives will be interested in how building a function leads to broader business goals, e.g. B. to increase sales or to improve the reputation of your company.

Conversely, when you go through the roadmap with your developers, you focus more on how your plans will impact the development team's resources and workloads.

Find out which audiences will see your software roadmap. This will help you tailor both the roadmap and its presentation to these different groups.

Note: You should only create one version of your product roadmap and easily switch between views or levels of detail. You don't want to have to create a different draft of your roadmap for each intended audience. The easiest way to do this is to useRoadmap-Software.
What is a software roadmap? (3)

Step 3: Prioritize the strategic themes of your product.

Now it's time to start developing the content for your roadmap. The best way to develop a roadmap is to start at the highest, most strategic level. You can then add more specific details.

Here you first create categories of the planned main topics of your product. Then you can add multiple epics under each topic. If you have even more detailed plans, e.g. For example, specific features for an epic, you can add those as well.

Here is an example software roadmap based on our roadmap software. You can use this template to start writing your roadmap:What is a software roadmap? (4)

Step 4 - Regularly review your roadmap and be ready to update it.

Because product development often takes unexpected turns, you should regularly review your software roadmap to ensure your team stays on track to achieve your strategic goals.

It's important to remain flexible and ready to update your roadmap to reflect new realities or changing priorities.

Your software product roadmap is not intended to be a fixed and unchanging document. Updating a roadmap doesn't mean your team missed something or made a mistake. It is often just a necessary step on the way to successfully bringing a product to market.
What is a software roadmap? (5)

Tips for sharing your complete software roadmap

You've completed your roadmap and now need to present it to one or more audiences. What are you going to do next?

UserVoice.com proposes the seven-step SOAPBOX methodPreparation of your product roadmap presentation. (SOAPBOX is an acronym for the seven subjects.)

Use:The UserVoice post specifically focuses on executive-level roadmap presentations. But the advice they offer might as wellHelp a product manager present a roadmapfor every audience. Here are seven recommended steps to prepare your roadmap submission:

1. Subject

What is the topic of your presentation? will you beReview product strategywith an interdisciplinary team, are you looking for the approval of your executives or investors, etc.?

2nd occasion

How, when and where do you give your presentation? Will it be a standalone discussion of the product roadmap, or will it be part of a larger meeting? How might this affect the way you give your presentation?

3. The public

Who will you share your roadmap with? How will this affect the order in which you present your strategy and plans? What level of detail do you want to show?

4. Purpose

What do you want to achieve with this presentation? Do you need approval to move forward, to ensure your development team understands your goals, or to achieve various other strategic goals?

5. Before

What other materials or details would you like to have ready for the presentation? Would you like to collect additional data and evidence, for example to support your strategic plans or your sales forecasts? Do you want to bring in subject matter experts from other departments to answer questions that come up during your presentation?

6. Handling objections

What types of objections do you expect your audience to raise during your roadmap presentation: proposed timelines, budgets, estimated ROI, etc.? How can you prepare to effectively deal with these objections? Would you like to address them yourself preventively during the presentation?

7. Running

What other strategies and tactics can you use to prepare the most compelling roadmap presentation?

What is a software roadmap? (6)

What is a software roadmap? (7)

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