Product roadmaps are an incredibly important tool to have, promoting transparency with customers and encouraging team members to continue to work towards clear outlined goals. This article covers where to start and how to create a product roadmap.
What is a Product Roadmap?
A product roadmap is a feature used by companies to provide a visual image of their upcoming product updates. The roadmap items are organized according to their progress or status (e.g. planned, in progress, completed) and sometimes include the estimated completion date.. Roadmaps are typically used by companies to internally keep track of their product changes, however publicizing these roadmaps have several benefits. Public roadmaps allow customers to feel more connected and involved with the product, which creates open communication and sustains the customer’s interest in the product as they are notified about new updates.
Where to start?
There are three main steps when creating a product roadmap; determining what features need to be focused on, then prioritizing features and finally determining what platform to release the information on. When prioritizing what features to use on the roadmap the company must look at the customer base, the information gathered analytically and the product’s objectives.
Step 1: Determining What Features
The needs and wants of the customers is crucial, and should be considered when determining what features need to be prioritized. The big question is: What are the customers looking for? When the company is able to answer this question, they can expand on it by questioning the specific features and interest of their audience, and taking into account the differences in ages and uses of the product. The features chosen will impact the audience so understanding how often certain features are used and who is using these features will effect how you prioritize.
There are several ways of gathering information about how to prioritize features. To start that process a few questions need to be answered:
What are the problems constantly encountered by users and my team when handling the product?
What kind of tracking information do I have regarding what users are consistently drawn to?
Typically product analysis, and customer feedback act as positive ways of enforcing what needs to be fixed or updated in the product. Furthermore, user or product testing will give clear information on how many users are utilizing each feature and what ways the features can be improved to be more effective.
Probably the most important questions when prioritizing features are
What is the objective of the product?
What features do I need to focus on to reach said objectives?
These questions provide the next steps as the data collected and the customer base then refine the choices of features to ensure the features both meet the objective and will provide positive change to the product moving forward.
Step 2: Prioritizing Features
After collecting all the data and determining what features need to be used on the roadmap, it is a matter of understanding how to frame and prioritize those features moving forward. There are several kinds of frameworks outlined in this article. For example,the Kano Model focuses on the satisfaction customers have with each feature. On the other hand, the Value vs. Complexity model focuses on determining which features provide the best value to the company and product, paired with lower complexity.
Step 3: Platform
The final major step that needs to be taken when creating a product roadmap is determining what platform to use when creating a public roadmap.
There are several options for platforms for a product roadmap, however Uservitals is the most efficient way of creating one. Uservitals splits the steps in half by seamlessly collecting feedback from your existing customer channels, instead of the traditional way of manually uploading feedback onto spreadsheets. Uservitals effectively eliminated the first step, providing the company with information on recurring feedback. In addition, the roadmap is sorted according to it’s status, but when clicked on provides the opportunity for customers to see a description and respond with feedback on the new update and its progress.