Understanding the Product Roadmap
A typical organization will have a roadmap for each product or family of products. It’s a resource that communicates vital information to internal and external audiences. Product roadmaps are also a big help in managing leadership and client expectations.
The Value of Product Roadmaps Inside Your Company
Product roadmaps help your organization coordinate cross-functional tasks to support a release. By including both development activities and marketing and sales efforts, the roadmap helps ensure a smooth transition from development to market launch.
Internal staff must be knowledgeable in the product’s features and function. This allows them to be ready to answer customer inquiries. Marketing must have its product launch activities planned and primed for release to clients. Overall, the product release date on a roadmap is the trigger that launches a series of necessary activities. Orchestrated effectively, the roadmap will help you maximize your revenue opportunity.
Managing Internal Expectations
A well-conceived roadmap can serve as the cornerstone of your operational activities. It communicates the direction development will take in support of the product vision. A roadmap will clearly show internal constituents what they can expect to happen in the next 12 months … and what is not going to happen.
The roadmap also helps senior leadership keep abreast of the product team’s productivity. The company made a huge investment in equipment and people. The product roadmap helps management see if that investment has been worth the expense.
Managing External Expectations
The product roadmap shows clients that you are continuing to invest in your products and helping them increase in value. By sharing the roadmap with clients, you can manage their expectations. The roadmap will also keep them informed about where you intend to focus resources.
Sales and the Product Roadmap
Your sales team members are the experts in selling your product’s current capabilities. Product managers are the most knowledgeable about what’s in store for the product in the future. Your product roadmap communicates these plans and gives the sales team the means to excite clients about what’s coming and when to expect it.
Although it is possible to handle both internal and external audiences with one product roadmap, it’s not the best solution. In my next post I’ll discuss the benefit of creating separate internal and an external roadmap.