As your company grows, it is essential to incorporate strategic planning. Without documenting the process or creating a plan to make your vision a reality, you were able to manage when your company was smaller and product deliveries were less frequent or of lesser importance to the success of your business.
As your business grows to meet increased demand, it is essential to put in place a strategy to ensure that this growth is not only possible, but also productive and effective.
What exactly is a “product road map”?
Perhaps you’re wondering, “What exactly is a product roadmap?” A Product Roadmap is, at face value, a reliable document that specifies the following:
It is essential that all stakeholders involved in the product development process regularly refer to the Roadmap. This diagram provides an overview of the production processes, enabling all personnel to remain informed of progress. The Roadmap serves as the team’s primary product plan, facilitating more efficient collaboration.
Roadmaps for products allow you to do things like:
- Develop consensus between team members over a product.
- Grant complete authority to managers at all times.
- Encourage communication and cooperation amongst groups.
Having defined “Product Roadmap,” let’s get into the process of making one.
One of the first things to do is to figure out what direction the product will go in.
The first step is to establish a direction for the product. The following concerns will be addressed by this method:
- When considering the motivations for creating this product, it’s important to ask why.
- To whom does this product cater?
- To what end does your product serve your target market?
- What will be the product’s unique selling point in comparison to rival items?
- How difficult is it to get the product to market?
- When and where will this product be available to buy?
Once you have responded to the aforementioned questions, you will have a thorough understanding of the basic concepts of the product. Without this information, you will be unable to proceed with confidence.
Hone in on your thoughts.
Upon developing a plan for the product, it may have become apparent that some of the initial assumptions were not accurate. It is essential to do this, as it is likely that the initial ideas may not be sufficiently developed to be viable.
To make this phase effective, it is recommended to introduce a system to rate ideas and concepts. This can be achieved with the help of concept management programmes, such as Brightidea, Remesh, Miro, or Bluescape. These programmes enable users to objectively select which ideas should be explored further and which ones can be disregarded without prejudice.
Product characteristics should be determined
It is essential that all features of the product are in line with the plan. To ensure that resources are not wasted, any features which conflict with the strategy or do not add value to the product or plan should be removed from the roadmap. Therefore, it is now necessary to create a list of all the features the product currently has.
Structure the product’s life cycle.
Once you have refined your concept into a viable product, you can begin to plan out the various stages of its development. It is advisable to begin by identifying the key milestones (such as Alpha, Beta and Final release dates) and then fill in the details in between (such as user experience design deadlines, first code upload, quality assurance and testing, user experience refinement and bug fixing).
You’ll need to choose on the kind of road map you’ll follow. Product roadmaps may be broken down into four categories:
- Plans for several product launches are shown in a portfolio.
- Strategy – demonstrates the objectives and overarching efforts that each group must make for the release to be a success.
- A release plan is a document that specifies every step that must be taken before a product may be sold to the public.
- The section under “Features” provides an estimated release date for each upcoming addition.
Each of these variations may be used alone or in combination.
It is now time to commence inputting data into a Project Management system (e.g. LiquidPlanner, Teamwork, Zoho Projects, ProofHub or TeamGantt). This activity will require some time and effort and it is important to be as comprehensive as possible when entering the information regarding the product at this stage (including the teams that will be responsible for the product at each phase).
Form teams and assign members to them.
Now that the lifecycle has been mapped out and incorporated into the project management software, it is time to commence the allocation of teams and team members to each stage of the road map. To ensure that all tasks are broken down into the smallest possible elements, it is likely that the same amount of time will be required for this step as was needed for entering the data into the software initially.
It is important to allocate specific tasks to team members and set realistic deadlines for completion. Doing so will ensure that the project progresses effectively.
Disseminate the plan.
Now that your roadmap is complete, please share it with the team responsible for product development and launch. Automating the process should now be possible, or at least manual handling should be viable if the roadmap has been correctly constructed.
A carefully planned release plan can help to ensure the successful launch of your product. It is important to allow sufficient time to ensure that the plan is comprehensive and effective. Failure to do so could lead to the opposite of the desired effect. If the release plan is well executed, it will provide a roadmap for the entire life cycle of the product.