As a product manager in the early stages of a product, you are responsible for building something that won’t be launched for a minimum of X months. This can be a daunting task, especially when there are so many moving parts and stakeholders involved. That’s where a roadmap comes in.
The PM on this call (attached video) was uncertain how to handle a request for something that will be needed in 6+ months and which can only be developed when other parts of the product are ready.
What is a Roadmap?
A roadmap is a high-level document that outlines the steps that need to be taken in order to achieve a specific goal. It is not the same as a release plan, which outlines the specifics of what will be delivered and when. Instead, a roadmap gives an overview of what needs to be done from both a product and business perspective.
The Value of a Roadmap
So, why is a roadmap so valuable? In the scenario described in the introduction, the PM was unsure how to handle a request for something that won’t be needed for at least six months. This is where a roadmap can be incredibly helpful. By providing an overview of what needs to be done, a roadmap can help the PM to plan and prioritize their work. It can also function as a “north star,” guiding the team towards their end goal and ensuring that everyone is working towards the same outcome.
Additionally, a roadmap can be a great tool for gathering ideas in advance. Even if you are not actively working on a specific task, seeing similar journeys or products can act as a source of inspiration. This can be especially useful when it comes to anticipating future needs or identifying areas for improvement.
The Role of a Roadmap in Providing Visibility and Clarity
Finally, a roadmap is your best friend when it comes to providing visibility and clarity on what needs to be done. By outlining the steps that need to be taken to achieve the desired outcome, a roadmap can help to ensure that all teams involved in the product are on the same page. This can be especially important in a cross-functional team where different departments may have their own priorities and objectives.
The importance of a roadmap in product management cannot be understated. It provides visibility, transparency, and a clear direction for the team to work towards. By using a roadmap, PMs can effectively plan, prioritize, and execute on their product development efforts, ultimately leading to the successful launch and growth of their product.