At Roadmap Heroes, I believe there are 6 key areas to consider when creating, managing and sharing your roadmaps.
I’ve created a handy mnemonic to help you remember them: HEROES.
Let’s explore each area in more detail.
A high-level strategy is a broad and overarching plan that outlines long-term goals and objectives. It provides a framework for decision-making and guides the allocation of resources towards achieving those goals.
Strategy may be defined at different layers of an organisation from the company level to the various functions and products within them. It typically covers a period of several years and is often developed by senior executives and other key stakeholders within an organisation.
A high-level strategy should be aligned with the organisation’s mission, vision, and values, and should take into consideration factors such as the competitive landscape, market trends, and customer needs. It should also be flexible enough to adapt to changes in the business environment, such as new technologies, shifts in consumer behaviour or feedback from execution.
Exploration is a process of researching and analysing potential new products or product features to determine their viability and potential success in the marketplace. It involves identifying customer needs, market trends, and technological innovations to generate ideas that could identify gaps in the market, provide value to customers and drive business growth.
Once potential product ideas have been identified, product exploration may involve discovery, experimentation, developing prototypes or minimum viable products (MVPs) to test their potential market fit and gather further feedback from customers. This testing can help validate assumptions about the product and identify potential areas for improvement.
Overall, product exploration is a critical step in the product development process, as it helps teams identify and prioritise opportunities for product innovation and growth and to reduce wasted resource and investments later on.
Product requests are customer, user or stakeholder suggestions for new features, improvements or modifications to an existing product or service. Product requests can be received through a variety of channels, including customer support requests, online portals, feedback forms, social media, or direct communication with the product team.
When a product request is submitted, it is typically reviewed by the product team to determine its feasibility, impact on the product, and alignment with the product’s overall strategy and goals. The product team may also evaluate the request based on the volume of similar requests, the potential value to customers, and the level of effort required to implement the request.
Product requests are an important source of feedback for product teams, as they provide valuable insights into customer needs, pain points, and opportunities for improvement. Responding to and prioritising product requests can help improve customer satisfaction and retention, increase product adoption and usage, and drive product innovation and growth.
A roadmap tells the story of where we are currently and where we want to reach in the future. It is the link between strategy and execution, setting direction and guiding decision-making for the team and stakeholders involved.
As a result the roadmap is a visual plan that may include goals and objectives, initiatives, timeframes as well as information on prioritisation, resource allocation, risks and assumptions, metrics and KPIs.
The roadmap should take the format of a document that references records, context and data from other artefacts and information sources. The specific records, format and fidelity of the roadmap will depend on the nature and scope of the business, narrative, and audience being communicated with.
Updating and adapting the roadmap document over time is critical in ensuring it continues to reflect changes in the business environment, customer needs and feedback from product delivery.
Evolving should also apply to the roadmapping processes themselves. This may range from how ideas and requests are captured and how work is prioritised and estimated through to nurturing a continuous feedback loop between the roadmap owners and key stakeholders groups, such as internal teams, customers, or investors.
By continually evolving the roadmap and associated processes, product teams can ensure that their product remains relevant and valuable to customers, while also supporting the overall business strategy and goals helping drive continued growth and success for the product and the business as a whole.
Sharing refers to the process of communicating product roadmap to various audiences, such as customers, investors, internal teams, or other external partners. The goal is to rally all stakeholders around the product’s strategy and priorities, and to build confidence, trust and alignment.
Sharing typically involves creating a visual representation of the roadmap that highlights the key problems, themes or outcomes it will address. The detail from other artefacts may be used to help provide the context of the roadmap from strategic direction though to information on recent delivery.
Sharing the roadmap should also involve soliciting feedback from stakeholders and incorporating that feedback into the product’s direction. This feedback can help identify potential areas of concern or opportunities for improvement, and can help ensure that the product is meeting the needs of its customers and stakeholders.