What is a Product Roadmap?

A product roadmap is a powerful tool which shows the likely direction of the product and the vision of the key stakeholders.

It helps steer the engineering efforts, win and retain customers, and help in strategic planning at the company level.

In a startup environment, it’s about striking a balance between the product’s vision and the customer requirements.

In an established environment, the product roadmap helps get the buy-in of all stakeholders, get partners on-board and get the budget for the product.


Challenges while Creating a Product Roadmap

Creating a product roadmap is not an easy task, especially in the agile setting, where:

  • things change rapidly
  • there are lots of new feature requests
  • every feature request looks like a top priority
  • last minute requests by the sales team &
  • pressure by the management for new changes

Because of all these constraints and roadblocks, the product roadmap loses its essence and often bites-back with the added weight.


What your Product Roadmap should do?

The product roadmap tool is extremely important and it should be so compelling that it:

  • drives the company strategy towards one goal
  • gives the direction to the development efforts
  • creates a noise in the market with PR efforts
  • give a sense of confidence to the partners &
  • clearly shows the customers where we are headed

Since the product roadmap directs critical aspects of the business, it’s important to spend a good amount of time to show the high-level direction of the product to both internal and external stakeholders.


Roadmapping Techniques

There are certain techniques to create a product roadmap. These help you break-down your feature backlog and make more sense out of it. Here are a few road mapping techniques:


Steps to Create a Product Roadmap

The agile product roadmap should align with the business goals. Based on different stakeholders, it can capture any or all of the aspects below:

  • Product Vision
  • Release Plan for Internal & External Stakeholders
  • Strategic Initiatives
  • Target Market & Growth Strategy
  • New Technology Adoption
  • Maintenance & Bug Fixes


Step 1 – Capture

Capture the feature requirements from multiple stakeholders like customers, sales, partners, management, support, engineering and others that are involved with the product in one way or the other.

Step 2 – Align

Align the requests with the product vision and the business goals. Identify the strategic initiatives that you will take in order to reach the business goals.

Step 3 – Split

Either use the monthly or quarterly approach to display the release plan or split your list into these goals:

  • short-term
  • middle-term
  • long-term

Step 4 – Prioritize

Score each point with some scoring framework and create a prioritized list, which tells a coherent story.

Step 5 – Share

Get the buy-in from the key stakeholders, iterate and share the final roadmap with all.


Share your Product Roadmap with your Customers

If the product roadmap is made transparent with your customers, it not only helps in retaining the customers but also helps in getting new customers showing where you are headed as a product or company.

Your public product roadmap becomes part of your strategic marketing communication with the customers and also with internal teams so that everyone understands the bigger picture and is on the same page.

The customer feedback sets the direction and drives the product roadmap. Constructive feedback can only come if your customers know what’s on the plate.

A transparent product roadmap helps:

  • gain confidence of existing customers
  • get new customers
  • build a community
  • engage your power users
  • get valuable feedback
  • iterate faster on the things that matter the most


Public Product Roadmap Examples

Buffer’s Product Roadmap

Trello’s Product Roadmap


Slack’s Product Roadmap




Unreal Engine 4 (Game) Product Roadmap



Finalizing the product roadmap and making it public is a controversial exercise, but it is one exercise that you can’t afford to ignore.