I decided to create a straightforward tutorial on “How to create a Roadmap?” for any Product Owner or Product Manager who is facing such a challenge for the first time. In the following post, I cut the whole process into phases. Moreover, I also put an example for every single one of them, to help you visualize the process.
Have or make a clear goal.
There is a saying that “when a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind”. This is also true business-wise. The point of preparing a roadmap is to create a plan for reaching some goal. So all roadmaps should be created towards some goal. Because of that clearly defining what you are aiming form is mandatory.
Collect ideas for the Roadmap.
Now you need to gather all tasks that contribute to the goal. Write down everything in an excel, or any other tool. There are many sources of ideas, just to mention a few:
- Data-driven ideas – things that you can work out from your data (analytics, mouse tracking, or any other data).
- Features your users or clients requested (directly, or through any NPS or questionnaire).
- Things your boss told you to do.
- Ideas your coworkers asked you to do.
- Your own crazy ideas 🤣
Now it is time to put some order into the list of your thoughts. Use your favorite (and best known) tool. Feel free to choose from The MoSCoW Method, ICE (Impact, Confidence, Ease) scoring, or RICE variation. You can even do some kind of KANO Model. It is up to you (or your organization) what tool you are going to use.
Key things in this phase are.
- Use metrics and data to back up your scoring regarding the impact that feature will have on goal.
- Collaborate with the stakeholders to refine requirements.
- Preferably make estimating sessions with the most experienced tech guys.
- Validate ideas if you can (use corridor tests or some basic smoke tests).
At that point, you have a prioritized list of at least basically refined topics.
Draw a Roadmap on a timeline.
The prioritized list of tasks is necessary to input for this action. Take into consideration team size, available manpower, velocity and holidays when planning. Also, remember to think about communication with clients and all design work that you need to do prior to development.
Later on, put everything on a timeline in a visual form. I prefer using a Gantt chart, but any other timeline will fits.
Ask for feedback!
Last but not least thing is gathering feedback. Make sure to show your Roadmap to your company board, stakeholders, team, and other Product Owners. Ask them to review your work. Listen carefully to what they say. The things that are most important for you are show stoppers, like “delivering that feature, then, will be too late, because of…”.
Keep calm here, you don’t need to take into consideration all feedback. If you think that something is an irrelevant or simple subjective opinion, don’t implement it.
Step-by-step example on “How to create a Roadmap?”
Time for a very simple step-by-step example on how to create a Roadmap. Imagine that the product is a website like this one. Firstly I set a clear goal: Increase the number of monthly page views in order to earn more money.
Later on I collected ideas:
- Cut all blogposts to two pages to force users to generate more views.
- Scrap other websites, combined content, and automatically post 1 article weekly to have more coming back, visitors.
- Improve SEO and Google presence to have more traffic.
- Promote the website on social media using automated tools.
Next, I gathered with my webmasters and other domain experts and assign ICE scoring. This was my prioritization technique.
|Cut all blogposts to two pages.||3||2||3||18|
|A tool to promote the website on social media.||2||3||2||12|
|Improve SEO and Google presence||3||2||1||6|
|Automatically scrape other websites.||1||1||2||2|
With such input (and estimates from webmaster) I was ready to draw a Roadmap.
After presenting roadmap to everyone in the firm I received very important feedback from CEO, that “Splitting posts will frustrate our users and is no go!”. So I adapted Roadmap.
And that’s basically it. We (as a team) know what we should do.
Now you know how to create a Roadmap!
In real life and in a complex environment creating a Roadmap is a process that usually takes weeks. You need to collaborate with many people and dive into many fields during the process. The first time might be a little hard. In conclusion, almost in every organization, things are a little bit different, so am really curious, how do you guys create your Roadmaps?
What am I missing?