4 easy steps to become a master roadmap storyteller
Bring your product vision to life by telling the best roadmap story possible
Roadmaps can’t always speak for themselves, especially if you work cross-functionally with teammates who don’t have an extensive product background. A strong roadmap narrative is then exactly what you need – done right, it better aligns your team, improves organizational efficiency, and reduces the risk of overpromising and under-delivering features.
Download Roadmap Storytelling: A Product Survival Kit for the full details, including:
- Why roadmap storytelling is so important to your product development process
- How to both strategize and craft effective roadmap narratives for multiple audiences
- The do’s and don’ts of roadmap storytelling from experienced product leaders and practitioners
Read on for the easy-to-follow steps on how to get started.
Step 1: where to begin with roadmap storytelling
The 2022 Product Excellence Report found that 48% of all respondents – including product leaders – named setting a clear product vision and strategy as their biggest challenge. That makes telling an accessible and persuasive roadmap story” all the more important.
When you pair the visual impact of a roadmap with a strong narrative, it can be downright magical. Visualizations build shared understanding while stories foster emotional connections, making this a very powerful combination. Tailored stories take that power even further.
So where do you start? We suggest:
- Take cues from your product vision: everything on a roadmap should go back to your company’s product vision, as the ultimate “why” for what you’re building, when
- Focus on impact and value: clearly define and communicate these when you share your roadmap
- Context is key: consider who your audience is and how much background and technical information they need (or even want) when sharing a roadmap
Step 2: understand how to tell the best roadmap story
Remember that as a product professional you have a deeper knowledge of the products and features that you’re building that not everyone else has. Especially when working with cross-functional teams, consider using simplistic terms instead of technical jargon and keep the focus on the positive impact for customers.
Be sure your roadmap story follows a narrative arc with a clear beginning that sets up customer pain points, as well as an end that shows how planned products and features solve these problems.
The narrative arc should outline what’s happening without getting too specific; consider a “now, next, later” framing to avoid overpromising and under-delivering. Want a real-world example? Check out Prospecta’s roadmap to telling a compelling product story.
Step 3: learn from the experts with the dos and don’ts of roadmap storytelling
Need a quick breakdown to get you started? Try these tips and tricks from experienced product leaders and practitioners.
- Showcase your progress as well as your plans
- Focus on outcomes and business impact
- Recognize the relationship between timeline and accuracy
- Put specific dates on your roadmap
- Expect all stakeholders to receive the roadmap the same way
Step 4: practice makes perfect
Becoming a great roadmap storyteller doesn’t happen overnight – your skills will improve and evolve over time and with practice. Here are a few ways to continue to build your storytelling skills:
- Practice in a low-stakes setting: you don’t have to start with the boardroom or your biggest customer. Start with smaller audiences who can offer constructive feedback.
- Gather feedback and iterate: Parts of your roadmap story that seemed clear to you might not have come across that way to a particular audience. Incorporate that feedback into the next version of your roadmap story!
- Go retro (when it makes sense to do so): hold a retrospective to gather formal feedback from important stakeholders once you do share with them, to ensure your roadmap aligns with your product vision when it really counts.
Become a master roadmap storyteller by downloading your survival kit now.