Bruce McCarthy says in our recent eBook, “Product roadmaps have gotten a bad rap. Most of them deserve it.” Bruce points out that roadmaps are a relic of a time when waterfall development was still popular and are little more than a list of features and dates. I recently mentioned that roadmaps require thoughtful communication, and he agrees.
“A good roadmap is a strategic communications tool, a statement of intent and direction, and, done well, a way of rallying the whole organization around the key problems that must be solved to achieve your product vision.”
Bruce points out that most roadmaps focus on outputs, which are just a specific set of features being released. But the purpose of those outputs are to drive an intended set of outcomes, which are what affect the business? So why not just cut out the middleman and create a roadmap that tracks against outcomes?
“A better approach is to describe the customer or business problem we are trying to solve—the outcome—and leave the details of the features, functions, and fixes we plan to test—the outputs—to JIRA and Trello. Then you might add something to your roadmap like ‘Increase repeat usage by 20%.’”
To read some examples of companies who have put this into practice, check out Bruce’s article by getting our eBook, where you can also find stories and advice from Hiten Shah, Kat Kennedy, and Jeetu Patel.