A product roadmap is a high-level visual representation that depicts the vision and overall direction of a product over time. It provides a clear overview of what a product team is working on, the goals they hope to achieve, and how they plan to get there.
A product roadmap template is a pre-designed visual layout that can be used as a starting point for creating a product roadmap. The template typically includes placeholders for key information such as the product vision, target audience, key features, and timeline. Using an editable product roadmap template can help product teams to quickly and efficiently create a comprehensive roadmap that clearly communicates the product strategy to stakeholders.
As a Product Manager, one thing you hear time and time again from stakeholders is “We need a product roadmap.” During my time at SS&C Intralinks, I was tasked with putting together a comprehensive business strategy and product roadmap for a new product launch. This included outlining key initiatives, milestones, and giving multiple roadmap presentations to stakeholders. It’s paramount to understand the deliverables that your stakeholders and the broader executive team need when crafting your product roadmap. That is why I developed this easy-to-use free editable product roadmap powerpoint template—to help product managers save critical time.
Types of Roadmap Templates
Selecting the appropriate type of roadmap for a given situation is an art form, as most product managers can attest. When you're going through your roadmap design, you're also looking for the template with the best fit to act as your starting point. I’ll be focusing on the most common use-case in this article—a feature-based product roadmap template. You can think of a feature-based roadmap similar to swimlanes, where each swimlane represents a given feature.
Beyond utilizing our product roadmap template, there are a number of excellent ProductOps software tools designed to help product managers build their product roadmaps. These tools can help streamline tracking your milestones, provide real-time updates with Jira integrations around functionality your team members are working on, and render specialized views such as gantt charts, time frames, and more.
What Is A Feature-Based Product Roadmap?
A feature-based product roadmap is a visual representation of the planned features and their progress over a set time frame. These roadmap designs can be customized to fit the specific needs and goals for project planning and project management.
The feature-based roadmap is a useful tool for aligning team members and stakeholders on the business plan, product strategy, and overall product vision. A good product development roadmap will help team members and stakeholders prioritize and track the progress of features.
How Do You Use a Feature-Based Product Roadmap?
Think of a roadmap as a multi-utility tool. Using a roadmap is all about understanding who your audience is and what you are hoping to achieve in an interaction with them. For example, the marketing team may want to get an update about what is coming down the pipes in Q2. In this case you would want to either highlight specific features that are most applicable to the marketing team, or build a tweaked version of the roadmap specific to marketing—i.e. a marketing roadmap.
Other audiences, such as executives, will want a condensed, crisp version of the roadmap. This will often be a Google Slides or Microsoft PowerPoint deck. Often this will include a roadmap slide and FAQ section at minimum, and sometimes slides including things like development time frame, product strategy, product vision, and pricing. Remember, it’s important to keep any roadmap presentation slides designed for executives brief, to the point, and presented as a strategic document.
Top Tips for Creating a World-Class Roadmap
- Capture Inputs: It is important to gather all the necessary information and understanding of the situation before making decisions regarding the product. It is also important to consult with those who are affected by the product to avoid making incorrect assumptions that may lead to changes later on.
- Set Your Product Vision: A product vision should focus on making a positive impact for both the end users of the product and the company producing it.
- Listen to Customer Needs: The key element of your roadmap creation process is ensuring that it aligns with the tasks or challenges that your customers need to complete or overcome. Most of the elements on your roadmap should be rooted in addressing specific customer needs.
- Deeply Understand Problems & Solutions: Having some background information allows you to focus more on taking action and less on providing detailed explanations for the plan. It also encourages thorough analysis and evaluation.
- Be Ruthless with Prioritization: Using a neutral and cooperative approach to determining priorities will aid in ensuring that all parties involved are concentrated on the crucial matters and reach a consensus.
- Use Diplomacy and Align the Business: No matter how carefully considered or thorough a plan may be, it will only be successful if those responsible for funding, implementing, and benefiting from it have a strong belief in its potential.
- Keynotes & Roadmap Presentations: One of the main purposes of a product roadmap is to generate enthusiasm and anticipation for what is to come. To achieve this, it is necessary to present a compelling narrative.
- Change With New Information: Adaptation is crucial when the environment shifts, as your plan of action, like any organism, needs to evolve in order to sustain itself.
To learn more about how to leverage roadmaps and their processes check out Product Roadmaps: Relaunched and read Andre Albuquerque’s newsletter. His latest article speaks on how to build and execute a roadmap.
Oh, and I suppose you want the free Powerpoint-compatible template you were promised! You can download the file here from Google Sheets.
This product roadmap template will assist you in creating a crisp business roadmap for your stakeholders and centralized place for updates in a fully-transparent way. Remember, a detailed product roadmap is at the core of any successful organization. With this guide, you can now kick-off your roadmap planning, and do it in an organized way.
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