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Roadmap Story Part 2: How did we build our product roadmap?

Previously in the Roadmap Story Part 1, I have shared my view on what is a product roadmap, and why do we need it. At the end of day, a plan is not a good plan if it cannot be shared, agreed and executed. So I decided to expand our story and discuss a bit more on how we get there.

Firstly, we started to create product feature success metrics and priority weight systems. eg: Is there a commercial urgency to build this? Does it make our product more scalable and reliable? Does it provide better user experience etc. This helps us to analysis the features we plan to build now and in the near term.

I want to highlight that this however is not a strict rule to follow, rather a mindset shifting exercise to think more logically and make better decisions.

We further broken down the features into components as part of product feature shaping process (eg: our app has login, order list, check in, urgent tasks etc). This gives people a clear idea of what a specific product does, and what needs to be built out for those functions.

By looking into the sensible components and size of them, we created initiatives that will have a planned release timeframe. This really helped us to communicate to the executive level what are the reasonable packages to be shipped by when.

To expand a little bit of the concept of initiatives and components. If we are a furniture company, I may have 1 product line called dining table. As a product manager, the dinning table as a component will be ongoing (unless the market proves it otherwise), however I can have multiple product releases with different features.

I may have a list of features belong to the dining table, including wooden table top, stone table top, wooden table legs, metal table legs etc. However, I cannot build all of them in 1 go and we need to either quickly test with the market or to keep up with the cash flow. So I will have an initiative to build a first marketable dining table, with the wooden table top and wooden table legs as features. If the people love the dinning table, then I will prioritise to include more choices and features of dining table, but if not, I may prioritise to build sofa next.

The new and better challenge of this constant evolving roadmap is to validate ideas before commitment.

I will share more experience and stories under product management next time. Hope you enjoyed the read. Please do let me know your thoughts, share your experience and discuss how we can build a better roadmap as product managers.

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