How do I get started building my roadmap?

The litmus test for a good product roadmap is that it’s visualaccessible and clear enough for anyone to scan for answers to the following questions:

  • What are we doing?
  • Why are we doing it?
  • How does this tie back to our OKRs?

This is the fundamental idea behind our lean product roadmap which is made up of three columns or time horizons as we like to call them, they represent the below:

  1. Now: Stuff that you are currently working on.
  2. Next: Stuff that’s coming up soon.
  3. Later: Stuff that you’d like to work on in the future, but need to do a bit more research before you move on.

Note that we don't show any timelines. This is not a release planner, our roadmap is designed as a bird’s eye view of your priorities. Those are always subject to change – especially those out in the future which you can’t meaningfully plan for today.

The point is to capture those problems you need to solve but critically leave room to adjust to change. If something was current, but now you want to push it back, you can.

So how do you get started?

Roadmap initiatives

Our roadmap is built using initiative to be undertaken, expressed as a problem to solve which is represented by our roadmap cards. They can be framed as a hypothesis or opportunity (how can we do this, in order to achieve x….)

They group a set of ideas and stories together so you can understand what and why you are working on things and will link back to a set of objectives.

The idea behind initiatives is that it’s better to tackle the root of the problem with a single, elegant solution than burden yourself with a growing laundry list of features.

Developing initiatives for your roadmap enables you to define priorities in terms of problem areas. Those are things that everyone can understand. It also enables you to actively incorporate the daily flow of customer feedback into your product planning.

Roadmap cards should always be strategic and not tactical. Naming a card "Write transactional emails" is too specific to be part of your strategy, instead, it shows a task you would complete.

So think about the current problems you're trying to solve or are actively working on and start building out your initiatives.

Once your roadmap is built you then have the option to share with your team as well as your clients/customers and even protect it with a password. Read more about publishing your roadmap and the options you have available. 

Further Reading

Want to dive into more of the details before you get started? Check out more resources on roadmapping and how it works here.

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