Launching any project starts with planning. Creating a website, mobile application, or advertising campaign - all these tasks require developing a solid strategy. Roadmaps help to make clear plans and monitor their implementation quickly and efficiently.
A roadmap is a visual display of a strategy with milestones and priority goals. A well-structured roadmap gathers all fragments of the product development process in one place and allows different audiences to see the whole picture of the project. It not only explains to different team members what you are building but also allows them to understand why you are building it. This way, it makes it easier for a team to understand in which direction the company is moving.
In our previous article, we’ve already discussed in detail what a product roadmap is and everything you need to know to create a powerful roadmap, and now we want to provide you with the most widely-used product roadmap examples so that you can choose the one that will work best for your project’s needs.
But first of all, let’s once again recall what benefits product roadmaps bring to the company.
The need for a product roadmap
The biggest advantage of a product roadmap lays in the strategic view it gives to all stakeholders. A roadmap connects the long-term goals of a product and company with development effort, and this way brings teams together around common goals to create great products.
For internal stakeholders a roadmap shows:
- The overall vision of the strategy
- Results and timing of product teams’ achievements
- Resources required
- Main stages of product development
External stakeholders and investors will be interested to see:
- Product/service advantages
- Benefits of cooperation
- Project deliverables and deadlines
The sales department wants to learn:
- Benefits of the product for the target audience
- General timelines
The marketing team would be glad to see:
- Product features
- Detailed strategy
For developers a roadmap should show:
- Product functions
- Major releases and deadlines
- Specific tasks
A roadmap is useful throughout the entire product lifecycle: from idea and development to launch and maintenance. It allows you to effectively allocate time, finances, and other resources. As you may present the roadmap to different types of audiences, there are many ways you can communicate information, and below we will show you the most popular.
Useful roadmap examples
A product roadmap is not the kind of tool that we can strictly classify into certain types. It may differ depending on the industry, project, goals, and people that will view it.
But, here we want to highlight the six most popular kinds of roadmaps to show you the possibilities of each of them.
The now-next-later roadmap is known for its simplicity. It allows you to put priorities on tasks. The goal of this type of map is to convey the importance of some tasks/features/sprints in relation to others.
The now-next-later roadmap helps every team member to understand how they are progressing at the moment. One more important advantage is that it is not only easy to comprehend this roadmap but also easy to build. Any tool that allows you to create three columns is suitable for the now-next-later roadmap.
You can use it for meetings with a big audience ( e.g. hall meetings) or present it to customers. Now let’s briefly analyze the structure of this type of roadmap.
- The “Now” section shows what the team is going to do in the nearest sprints (2-4 weeks). It includes goals/issues the team should focus on first of all. You usually don’t change anything in this section.
- “Next” identifies the team’s medium-term features, something the team will focus on in a few weeks. Features from this section can be changed.
- “Later” shows long-term plans, usually something the team is going to work on in a few months. Goals in this section tend to change with time, that’s why you can plan those roughly.
Now let’s look at some now-next-later roadmap templates.
Easy to perceive roadmap that quickly and clearly shows the priorities in tasks.
This example provides more details. Except for the main tasks, it outlines goals with short descriptions and rough timelines.
A feature roadmap shows key features of a product and allows to monitor the progress of their development and releases.
With its help, both customers and team members understand what they will get next. This way users see the value of the product and the team sees in which direction the product is evolving. A feature-based roadmap allows you to prioritize feature releases and distribute company resources.
The disadvantage of this type of map is that due to the technology advance and customers’ preferences you have to change it often, that’s why it is a bit difficult to maintain.
Now, we move to examples.
In Aha’s example, all the features are sorted according to quarters which makes it easy to understand how different product elements are going to evolve with time.
Roadmunk’s roadmap presents product features in timelines. Different colors for different blocks of information help to monitor the progress and deadlines at a glance.
A goal-oriented roadmap makes your strategy clear and easy-to-understand. Goals explain the “why” behind each feature and help to logically structure all the information.
This kind of map is good to show to executives, as they are usually not interested in some specific product features, but rather want to know what issue the team is solving. A goal-oriented map will show if the product manages to keep its promises.
For example, a goal can be to “improve retention rate” or “make an attractive UI” and it is the team’s task to decide how to reach these goals, whereas executives only want to see what the objective and the outcome are.
Here are some examples of goal roadmaps:
The first example shows how you can build a comprehensive goal roadmap with columns.
Productboard shows a goal-oriented roadmap with timelines.
The strategy roadmap serves as a link between the organization’s strategy and its implementation. It presents main results that should be achieved in a certain period of time and will eventually lead the company to desired strategic vision.
The strategy map does not focus on the product’s features, it communicates what the company needs to do, why they need it, and in what order to fulfill the product’s goals.
This kind of product roadmap is good to present both to internal stakeholders and investors, as it clearly explains the “what” and “why” of the product strategy.
Here are some strategy roadmap ideas:
The strategy roadmap from Aha shows “what” (results that should be delivered) in the column on the left of a map and “why (the company’s strategic goals) next to each timeline.
This example shows the logical links between outcomes and company goals.
You may guess from the name itself that technology roadmaps are suitable for internal teams, especially for developers.
When creating a product you use a technology roadmap to show what technical aids and tech requirements you need to use to achieve business goals.
Here is a roadmap that provides clear tech details of the product development to the viewer and defines clear objectives for each sector (security, technology, etc.).
This technology map allows viewers to understand which technology they need to use and what product features they need to add.
A release roadmap shows the list of tasks (new functions, bug fixes, etc.) to be accomplished before you launch a release on the market. It usually includes what is needed to be done and who is responsible for it and by what time the task has to be completed.
Such a roadmap provides alignment of all departments around the release.
Let’s check examples.
When we look at the above example in the horizontal position it clearly shows which team is responsible for every specific task, and when we view it vertically we immediately understand what has to be launched in every release.
This roadmap presents goals and features that will be accomplished in certain releases.
Great product roadmaps recommendations
A product roadmap saves time that you need to spend on taking actions and thinking about the next steps. You can use it when launching a product or when you need to convey an important inside to every employee.
Creating roadmaps and then maintaining them is an ongoing process that you can do together with the team and there are several simple ways to achieve a successful result.
- Don’t dive into too many details. There should be as many details in the roadmap as the audience needs.
- Maintain a balance. Your roadmap should equally focus on short-term tactical objectives and their relationship to long-term goals.
- Update it. Review roadmaps regularly and make adjustments when plans change.
- Recall other team members about the roadmap. Make sure everyone has access to the roadmap and uses it regularly.
- Communicate. Stay in touch with stakeholders at all levels to ensure consistency.
For more useful information on how to boost the product on the market read our article about product lifecycle strategies.