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How do you build your product roadmap?

The quintessential product artefact that divides opinion and generates huge debate. But we want to know the process that gets you there, rather than what it looks like at the end. What's your approach?

  • Senior Product Manager at busuu

    At busuu, we’re now at a stage where the company is still small enough to ensure the entire business are able to contribute to our product roadmap, but just a little too big to make it an entirely collaborative process with every team member.

    So our process has been broken down into 3 main parts, which run on a yearly, then quarterly, then fortnightly cadence.

    Yearly

    • Vision/Mission: the vision and mission for the company are our commitment to where we see the business going and what we want to achieve and enable our users to do. So this doesn’t change very often, but we check in on it and have from time-to-time re-jigged it a little.

    • Strategy: we spend some time ideating the strategy for the year ahead, agree a business plan, and define core themes. This is based on a lot of data points gained through the year.

    Quarterly

    • The funnel: our quarterly roadmap process begins with data. We have an overview of the business funnel, and we see how that has changed over the last quarter, or where we could improve and where there’s an opportunity.

    • KPIs: then we identify KPIs that we would want to improve and track from these.

    • Customer problems: we constantly obtain this data throughout the year, but every quarter we will make a concerted effort to synthesise it and see where the main problems for our users exist.

    • Ideation: we will then spend a bunch of time as cross-department and cross-functional teams ideating potential solutions, rough ideas based on the above. This is when we bring in marketing, operations, content and the rest of the business.

    • Deciding: we score and prioritise using RICE scoring. It enables us to get a much better sense of how big something is or the opportunity and if it’s feasible.

    Fortnightly

    Two-week sprints, roadmap and delivery sessions then become our core cadence and heartbeat of the company. We find that this rhythm of checking in on the roadmap, along with the actual delivery side of things allows us to pivot quickly and catch things before they become problematic.

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  • Product Manager at Engage Technology
    • Treat the roadmap as a living/breathing entity. It will grow and evolve as you get to understand the customer and the domain better.
    • Roadmaps should be prioritised based on 'need' vs. 'value'.
    • Roadmaps should be based on a wider company/business/product strategy
    • Avoid putting timelines/deadlines unless it's absolutely required.
    • Share with the team at every step of the way. Just did some customer research and found out you need to prioritise a different problem? Do a read-out of the research with the team and tell them how these findings impact the different roadmap items. Just found out about a major technical constraint? Share it with the team and ask them where it'll present obstacles to the roadmap; brainstorm ways to overcome them.

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