Product managers often present stakeholders with great technology ideas, but no roadmap describing how that technology will be brought to market. Building a product roadmap can substantially increase your chances of getting funded, because investors can see the potential applications, without losing sight of the immediate goals. A great roadmap walks the fine line between being too narrow (“a one-trick pony”) and too wide (“all over the map”). Stakeholders will want to see that you have a focused idea of where you are going in the short term (and why), and that you have plenty of other market opportunities to explore in the longer term, both for increasing your market, and in case your initial markets don’t mature. So why do you need a roadmap?
Here are 3 reasons why do you need a product roadmap:
• Avoids incomplete pivoting:
Every start-up is undoubtedly a “pick your adventure” story. But to prevent from going too off course, and from throwing in the towel too quickly a roadmap will allow you know where do you stand currently are and what is going to be next.
• Consider setting milestones for yourself as well as for your team:
These don’t have to be hard deadlines, but people will now have something to work towards. It’s extremely hard to have a sense of accomplishment everyday, but if you can point to building something solid after a few days, weeks, or months then people will have that sense of accomplishment and show them how it fit into your plan.
• You can measure success against what you now have:
If you released a feature and it accomplished 1 of the 3 goals (customer acquisition, engagement, or monetization) then you have achieved success. Sure it might not be to the level you’d like, but you can at least see if its adoption and usage achieve that goal. This also makes it lot easier to prioritize whether or not you want to develop the feature further, enhance it, or simply abandon it altogether.
Remember, a good product roadmap demonstrates that you have carefully considered your product lines and target markets. It highlights your product focus, and reduces the likelihood that you will be distracted by related markets.