6 Things Your Product Manager Needs To Know About Product Roadmaps

6 Things Your Product Manager Needs To Know About Product Roadmaps

Agile roadmap software is one of the most versatile tools available to product managers in any business. It provides a dynamic means of communication with your team members, keeping everyone on task and working towards the shared vision. Product managers who embrace dynamic product roadmapping open a whole toolbox based on the agile format.

1. Product development is iterative rather than total.

A traditional product roadmap charts the development of your product from inception through delivery in stages that trickle down to the finished version. The consumer receives a product that exists in its final form as a result of rigorous and exhaustive testing and revision through a lengthy development process. Every stage of the process receives the “whole cloth” of the previous stage to send on or send back. An iterative process develops the product in stages, with teams working in parallel to address multiple portions of the final product simultaneously. Even the consumer takes part in the revision process, receiving a finished product and providing feedback for the next iteration. There is an expectation that every generation will be more robust than the previous one.

2. The growth cycle of the product is organic.

Every iteration of the product clarifies the final vision. Your software will track every revision and feature request from initial suggestion through development. You can expect to both remove and install features as the team tracks the growth of the product. This process offloads the bulk of the pressure from the initial stages of conception, allowing the product to grow organically in response to internal and external stimulus. Helpful features are retained while extraneous features fall away.

3. The market provides essential external stimulus.

Most of the pressure to develop your product will come from the demand to fill a need within the market. This is your cue to add a new feature into your roadmap, effectively steering your product in the direction of consumer response. As your roadmap evolves, you will be able to accurately chart which features have fallen into disuse and need to be deprecated. You will also gain valuable insight into potential shortcomings of your product, allowing you to anticipate necessary changes.

4. You can tailor the output of your roadmap to your audience.

Agile software enables you to control the presentation of your roadmap based on the interests and informational needs of your audience. The roadmap itself undergoes no actual changes, but displaying or emphasizing selected portions of the entire program empowers clear communication horizontally between teams and vertically with management. Team workflow becomes more efficient, producing a more desirable iteration with less communications noise.

5. The product manager does not require group consensus.

At the end of the road, the product manager is the one who must sign off on final delivery. Along the road, significant decisions will need to be made. Market responses will need to be aggregated and interpreted. All of this responsibility falls on the shoulders of the product manager. Your roadmap not only empowers the team to provide feedback during development, it allows the manager to give effective direction to everyone involved in the process.

6. There is no GPS for your product.

Even agile roadmap software can only help the product manager chart the course. It’s a bit like having the world’s most flexible compass and sextant. You define the desired destination and note changes to the journey along the way. Continually referring to your roadmap keeps your product on the correct development track. Other product maps may provide useful data, but every project brings unique challenges. Agile software is a powerful and flexible tool, but it’s still just a tool.

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