As a product manager, you might be asked to create a roadmap. This document can take many forms, but it's essentially a plan that details the various stages of the product. The product roadmap will include what the final product should look like and when released. Building this document can seem intimidating, but a great product manager can use their skills and knowledge of user experience, market research, and business strategy to create an insightful roadmap in just a few hours. This article is for you whether you're new to product management or you've been called on once again to build your company's next big thing.
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What is meant by Product Management?
Product management is a complex field that is often misunderstood. Product management involves everything from creativity and discovery to marketing and sales. Product management is looking at the big picture and mapping out the best path for the company and its future products.
In a nutshell, product managers are responsible for managing the process of creating new products. Depending on the company, a product manager might also be responsible for marketing, sales, and creating strategy. There are many different types of product management jobs. Some product managers work for software companies and are responsible for managing new software development. Others work in healthcare, manufacturing, or agriculture, where the product is something other than software.
It's important to clarify that product management is not project management. It's true that project managers and product managers both put out fires and meet deadlines, but their areas of influence differ significantly. Product managers create long-term plans and map everything from the initial idea to the product rollout and maintenance. On the other hand, project managers are tasked with managing the daily activities related to a single project. While it is true that project managers often have some level of influence on the overarching product, this happens on a smaller scale. A product manager may suggest a new feature for the software, but the project manager manages the team responsible for actually building it.
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What is a Product Roadmap?
A product roadmap is a long-term plan that details your company's products and features. A roadmap shows the current state of the product, the future state, and the various stages or phases of development in between.
A roadmap is an excellent tool for communicating with your team and stakeholders. It can also help bring new employees up to speed on your product and company. It can be presented as a document or an interactive digital tool that can be easily shared and kept up to date.
Product roadmaps often break development into stages. These stages are commonly called the product roadmap phases. The phases will vary from company to company and product to product, but here are some typical examples. The first phase is research and discovery. This is when the product manager gathers feedback from potential customers and team members.
The next phase is idealization. This stage is when the product manager and the rest of the team brainstorm ideas for the product.
The next phase is prioritization. The product team decides what to build first and what can be saved for later.
The last phase is execution. This is when developers and designers get to work building the product.
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Difference between Product Management and Project Roadmap?
As we mentioned above, product management and project management are two very different skill sets. So, what is the difference between the two? While project managers are tasked with managing and overseeing a single project, product managers are responsible for the company's overall success and its products. A single project may be broken down into smaller tasks and given to a project manager to manage.
On the other hand, a product manager will likely oversee several projects at once. Project managers are typically short-term hires, while product managers work toward long-term goals. Product managers oversee the development of new and existing products. Product managers are involved in everything from creativity and discovery to marketing and sales. Product managers are tasked with looking at the big picture and mapping out the best path for the company and its future products.
What does a Product Roadmap include?
Now that we've explored what a product roadmap is let's walk you through creating one as a product manager. The best way to approach building a product roadmap is to follow a simple 5-step process.
Understand the Product Vision
The product vision is a broad overview of the company's product. It should be just a few sentences that outline what the product is designed to do and why customers will love it. Your product vision will likely be different from your company's vision. The product vision is specific to each product. It will help you get a good idea of your product's strengths and weaknesses. You can use your product vision to create a product roadmap that is realistic and achievable. You can also use it as a guide when bringing new team members up to speed.
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Assess the Current State of Your Product
Once you have a good idea of your product's vision. It's time to look at the current state of the product. You should have a good idea of where your product stands now, but if not, check with your other product managers or the marketing team. You can also ask your customers to understand their pain points better. Once you have a better idea of your product's current state, you can create more accurate product roadmap phases. At this point, you can also decide if you want to include additional documents as part of your product roadmap. For instance, if building a new product is part of your product roadmap, you may want to include a user story map to break down the different features and functionality of the product.
Determine Your Product Roadmap Phases
Once you have a better idea of your product's current state and the vision for the future, you can start building your product roadmap phases. Every product is different, so there is no standard number of phases. Dig into your company's goals and what makes your product unique. Your product roadmap phases should take all of these things into account. You should consider the following when deciding on your product roadmap phases: If your product is a new feature or product, you don't need to start from scratch. You can use several proven methods to create a roadmap in just a few hours.
Determine the Release Schedule for Your Product Roadmap Phases
Once you have a product roadmap that is realistic and achievable, it's time to determine the release schedule. A release schedule shows when your product roadmap phases will be released. It's important to note that you don't have to adhere to this schedule once published. You can still change release dates as needed. The release schedule is there to help you keep track of the big picture. The best way to determine the release schedule for your product roadmap is to break it down by quarter. You can break it down by month if you're working on a very large product. The release schedule for your product roadmap phases can follow one of three general release types: Progressive, parallel, and phased.
Create a Detailed Product Roadmap
Once you have decided on your product roadmap phases and their release schedules, it's time to create a detailed product roadmap. The product roadmap can be broken down in a number of ways, but most product managers prefer a visual approach. The best method for creating a detailed product roadmap depends on your chosen roadmap phases. If you want to keep it simple and go with a single roadmap that includes all of your phases, you can use a flowchart. If you want to go more in-depth, you can create a product roadmap timeline. These are the most common methods used to create a detailed product roadmap.
Product lifecycle management
A product lifecycle map is a great tool that can help you visualize the various development and marketing stages for your product. It's important to note that the lifecycle map will vary depending on the product. The product lifecycle can also change as time goes on. That being said, there are a few general stages that almost all products go through: Inception, Research and Development (R&D), Marketing and Sales, and Operations. The lifecycle map can be applied to almost any product, from software to hardware.
A product roadmap is a long-term plan that details your company's products and features. A roadmap shows the current state of the product, the future state, and the various stages or phases of development in between. Product roadmaps often break development into stages. Product managers oversee the development of new and existing products. Product managers are involved in everything from creativity and discovery to marketing and sales. The best way to approach building a product roadmap is to follow a simple 5-step process. The product vision is a broad overview of the company's product. It will help you get a good idea of your product's strengths and weaknesses. You can also use it as a guide when bringing new team members up to speed.
The product roadmap can be broken down in several ways, but most product managers prefer a visual approach. The release schedule for your product roadmap phases can follow one of three general release types: Progressive, parallel, and phased. If your product is a new feature or product, you don't need to start from scratch.