Andrey Drozhzhin is the Product Manager of Goals by KeepSolid, a Goal Management Software built around MBO (Management by Objectives)
As travelers map their route to navigate to their final destination, modern teams need a product roadmap to lead them to quickly achieve their goals. The product roadmap enables teams to efficiently plan, communicate and implement a strategy for building a product, as well as track the teams’ performance.
The roadmap is a tool that visually represents the strategy of the product development. It helps everyone from the product owner to developers and stakeholders get on the same page, and to integrate insight from the team members into the common understanding of the plan.
With so many options on the market, it may be hard to choose the best product roadmap software for the company. Of course, finding the right roadmap tool depends on many factors, such as product specifications, company culture, budget, etc. However, there are some features that are universally important for any product roadmap software. When choosing product roadmap software for your business, it is crucial to consider the following features:
- Flexibility is key to product development, so a good roadmap tool should allow for easy ongoing updates. As the industry makes new developments, competitors move on the market, and customers adjust their preferences, it is important to be able to reflect these changes on the roadmap so that teams can quickly adjust their strategy.
- While flexibility allows for tactical adjustments, the roadmap also needs to give the stakeholders a good understanding of an overall strategy that doesn’t shift too much. Seeing the big picture is important for efficiency, and this should be reflected in the functionality and design of the roadmap software. Some roadmap tools make it possible to have both a helicopter view and an ability to zoom in on the smallest details.
- The roadmap has to be easy to share, so that every party involved can be brought up to date at any moment. This will ensure cohesion across the company, which will make achieving the company’s goals more efficient. It may be necessary to tweak the product roadmap before the presentation depending on the audience, as the executives and the developers may be interested in different levels of data and granularity. If the product roadmap software provides the ability to organize items into thematic units, it will help to not just easily share the roadmap with the according stakeholders, but also to grasp the whole picture and track the progress of different teams.
- The product roadmap software has to be collaborative. Every member of the team should be able to easily contribute to the roadmap in order to quickly move toward the common goal. It is also important that each stakeholder can track how their efforts contribute toward the common goal.
- A roadmap needs to make it possible to apply strategic management approaches when in use. One of the popular approaches to use in roadmapping is Objectives and Key Results, or OKR. This framework helps to set large goals and to break them down into smaller, more well-defined tasks. Such a framework increases employee engagement and efficiency, as well as makes it easier to measure outcomes. An OKR approach lets you set goals, subgoals, tasks and milestones, setting dependencies, defining key results, etc. Another approach, Management By Objectives, or MBO, is focused on clearly defining objectives for employees. Choosing between these two approaches depends on company goals, business type, leadership style, and more.
6. Product roadmap software should be offering different templates rather than being all-purpose. It has to take into consideration the kind of project a team is working on, as well as other factors. There are different templates that would work best for a single product roadmap, and others that would be more efficient with a multiple product roadmap. There may also exist an agile product roadmap template. It will be more detailed, making it easier to concentrate on short-term goals. Such a roadmap may work the best for release planning.
In summary, to choose the perfect product roadmap software for their company, one has to do research to confirm that the tool has the features that would make the company’s team as productive as possible. For that, the product roadmap software has to combine flexibility, dynamic views, shareability and collaborative ability, allow for use of goal-setting frameworks, and provide different templates depending on the type of the project.