A New Approach to Roadmapping

Posted by Maziar Adl on 9/20/22 6:00 AM
Maziar Adl
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How to communicate product roadmaps across teams and departments with agility and clarity.

What’s Inside?

 

Why a New Approach to Roadmapping is Necessary

Creating and selling products is a complex and rewarding business, and it doesn't happen automatically or overnight. Designing and manufacturing products that delight your customers and offer value to their daily lives requires careful market research, meticulous planning, and years of effort. This is why we create roadmaps for our products; to maintain organizational strategies that keep every moving piece of the business on track. 

Every Product Manager (PM) spends a significant amount of their time managing product roadmaps. Having the strategic vision laid out for the brand, along with each product line, makes roadmap management more efficient. When PMs lack adequate tools and software to clearly see the value propositions in each product and the progress of each roadmap, and communicate the numbers, their daily tasks become ongoing struggles instead of successes.  

Gocious PRM Screenshot: Financial Roadmap

At Gocious, we believe it is paramount to consider the needs of the PM while making product roadmapping software. This is where Gocious PRM software is different from other product roadmapping tools on the market. We're not only concerned with tracking accurate data and improving strategic timelines; we're focused on making the PM's job easier with high-level overviews and easy-to-share visuals. Gocious Product Roadmap Software answers all the needs your PM has and then some. 

We provide PMs with tools that provide high-level oversight, cross-functionality, effective collaboration, and customizable metrics for greater transparency across audiences using clear visualizations and long-term roadmaps. 

Let's explore this new approach to product roadmap management in greater detail.

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How High-Level Oversight Leads to Better Decision-Making

Making product decisions is complex and multi-faceted because the best decisions require accurate data, stakeholder contribution, and a clear vision of the product goals. Having these key elements in place makes it easier for Product Managers (PMs) to make confident choices based on evidence rather than gut instincts. 

Key to Decision Making

The best decisions are informed ones, and having the right systems and software in place makes it easier to stay informed at every step of the roadmap. Being able to customize which metrics are tracked and how they display in your roadmap helps you and your PMs zero in on the critical information while pushing the unnecessary noise to the background. 

Strategically shifting dashboards when certain information is displayed is also beneficial when managing stakeholder meetings and mixed team presentations. We'll discuss collaborative communication in more detail in the next section.  

Gocious understands the needs of PMs because we've worked closely with them to learn about their struggles and challenges. This input led us to create features such as high-level dashboards that provide a broad overview of all product lines allowing the PM to easily see which products use which components, which metrics are being tracked, market projections, and roadmap status. This streamlined dashboard helps PMs spot the gaps in their roadmaps faster while also keeping an eye on all brands with one easy view, rather than sifting through layers of charts and graphs full of unnecessary details.

Gocious Software Screenshot: Product Line Overview

When needed, PMs can easily dive deep into the fine details of each product for greater clarity. Having both options to hyper-focus on a product line and also to scan the entire product portfolio gives your PM the ability to understand how decisions will impact the overarching strategy and vision for your products. 

 

How to Communicate Effectively with Cross-Functional Presentations

In companies that have complex product lines and multi-year roadmaps, there is little room for communication errors because they can delay or completely disrupt production. 

Communication is vital in any company regardless of size, output, or industry. Without effective communication, there are higher risks of mistakes, misunderstandings, and confusion. In companies that have complex product lines and multi-year roadmaps, there is little room for communication errors because they can delay or completely disrupt production. 

Product Managers (PMs) are responsible for communicating with many levels of the company, including external partners and executives. Keeping everyone informed and up-to-date can be especially difficult from department to department. Your team can easily improve your communication strategy when you have the right tools at your fingertips. 

 

Stakeholder Meetings

Let's start with your PM because they are the quarterback of any company selling products. Your PM is the one who knows the roadmap inside and out, coordinates and manages all the stakeholders, and reports to the executive officers on important decisions. The PM is in the thick of things, facilitating the product vision to life. 

There are several roadmapping tools on the market that all perform the same basic function: plot out product development with highly detailed charts and timelines. We believe that product roadmap management requires more tools.

Have you ever attended a product meeting with other stakeholders and felt lost by the discussion? Or maybe you watched a presentation that included colorful charts with so much detail, metrics, and arrows that you felt more confused than before? You're not alone! PMs often have no choice but to display one set of data in all presentations, whether it's relevant to the audience or not. At Gocious, we've changed all that. Our software gives PMs the ability to tailor their presentations to their meeting room and accommodate cross-functional presentations. 

Gocious Software Screenshot: Roadmap filter directions

 

Cross-Functional Presentations

One feature that is often missing with most roadmapping software is a versatile presentation tool that can create clean, tailored visualizations for different settings. Consider this: your PM is working from multi-year-long timelines with data sets that correspond to project timelines, engineering, design, production, marketing, customer feedback, and testing. While they do need a detailed view of every aspect of the product roadmap, they don't need all that complex data when making a presentation to the Executive or the sales or marketing team. Similarly, when they're presenting to the engineering team, they don't need to include financial reports or sales projections. 

The best presentations have clarity and are customized for the right audience. This is where Gocious software excels, and our approach to roadmapping diverges from the crowd. Next, let's discuss how to improve collaboration between departments and stakeholders. 

 

How to Improve Stakeholder Collaboration

Product manufacturing teams involve several important stakeholders in the process. Some of the departments your product management team must coordinate with may include, but not be limited to:global-communications

  • Research and Development
  • Engineering
  • Design
  • Finance
  • Project managers
  • Manufacturing
  • Sales
  • Consumer Research
  • Marketing
  • Distribution
  • Executive Officers and Upper Management

This is an involved list of people to work with on a complex project. Not only does each stakeholder handle different information, but they might also be located anywhere on the planet. The PM and their product management team are in charge of coordinating effective stakeholder collaboration and communication. This can only be accomplished with the right tools and software. 

Improving stakeholder collaboration is where Gocious leads the industry. Our software is cloud-based and accessible anywhere your partners have internet and is user-friendly. A major complaint product management teams often bring forth is version control of reports and essential data. When using other products to manage your roadmap, it can be hard to track who has downloaded which version at which time and whether it is accurate. With Gocious, everyone can access the same software, so everyone sees the same data at the same time and can collaborate on shared reports or documents. 

Gocious also has multiple security access settings, so you can ensure the right people have access to the information they need for greater clarity. Users can also upload their reports to share with others in one central location. And when you need to have several partners working on a document, automatic notifications of edits or updates are sent to all other collaborators, so the whole team knows what has changed.

Imagine no longer needing to juggle multiple cloud apps or spreadsheets. No more confusion over version control that someone always manages to get wrong. With Gocious, all your communication and data are located in one central place, so the next time you have a team meeting, you can have confidence that everyone has the same information at their fingertips. 

 

Why Your Roadmap Needs to Include Long-term Planning

Short-term planning works well for digital products that operate on short-term deadlines and frequent release dates. Physical products and industrial manufacturing require long-term planning that spans three, five, and ten or more years down the product line. Gocious software is specifically designed to accommodate and plot out multi-year product roadmaps. Our versatile dashboards allow for high-level views as well as detailed views so you can make strategic decisions for the coming months and see how they will impact your goals years down the line. 

Average Roadmap Duration for a Major Release; Digital Products 6 months, Physical Products 2 Years.

Here are some examples of how long-term planning features are especially useful:

 

Supply Chain Shortages

If a certain material faces a shortage due to environmental or political factors or maybe a sudden shift in consumer demand, your product management team will need to assess your product plans and make several important decisions. If component A is no longer an option for your product line, is it possible to use component B from another market to replace component A? Or do you need to source an entirely new option? 

Supply Chain Shortage

Having an agile roadmapping software enables you to see into the future how these choices will impact your projected market share, profit margins, and timeline. While projections are never guaranteed, they help you make the best possible decisions based on real data. With Gocious, PMs can easily consult with project managers to ensure feature adjustments will work with established timelines. 

 

New Market Research 

Detour Sign, to the RightWhen research and development tests a new product component that performs well with your consumers, the long-term planning features of Gocious PRM software can help your product management teams perform market research to project figures such as market share, profitability, revenue, margins, and cost. An example of this may be a longer-lasting battery, switching from a plastic casing to a bamboo one, or adding a more powerful camera to a cell phone. Knowing these projections paints a clearer picture of whether a component is worth the investment or not. 

 

Limited Editions

Long-term planning features also help your product teams decide whether a change will be profitable or worth the investment. For example, would adding a new color option for a product be worth the investment? Would changing the size of the product be a good choice? Or would a limited edition version be something to explore? Understanding your product vision, knowing your market performance, and understanding the voice of your customer makes it easier to make strategic decisions that benefit your company. 

 

Industry Information and Use Case Examples

We've discussed how Gocious Product Roadmap Software is helpful for your entire company, especially your Product Manager(s). Let's dive deeper into how Gocious can support your stakeholders to move forward with your product goals. 

 

Product Management Teams

Gocious PRM software provides your product management teams with a new way to visualize your roadmaps. The ability to switch between high-level and detailed dashboards allows your product managers to assess opportunities sooner, make better recommendations, and easily monitor data. 

 

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Using PRM software makes the everyday tasks of the product management team less stressful, from collaborating with different stakeholders to communicating with executives to making crucial product decisions. Whether you have one product manager or several working together, having the tools to efficiently monitor the product plans makes it easier to ensure decisions fall in line with the over-arching strategic vision. 

 

Project Management Teams

Effective project management keeps the product roadmap on schedule, and to do so, they need to be part of the bigger discussions. If new features are being considered for the product, it will affect the project's timeline. Similarly, a delay in a portion of the product development will impact the over-arching roadmap, and PMs need to know about it. An accessible PRM software allows project managers to communicate and collaborate more easily with the PM. Gocious software helps streamline the communication between Project and Product Managers to move the entire product forward to achieve company goals. 

 

Plan-Detail-screens-1

 

Engineers

Feature DetailsYour product roadmap is your essential tool for collaborating with other departments, especially your engineering team. Gocious PRM software enables your product manager to have real-time interactions with the engineering department through shared documents. If a product requires a shift in features to offer value to the customer, the product manager can immediately communicate those details to the engineers.

Customizable user profiles also empower the product manager to assign only the essential metrics and dashboard views to the engineering team, so they aren't bothered with marketing statistics or sales data that is irrelevant to their work. It also allows their team to provide updates to the rest of the stakeholders with fewer delays. Your engineers may or may not be working in the same location as your product manager, and that should not matter. What is essential is having consistent, clear communication on the brand's vision and the desired outcome of creating the best possible product. 

 

Designers

communicate-globallyYour design team may collaborate with your engineering team, but this doesn't mean they speak the same language regarding the product. Design teams are visionary, creating practical product ideas that solve the needs and wants of your consumer market. The designers rely on feedback from the customer support team and research from the marketing and sales teams to know what is needed from your product lines. Once their designs are drafted, they rely on the engineering teams to tell them what is possible. 

It falls on the shoulders of the product managers to ensure that design and engineering teams effectively communicate and collaborate to create the best product imaginable. Establishing the main goals alongside desired features and available components for each product line can help designers and engineers streamline their discussions and potential needs to compromise. While these two stakeholders may not always land on the same page in discussions, Gocious PRM software makes it easier to work together. 



Sales Teams

isometric_customer-support_AdobeStock_257166332-[Converted]Your sales team has very different needs than your engineering team and can also provide valuable insight to your product manager. Most product companies will have dedicated customer support teams who can provide insight into the voice of the customer, such as what they love most about the product and where value might be lacking. Your sales team will also have details to share regarding product performance. 

PRM software gives your sales team the tools they need to contribute to the management of your products. For starters, they get access to the defining features of each product in a portfolio so they can find the best buyers for each product. PRM software also allows your sales team to communicate buyer feedback for products on the market, which helps you incorporate the voice of the customer into your stakeholder meetings for discussion and brainstorming.

 

Finance Teams

isometric_financeYour finance team plays a critical supportive voice in the product development process. Product managers may have a vision for the product, while designers and engineers may go back and forth over usability and functionality, but ultimately it is the finance team who will determine if a new feature or new product is viable for the budget. 

At cross-functional meetings, it’s essential to tailor the KPIs and the reporting to the numbers the finance team needs to see. If the market research is sound and reflects the voice of the customer and the sales projections are promising, the finance team will be more likely to support a new feature. If your presentations fail to show the key KPIs that finance needs to see, they may not understand the importance of product changes.  

 

Marketers 

announce-your-productMarketing teams need to know the strategic visions of each product. While your marketing team wants specific details, they don't want to know the specs that your engineering team needs to know. Without knowing the value a product is meant to offer the end-user, they cannot create a marketing strategy to reach the right target audience. 

With Gocious, marketing teams benefit by seeing the big picture of each brand and product without feeling confused over the details that other departments see. The collaborative tools make it easier for marketers to stay in the loop on the metrics that matters to them most and to share thoughts and ideas with other teams. When everyone works from the same truth source, collaboration becomes more effective. 

 

Executives

executives-directionThe executives in your company want to be informed of progress towards company goals at all times. They don't need to know the nuts and bolts of how things are progressing and when each stage is complete. While they want to know that milestones are being achieved on time and on budget, their biggest priority is to know that your team is delivering a product that forwards the company mission and has value to the customer. 

Gocious PRM software provides both detailed and high-level overviews of all your product roadmaps, including entire product portfolios. This allows you to customize your presentations to fit your audience. You no longer need to present busy spreadsheets and complicated charts at executive meetings when you can customize clear visualizations using only the data they need to see. 

While your executives provide the guiding instructions for where the company is headed in the short and long term, they rely on the product manager's expertise to make decisions on products. They also want to know that their product management teams are working efficiently and effectively to deliver the best products. With all the collaboration tools available inside our PRM software, your executives will feel confident knowing you are using Gocious. 

 

The Right Functions for All Your Teams

Now that we've discussed how your collaborators can benefit from using Gocious PRM software, the clear theme is that each department has different needs. Gocious PRM software gives everyone the tools they require to do their job while working alongside others towards the same goal. From our customizable dashboards to collaborative document sharing, we make it easy to stay connected with your stakeholders through efficient and effective communication. 

Gocious product roadmap management (PRM) software makes product management easy for companies that manufacture physical products. Our software is agile and powerful enough to manage your roadmaps, no matter what physical products you produce. From the electronics industry to the automotive sector, Gocious is ready to serve your business vision. Book your free demo with us to see how Gocious can help your company achieve your business goals. 

Topics: product and portfolio roadmap, Product Development, PRM, eBook