How Effective Roadmaps Can Save You Time

Posted by Maziar Adl
Maziar Adl
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Screenshot: Path to targetThere's no doubt product management is a complex process. First, you have to identify great products that will perform effectively so you can meet your company goals. Then you have to manage the functions that will get the product built efficiently and on time. 

A product roadmap is a useful tool that, when used properly, can help manage product development and save you time in the process. Let's see how this can be accomplished. 


What Is a Product Roadmap?

A product roadmap is a communication tool that allows you to relay the product vision to stakeholders, executives, and product teams. A roadmap serves as a high-level visual document that defines the strategic plan for the product and encompasses the short, mid, and long-term goals within it. By aligning your team members effectively to a cohesive product strategy, they can work together to meet the business goals.

Gocious Roadmap Software Screenshot

From a product manager's perspective, a well-designed roadmap will allow them to gain a high-level view of all of the product development functions that are happening at any given time. This perspective is vital so that they can change course if needed and keep the development process moving forward.


How to Use a Product Roadmap to Save Time

While traditional roadmapping relies on several disparate applications to guide the development process, product roadmap management software combines multiple functions within one platform. There are many time-saving features that product roadmap management tools offer. 


Eliminate Multiple Software Applications

Excel spreadsheets are perfect when working with numbers, text documents are ideal when creating reports, and PowerPoint presentations are the go-to when presenting information to executives and product teams. The problem is that all of these documents take time to create. Not to mention, any updates to your product plan will require you to re-create and re-distribute these documents multiple times. Additionally, sending reports over email may also result in problems with outdated information and a lack of version control. 

You can save yourself time and improve your efficiency by eliminating multiple applications and focusing on only one. Product roadmap tools are versatile, so you can easily get your message across while streamlining the communication process at the same time. 


Your Single Source of Truth

Illustration: Communication between members of organization When it comes to sharing data, how do you know if everyone has the most up-to-date information and that your teams are on the same page? Product roadmap management software eliminates the problem of outdated information and version control by housing all of your documents on one unified platform. The software is based in the cloud for easy access. As a result, when you create your product roadmap, this exact document will be viewable by your teams in North America and across the globe.

Not having to re-create and resend information periodically to your product teams will save you time so you can deal with the more important tasks on your plate. As for your teams, this single source of truth provides clarity on the product goals. When they know that information is easily accessible and current, the roadmap focuses their activity, so they can move forward efficiently to meet the product goals.


Visual Roadmaps are Easy to Manage

By visually representing your product strategy, you are better able to define the production process and communicate the strategy to your teams. While your main product roadmap will identify the goals that need to be achieved within a specified time frame, other roadmaps also tie in. 

For example, any relevant teams will have their own roadmaps to work from, such as sales or marketing, or finance. The leads of each team will communicate with each other and the product manager using these tools. This will also help to identify and prioritize the tasks that must be fulfilled within their specific function.


Real-Time Collaboration

Illustration: Teamwork and Collaboration Product roadmap tools also enable collaboration in real time and help enhance productivity during meetings. You can use roadmap tools to inform participants about meetings in advance and share relevant documents ahead of time. With your roadmap and other documents readily accessible to your teams online, you don't have to spend hours emailing attachments to everyone. 

With the documents viewable to everyone during the meeting, you can easily update and amend the details as the meeting is happening. This removes the time-consuming task of lengthy note-taking. It also eliminates the need for recreating and re-distributing new documents afterward. Instead, you and your teams can focus on collaborating more effectively and holding productive and relevant meetings. 


Track Dependencies

When building multiple products within a product line, there is likely to be considerable overlap with many of the components used. In recent years, product manufacturing has been impacted by supply chain disruptions that have delayed production and, in many cases, brought production to a halt. 

Gocious PRM Screenshot: Automotive product plan

When you understand the extent of the dependencies within your product line, you can better manage the disruption. For example, if a particular component is late, you need to understand how it affects your product line and product portfolio. When you know that the component is necessary for three out of seven products in your product line, you can move start of production to focus on the products you can still build and find an alternative solution for the products you can't. 

In either case, the ability to move quickly is key. Your competitors are probably suffering from the same setback. When your roadmap tracks dependencies, it allows you to spot problems faster and pivot quicker to keep up production. The faster you can react, the better you can meet customer demand and get ahead of your competition. 


Quantitative Analysis For Quick Decision Making

When your customer success team receives feedback that suggests adding a new feature, how do you decide what to do? While qualitative research, such as market research, can help, quantitative tools offer the advantage of unbiased quantitative data. 

We recommend using competitive analysis tools to compare your products and their features to competitors in the market. Giving your products a weighted score can help you assess how close your suggested product features align with your product goals. You can also model different feature scenarios using comparative analysis to understand dependencies and analyze the costs of choosing one feature set over another. 


Product Roadmaps for Improved Productivity

Gocious product roadmap management software is designed specifically for the product manufacturing industry. Book your free demo today to see why Gocious product roadmap management software is the tool you need to improve efficiency and enhance productivity within your organization. 

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Topics: Product Roadmap

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