A roadmap is an essential tool that guides our actions step-by-step to a destination or goal. Maps on their own have been guiding people from place to place since at least 600BCE. In our modern world, we use different forms of roadmaps for all kinds of things, from travel to reaching personal goals to designing buildings and creating projects. Each industry uses its own terminology, and in the world of creating products, we call it product roadmapping. While it’s fairly straightforward to create a product roadmap, managing that roadmap is a whole other puzzle that we’re about to help you solve.
The Benefits of a Product Roadmap
Your product roadmap is your path to successfully creating great products within an established yet agile time frame. Once you build a product roadmap, you need to ensure you have a strategy in place to keep both your internal and external stakeholders in the loop. Effective management of your product plan only comes when you have an aerial view of the moving pieces in your company and clear communication with your teams. The right tools can make documenting and managing your roadmap a breeze.
Collaboration and Communication
The internal teams that might need to collaborate in your process include the engineers, designers, product management support team, manufacturing managers, sales department, and company executives. Each department will play a different role and will require different levels of information and input. You will also want to coordinate with your marketing department, especially when it comes to product vision and release dates. When collaboration and communication are arranged effectively, it can reduce the workload and stress of the product manager immensely. Product management software can help make this a breeze by setting up access levels for each stakeholder based on the type of information they require access to.
Managing Product Lines
Roadmapping is a buzzword that is often used in the product management world, but what most software companies fail to recognize are the unique needs of the manufacturing sector that have multiple product lines. Companies that create digital products or small-scale physical products have very different needs from large companies that produce a wide range of complex products, such as electronic devices, automobiles, and machinery. These types of companies have extensive product roadmaps that are highly detailed, involve global operations, and overlapping parts and components. Managing these complicated roadmaps can be challenging, but the right tools make the job easier.
Milestones and Metrics
One of the first steps to product roadmapping is to ensure that all milestones for your product lines are recorded on your roadmap. Next, you want to identify the key metrics that should be measured for each product, along with the specific features of each product, where they overlap in the product line, and possible alternative components. Knowing how the features will impact the market share and performance helps you inform your product plans.
Many companies struggle to track and compare their key metrics. Even more, companies fail to make these measurements accessible to all stakeholders, leaving important players out of the loop and unable to help improve the plan. Using a product roadmap and effectively managing it includes sharing successes, failures, and concerns with the entire team in real-time. How can you do that? Using the right product roadmapping software can make all the difference.
Why Use Product Roadmapping Software?
At Gocious, we know that most product roadmapping tools fail to provide the detail and versatility that the manufacturing sector requires. You want software that allows smooth updates, team collaboration, and visually crisp data tracking. The primary reason we created our signature Product Roadmapping Management (PRM) software was to solve those shortfalls in the industry. Our vision was to help deliver clarity to the product manager, empower their decisions, and make their daily workload more manageable. Using software designed to manage multiple products and their roadmaps eliminates the need to juggle spreadsheets, documents, and various versions shared between cloud drives or email.
Imagine how productive team meetings will be when everyone has access to the same reports. Product roadmapping software allows your teams to view the same data in real-time. With Gocious software, the product manager can assign different access levels to different departments. Engineers can input data with editing access, while the sales team might only need to view and print performance projections. Consistent, up-to-date information and statistics reduce your chances of miscommunication and the need to repeat calculations.
Connect Remote Teams
Improving the communication inside your teams can only improve the performance of your teams and products. Regardless of where your people are operating, product roadmapping software brings remote departments together. The collaboration tools inside Gocious allow stakeholders to make changes on documents that alert the other team members in real-time. When everyone is on the same page, everyone feels valued and can work together smoothly.
Product management teams must respond to changes quickly to minimize risk and potential losses. When product managers can see their entire product lines at a glance and in a detailed view, they can respond faster to problems. Suppose a particular component is delayed based on a shortage of material in the supply chain. In this scenario, the product manager can locate all the products that rely on that component and make adjustments to mitigate the problem. This could involve adjusting the release dates of the products, sourcing another part, or pulling one component from another product line that is also compatible and in ready supply.
Product portfolio roadmaps make it easier to identify opportunities to share features and components between products. Optimizing the production can result in lower costs overall and lead to the feature reaching the market on a faster timeline.
Focus On Objectives
Without a roadmap, your teams cannot know which goals are the priority for your portfolio. Confusion can lead to multiple projects draining time and resources rather than setting a clear objective for a few key products. A roadmap creates clarity to pursue the products that will have the highest impact in meeting your targets.
Having a roadmap makes it easier to spot the problems and opportunities when a product fails to meet the needs of the market. Your partners and stakeholders can analyze the same information to create a different plan for the product, rather than wasting time trying to convince each other to change course. When the data is transparent, everyone can work on the same page.
Empowering Product Managers
The product manager is often an unsung hero in the company. Even though their position is integral to the operations, they are often overlooked when it comes to providing specialized tools and software that can improve their workload. Gocious created a product roadmap management software to answer the wishes of product managers everywhere:
- Improve communication
- Increase transparency
- Make accurate projections
- Track metrics easier
- Respond to the market faster
- More efficiency in overseeing and managing products.
Your product manager is the quarterback of your team, and they deserve to have tools that help them perform their best.
Gocious Product Management Software
Gocious software is designed with complex product manufacturing companies in mind. We understand the struggles of your product teams and have developed a suite of features to benefit your business. No matter where your teams are located, everyone can collaborate and contribute together, moving your product lines forward. Book your free demo of the software to see how we can help your business.