In the world of product manufacturing, roadmaps are essential components in the development process. These tools offer a visual representation of a strategic plan which helps to align product teams to specific goals while creating transparency in the process. While the product roadmap is the tool that leads the product development process, it will differ from other roadmaps your company may be using for engineering, finances, or project management.
The Types of Roadmaps in Your Business
There are several types of roadmaps that are used within a large manufacturing organization. These can include:
- Business roadmaps
- Engineering roadmaps
- Marketing roadmaps
- Product roadmaps
Execution and organization of engineering, business, and marketing roadmaps are usually managed by a project manager. Teams will set their own goals and create their own timelines to meet the objectives defined on the product roadmap.
Project managers work with the product manager and are responsible for the activities in their departments. Let's take a look at the various types of roadmaps that are commonly used in any business organization.
Company leaders often use a business roadmap to communicate the company's vision. This plan will outline clear short, mid, and long-term goals. A clearly defined business roadmap can be presented to banks and investors to raise capital, and they can be used during the growth phase of a company to relay new objectives. They are also useful for publicly traded companies to inform investors of the company's future direction and expectations for success.
Engineering roadmaps are documents that focus on technical features, releases, and milestones and are created by the project manager for the engineering team. These roadmaps define the individual tasks that the engineers must complete to build the finished product. Their activities align with the timelines in the product roadmap.
While these engineering roadmaps are used almost exclusively by the engineering departments, they provide insights to other departments too. Dependencies are closely linked within product manufacturing, and there is often a need to coordinate activities with those of other departments.
Marketing roadmaps are useful for other product teams as they keep the entire organization informed of upcoming campaigns and product launch dates so that activities can be completed on time. The marketing team will put their roadmap in place by gathering important information from the timelines on the product roadmap. This roadmap will be used to define promotional activities around product completion and feature updates.
Sales and marketing will have their own product goals, which may be defined by units sold or revenue. These goals will be highlighted on the marketing roadmap, and the team will organize their marketing activities to meet these goals.
What Does a Product Roadmap Do, and How Is it Different?
A Product Roadmap Is a High Level-Document
A product roadmap is a high-level communication tool that the product manager creates. It outlines the product goals based on the long-term goals of the company and offers a detailed plan for the development of that product over a specified period. An organization may have multiple product roadmaps that align with the different products in each product line.
A Product Roadmap Helps to Promote Alignment
As a visual representation of the product strategy, a product roadmap is an important tool for development teams across the organization as it allows them to recognize and understand when to prioritize features. It also helps them align their product development activities to meet larger business goals.
A Product Roadmap Reflects the Big Picture
A product roadmap is an important tool that is used to relay the product plan to company executives and other stakeholders. For example, a product roadmap that features the financial goals can be presented to company executives to help them understand the big picture more easily. Another way to present a roadmap would be to give a detailed timeline view so that the marketing department can align their campaigns with the product launch and feature updates.
Your Product Roadmap Guides the Way
Product development team relies on cross-functional teams collaborating towards a common end goal. The product roadmap is the principle document that all of your development teams will refer to for direction. When the roadmap contains the key information everyone needs to see, it creates alignment and transparency.
While the product roadmap is the principal document that will guide product development from the idea phase to the launch into the market and beyond, each department will have roadmaps specific to their work.
Why the Product Roadmap Is Essential
While we have established that roadmaps are an essential tool for departments across the organization, the product roadmap requires some specific considerations.
The biggest mistake you can make when creating a product roadmap is to isolate the document. Keeping your roadmap confined within your department leads to the creation of information silos which negatively affects alignment.
Make It Centralized and Accessible
All roadmaps, including the product roadmap, engineering roadmap, and marketing roadmap, should be available on a platform with centralized access. Cloud-based product roadmap tools are useful as they allow quick access at any time and from any location.
Keep All Your Teams Informed and Aligned
A well-managed product roadmap helps the product manager stay on top of their workload and keeps their cross-functional teams informed and on the same page. When all teams know the latest information, they can make better decisions that save time and workload.
Product Roadmaps Are Your Single Source of Truth
A roadmap is not a static document. It changes over time. As your single source of truth, your roadmaps must be managed and updated regularly so they reflect only the most current information.
Who Needs a Product Roadmap?
Product roadmaps are essential for any size manufacturer. It's what keeps your teams on track, your goals communicated, and everyone on the same page. Product roadmap management tools help you manage your product roadmaps more effectively and help support your product managers in their responsibilities and workloads. See how powerful product management software can work for your company. Book a demo,