It’s rare for a company to grow with a product that doesn’t change or innovate. There may be success and significant market share following a release date, but over time, that share and popularity will decrease as the competition continues to introduce new features, software upgrades, or improvements in design. The reality is that companies must continuously improve their products to keep and grow their market share.
Prioritizing Strategic Innovation
Knowing that your product needs to improve continuously is one thing, but knowing what to improve and when is critical to achieving business goals. Every product in your portfolio should have a set of objectives and key results (OKRs). Knowing the goals for the product and actual measured results is the only way to tell if a product or a change to the product is successful.
Next, you need to have a method for prioritizing ideas. Which new features or changes will bring the best results for your product? You can make predictions on how a new feature will affect the big picture by using product line projections.
What Are Product Line Projections
A product line projection is when you take an existing product line and project (or forecast) its future performance. Before you make estimates, you first need data. This is where your OKRs are helpful. To track your key results, you’ll have a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) that may include sales performance, revenue, market share, cost, and whichever measurements are relevant to that product.
How Can Product Line Projections Be Used to Set Goals?
Knowing that product line projections or estimates are useful for predicting future performance, here are some examples of how they can be used to set goals. Once you set these goals, you can plan, monitor, and adapt your product strategy to achieve them.
Sales & Revenue
Looking at the past sales and revenue of each product in the product line can help you estimate future sales and revenue or at least know what target you should aim for. Having sales targets for each product is part of the basic product planning process.
Looking at the market share of multiple products can help you predict how much of the market each product will continue to capture. If those results were achieved from regular releases, you could also predict that those numbers may drop unless you continue to add new features or introduce new products to the lineup. The amount of the market you can expect to keep depends on whether or not you continue delivering on the needs of the customers.
Product Life Cycle
Getting a high-level overview of your product line helps you monitor which stage each product is at in the product life cycle. This information allows you to assess when an upgrade, update, or new release is due for that product to keep hitting the projected targets. You’ll also be able to plan when a product should be phased out and replaced by something completely new.
Looking at projections of each product line will help your internal product teams determine which products to develop to make those goals achievable. Your teams can decide which features to prioritize, add, or discontinue based on profits and demand.
When you estimate what revenue each product will bring in, product managers often work with the marketing and sales teams to determine the correct prices for the products in each market and how that pricing strategy will impact the sales and revenue projections. Successful products that make up a larger portion of the market share must be priced right so that the target audience will pay for them.
Projections can also help guide investment decisions. Knowing which products have the highest growth potential or need the most innovation to stay competitive will inform how much to invest in those products.
What You Should Know About Product Line Projections
Projections, by nature, are not set in stone. These numbers are merely estimates made on historical data and market analysis. While they are accurate, based on your figures, many factors could influence the outcomes differently. Staying flexible and creating backup plans can help your team navigate unexpected changes in plans or performance.
Using Product Roadmaps to Stay on Target
Your product performance estimates should not be static. Neither should your product roadmaps. Product roadmaps are living documents that track the performance of your products and help you see your KPIs and OKRs in one central place.
When you visit your product roadmap on a regular basis, you’ll be able to stay proactive in achieving your goals. Successful product roadmapping is not just about planning; it's about executing and continuous improvement. Here are some tips to build a product roadmap that helps you stay on track for your targets.
Keep a Clear Product Vision in Mind
As a product manager, you’ll rarely come up with a vision for your product alone. Your company will have clearly laid out goals for what they want to achieve, and your products will need to align with that vision. When you create a product roadmap, you’ll need to communicate the goals with all stakeholders, as that vision will guide every decision made regarding the product.
A Customer-Centric Approach Keeps Innovation Alive
Keeping the needs of your customers at the forefront fosters innovation and helps you keep ideas fresh to improve on products in new iterations. Gathering feedback and user data enables you to understand what is needed and wanted from your products to keep your market share and possibly expand. Incorporating this information into the roadmap ensures everyone works together toward the same solutions.
Focus and Setting Priorities
It’s vital to prioritize ideas according to the measurements that matter to your company to gain the most impact from the features you introduce. Whichever method of prioritization you use, the most critical detail is to stay focused on your goals and not overload a product with new features to introduce something new.
Maintain Cross-Functional Collaboration
Product development requires the cooperation and collaboration of several teams and departments. The most successful product management teams plan for and ensure that cross-collaboration happens throughout the product development process. Creating new products or improving upon existing models requires input from engineering, design, marketing, and sales, along with product management. Regular updates to your roadmap paired with meetings to discuss issues or questions help keep the roadmap on target to hit your projections.
Keeping the Roadmap Flexible and Adaptable
Market conditions, customer feedback, and business priorities naturally evolve. Product management teams need to keep the roadmaps flexible to adapt to new priorities.
Product Roadmap Management Software Makes Product Line Projections Easier
Using cloud-based product roadmap management software, you can share your updates and changes with your stakeholders to keep everyone aligned and informed. If you want to learn more about how product roadmap management software can help you with your product line projections, book your free demo to find out more about Gocious Software.