Visualizing Product Dependencies for Better Alignment

Posted by Maziar Adl
Maziar Adl
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Illustration: product team leaderModern product development has many moving pieces to oversee and align. The key to staying on top of product development is to use sophisticated product roadmapping tools that keep the relevant stakeholders up-to-date in real-time. A product roadmap management software that focuses on clear visuals and advanced filtering options creates transparency and alignment across the portfolio. Transparency is essential for many reasons, including informing executives on product progress, coordinating stakeholders on decision-making, and prioritizing ideas based on company goals. 

There is a lot of data and important information to manage within the product roadmap. Having visuals to map out, track, and analyze makes it easier to process this information. Without a visual map, important details become lost. This is especially important when it comes to product dependencies. But how do companies know where the dependencies are and their impact? The best place to start is to understand and map the dependencies.  


Understanding Dependencies

teamwork_2A dependency in a product roadmap is when a task, component, resource, or stage can hinder or hold up the product development process. For example, this could mean that one team needs to finish building their part of the product before the next team can start working on their portion. Let’s use cyber-physical products as an example. 

In cyber-physical product development, the software portion of the product design can happen in a concentrated amount of time with teams working in remote places if necessary. With the physical part of the product, or hardware, the time it takes to build and manufacture is longer. Hardware components must be sourced, parts must be assembled, and sometimes shipping is involved before the software portion is integrated. Only once both sides of the product are seamlessly combined can the launch and distribution phase happen. 

The software depends on the completion of the hardware. If there is a delay in assembling the physical product, the software team will also face a delay. When complications arise, there will be an impact on the product plans.

Dependencies can involve a range of factors, including the following: 

  • Task dependencies - when one task relies on the completion of another. 
  • Resource dependencies - when development relies on an available resource, such as a component, material goods, or labor. 
  • Technological dependencies - when a feature requires technological developments to finish before the feature can be implemented. 


The Challenges of Unseen Dependencies

Illustration: unseen trapDependencies are inevitable in complex product development, which is why it is vital to identify them, map them out, and plan around them. Knowing when and where dependencies occur is crucial for the alignment of timelines, stakeholder expectations, and quality assurance. When dependencies are identified on the product roadmaps, it gives product managers and executives clear oversight. Let’s look at some of the challenges that arise when dependencies are hidden or completely missed. 



Dependencies between different tasks or components can directly impact the overall timeline of a project. When tasks are dependent on each other, delays in one task can lead to cascading delays in subsequent tasks. This lack of alignment in schedules can lead to missed deadlines and increased time-to-market.


Resource Allocation

Dependencies can also affect the allocation of resources (including personnel) within a project. If resources are tied up in one task, it can impact the progress of other tasks that require the same resources. Knowing where and when resources are needed in advance helps your product managers make strategic allocation decisions that keep development moving forward and timelines on track. Misalignment in resource allocation can result in inefficiencies, with resources being underutilized or overutilized, leading to increased costs and decreased productivity.


Scope Management

Dependencies can influence the scope of a project by determining which features or functionalities require prioritization based on their dependencies. If specific dependencies are not identified or addressed appropriately, it can lead to scope creep or incomplete deliverables, affecting the overall alignment of project goals with customer expectations.


Quality Assurance

Dependencies can impact the quality assurance process by influencing the testing and validation of various components or features. If dependencies are not managed well, it can result in incomplete or inadequate testing, leading to quality issues and product defects. This lack of alignment in the testing process can compromise the overall quality and reliability of the product and decrease customer satisfaction.


Stakeholder Expectations

Dependencies can also affect the alignment of stakeholder expectations with project outcomes. When stakeholders are unaware of or do not understand the dependencies involved in the project, it can lead to miscommunication and misunderstandings regarding timelines, deliverables, and priorities. This lack of alignment in stakeholder expectations can result in dissatisfaction and strained relationships with key stakeholders.


The Power of Visualizing Product Dependencies

Visual roadmaps make it easier for everyone involved to see the information they need to know. Mapping out dependencies within the roadmap makes it possible to identify potential issues sooner, make decisions to fix alignment problems faster, and have better oversight of the entire roadmap. The power of visualizing dependencies improves transparency, enhances communication, and leads to better decision-making. 


Implementing Dependency Visualization on Product Roadmaps

Illustration: teamworkThe best way to visualize dependencies is to map them out across your product roadmaps and link them together. With Gocious product roadmap management software, you can indicate dependencies, filter for the specific ones you want to see, and share with your teams instantly. A good visual system will give you alerts far in advance if there is an issue in your roadmaps due to a dependency. The sooner you know an issue is on the horizon, the quicker you can evaluate solutions and make adjustments to avoid bottlenecks in the development process. 


Best Practices and Tips for Managing Dependencies 

Knowing where and what your dependencies are will help your product management teams improve the efficiency of development and reduce redundancies where possible. The following basic best practices can help organizations minimize risks, improve project alignment, and enhance overall project success.


Map Dependencies with Product Roadmap Management Software

Product dependencies have a significant impact on the alignment of various aspects within the product development process, including timelines, resource allocation, scope management, quality assurance, and stakeholder expectations. By identifying, managing, and visualizing dependencies effectively, organizations can improve alignment, streamline processes, and enhance overall project success. 


Book your free demo with our product team to see how Gocious product roadmap management software makes it easy to visualize dependencies across your product portfolios. 


Topics: Product Roadmap

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