Software development is only successful when accompanied by a product roadmap. This is important as it aides the product manager in stating its path, mark progress to stakeholders, realize set goals and explain unforeseen expenditures. With a roadmap, developers are able to focus on creating a great product.
With knowledge of the importance of a roadmap, than why do people struggle to uphold them? They are hard to grasp, the projects are hectic and each team is composed of different people.
1. Random estimation of depth and time
Adding dates and timelines seems like the logical thing to do. This is however very wrong. Most teams struggle and and up doing shoddy work just to meet a deadline.
Solution: Janna Barstow on Prodpad explains that creating themes and working on them focusing on the important parts of the themes. This gets teams off pressure and maximizes on quality results.
2. Eyes on Solutions rather than issues
Most teams start out with great visions of what they want to make. This is many times is never successful as some teams lose themselves in the process. This can only be done if the team refers to the needs that are to be addressed by their invention.
Solution: As Melissa Perri suggests, the roadmap should be created in response to the need, not the solution.
3. Trying to make everyone happy
As soon as you start many people come up with many ideas on what you should do. As the manager, the stakeholders have a say that needs to be respected. The roadmap ends up as a cocktail of failure. When you finally lose some suggestions along the way, Stakeholders will still be disappointed.
Solution: You can simply turn down any idea that does not complement your vision. If you cannot say no to people than create a platform where everyone can contribute and you can choose what to keep.
4. Broken communication between developers and product managers
Many times you find that these two parties do not take the time to listen to each other. Developers should provide useful input on creating an agile roadmap.
Solution: Include the input of developers as they also care about business. Involving them will make the process effective and efficient.
5. Disregard for Research, testing, and Feedback
These three important parts of a roadmap make it sensible. Many times they get sucked out of the process of building the roadmap. The information garnered here ends up getting lost and than the reasons associated with the product’s success and failures are also lost.
Solution: Create ample time and space for research and feedback. There is a tool that can help you with wireframing and prototyping.
6. Ignoring change or feedback
The detailed roadmap can be rigid to changes. A digress from the path may push away stakeholders and investors.
Solution: Any information that is lesslass important to the roadmap should be added to the backlogs.
7. Failing to get BUY-IN
The buy-in is out of the Product Manager’s control. This requires the input of stakeholders and internal team’s investors.
Solution: Presentation of the final product should be well enhanced to get the stakeholders to see the depth of their reactions and the one that was actually met.
A good roadmap can create a good product vision but if mishandled it can run the product to the ground. To succeed, avoid the crazy deadlines, take detailed features to backlogs and to keep up with any developments. Maintain communication with both team and stakeholders but avoid giving in to everything they ask. This will give you ultimate success.