Can someone share good examples and templates for creating a Product Roadmap?


9 Replies

Hi Khushboo,

I think the first question is what type of roadmap are you trying to create? And to determine that, we need to know what problem you are trying to solve. As product managers, we have to communicate with many audiences in varying levels of detail. A high-level roadmap for a board presentation looks very different than a detailed features roadmap sharing status.

The first step is understanding the right level of information for your audience. Then you can choose or create the roadmap that best serves your needs. 

I know this because I'm now lucky enough to work and speak with thousands of product managers who use Aha! Before that, I spent three years leading a product team at a SaaS company, where I needed many different roadmaps as the business grew and needs changed. 

In that job, I used these roadmaps most often:

  • Strategy roadmap (for board presentations and high-level planning)
  • Release roadmap (for sales and marketing)
  • Features roadmap (for product team updates)

While different organizations will use different roadmaps, here is a breakdown of common roadmap examples and how they are used:

Strategy Roadmap

It all starts with strategy. Before you start planning out features and releases, you should know what high-level goals and initiatives you want to accomplish. Your strategy roadmap guides the more granular roadmaps you use throughout the year. 




Portfolio Roadmap

Organizations with many complex product lines and products often use the portfolio roadmap, which allows you to communicate updates across several businesses, divisions, or product lines.

The more products and product lines that a team manages, the harder it is to stay in sync. As the product team and business grows, it can be more difficult to understand how each product relates to the overall business strategy and key initiatives. That is where the portfolio roadmap can be a real asset. 

Releases Roadmap

As you bring a product or new release to market, the releases roadmap can help you plan and manage work that happens across the business. This roadmap is also helpful when managing a suite of products that need to be released at the same time.

With a releases roadmap, teams working independently can see how product releases relate to each other and highlight dependencies. 

Features Roadmap

This roadmap helps you communicate how the planned work will impact the high-level strategy. Because this roadmap is the most granular, I used it with my product team when tracking progress and dates. You might have a features roadmap for your internal team as well as an external one for sharing external dates with customers. 

All of the roadmaps mentioned above were created in Aha! -- there is a free 30-day trial if you're interested. In addition, Aha! provides over 40 product management report and roadmap templates.

There is not one roadmap example that is one-size-fits-all. And a three-person startup will have to communicate very different information than a multinational corporation.

Product managers need many different ways to visualize their work, show what is coming next, and explain why their team is building specific features. Luckily, there is a roadmap that is right for the task.

Good to know that, thanks for sharing.

What about roadmap documents? Few companies are more strict about having roadmap documentation before going into a visual tool, do you have examples of such document formats as well?

All of the visualizations in Aha! are tied to your actual data. How you choose to display it can be configured to meet your company standards and your individual needs.

Any of these screens can be exported to a web notebook or PDF and shared. Most product teams do their daily work defining features from the features board.

Or you can view all your features in a list report like this:

The flexible reporting tied to your data means you can create just about any report you need. For example, it only takes a few minutes to create a pivot report that shows the leadership team which initiatives are impacted by each upcoming release and when — even across multiple products.

It really comes down to what you are trying to communicate. But gone are the days of creating and recreating different visualizations from scratch and manually updating them. When all of your roadmaps and reports are tied to your product data, deciding how you want to display the information becomes much quicker and easier.

Roadmap templates make it easy to capture and communicate your product plans. And they can save you a lot of time.

Here are 16 free Excel and PowerPoint roadmap templates that might be a good starting point. You can choose from a wide range of examples and tailor each roadmap to your specific needs. If you want to collaborate with colleagues on your roadmaps in real time, we encourage you to give Aha! a try. Our free 30-day trial includes hundreds of additional strategy and roadmap views.

I hope this helps!

"We’ve allocated 100% of our resources to the roadmap. We’ll use the other 100% of our resources for special requests." — Steve Johnson, Under10 Playbook

I generally work with two types of roadmaps: a strategy roadmap (which spans a couple of years) and a feature roadmap (showing everything we actually have in planning mode).

The feature roadmap is similar to one you'd find in most roadmapping tools. This example is from Under10 Playbook.

Feature roadmap


Strategy Roadmap

This template is from my workshop on roadmapping. Here, we're looking beyond features to team allocation, market events, targeted personas, and so on. I also include "last year" so I can call out the large or small number of teams assigned as well as "surprises and gotchas" that occurred last year that affected this year's plans.

As you can imagine, this could drive a very long discussion.

The big issue with roadmaps is this: you think it's a plan; everyone else thinks it is a commitment. Alas, if you publish it, it's a commitment.

I wrote a blog post about building your own product roadmap template. The reason why I suggest building your own template is because you can customize it to fit your product and team's needs. Hope this helps!

Hi Khushboo!

We recently collected the best roadmap templates we could find and put them all in one place: https://usefyi.com/templates/roadmap-templates/

I hope my answer helps!

How about these? :)

If a product was a building, a product roadmap would be the blueprint. In other words, you can’t even begin to build a successful product without a coherent product roadmap.

You'll agree with me when I say that a product roadmap is an important document for both your internal teams and external stakeholders and it has several important advantages, the main ones being:

  • Providing the framework for your product development process
  • Keeping all the stakeholders on the same page (including your team, investors and even customers)
  • Helping to predict how much development power will be necessary to deliver the features you’re planning

And that is the reason why your product roadmap needs to be flexible and made with a toolset that allows you to customize and merge the data you wish to make your product roadmap with.

In the images above, you can see how our team used Kanban + Spreadsheet to organize features for our app, alongside custom fields such as Labels, Dates, Text (User Stories), etc.

If you feel like this could be your solution, feel free to check out our Practical Product Management Guide, made to help you build the right products, the right way.

It includes 22 educational articles (divided by 5 Chapters, 'Product Roadmap' being one of those), then templates to apply the knowledge, and a tool to execute the framework.

Cheers!

Product roadmap templates can take many forms, but basically, an agile roadmap consists of a multilayer, chart association, which is based on the time factor, allowing to link technology development to market trends and driving forces. It’s true that visual roadmap examples can also be manually designed as a PowerPoint or Visio diagram, but visual roadmapping usually refers to an existing tool with existing designed templates, where you only need to enter the data rather than wrestle with PPT SmartArt, ClipArt and other forms of art. The beauty of working with an existing (usually web-based) tool, is that they often come with a variety of views for displaying your roadmaps, according to need and convenience.

Highly recommend Craft.io for product roadmapping!!

Fully Customizable

Present your product goals in a traditional timeline view, or switch to release to display your plans in neat columns. The Craft product roadmap software also allows you to choose whether to show or hide dates, goals and initiatives.

Add Swimlanes

Use swimlanes to create parallel visual roadmaps for different teams or groups — such as product, marketing and engineering — to make it clear how the various roadmap items align. This will allow you to create a business roadmap that showcases the overall company vision and strategy.

Share Your Roadmaps

Communicate your agile product plans by sharing roadmaps with internal colleagues or external stakeholders in just a couple of clicks. Send them a live view URL that will always be updated if you make changes, or export a PDF