It takes a team to build a product roadmap. But it's important to choose that team widely. Learn how to identify the stakeholders that should play a key role in developing your roadmap.
- Choosing which stakeholders to include in the roadmap creation process is incredibly important. If you're missing a key person, it can come back to bite you later. And if you include people who aren't central to the plan's success, it can waste your time or even put a drag on the whole process. Your most important stakeholder, as well as your partner in building the roadmap will be your business leader, usually a CEO or general manager of your business unit. Ideally, this should be someone who leads the business functions other than product development, including sales, marketing, and customer support.
You'll need this business leader to allocate the resources, especially the headcount, and you'll need them to remind each of the stakeholders to prioritize the tasks necessary for roadmap success. For this reason, you must include them early and often in the process of your roadmap development. They must feel complete ownership, like the product roadmap you developed together is their own. Next, you probably also need your sales leader, like your VP sales or chief revenue officer, since they have to hit the sales targets based on the product roadmap, and you don't want friction there.
Let's face it, companies tend to organize efforts around revenue streams and the sales leader will have the ability to rally other resources to make the roadmap successful. The third person you need onboard is your product development leader. They'll be responsible for organizing and motivating their team to hit the roadmap milestones. In many companies, this is likely to be your chief technology officer or VP of engineering. In large organizations, it may not be easy to identify your stakeholders, because the teams are organized functionally.
You might need a person deep inside the sales group, another from inside the engineering group, and so on, each of whom report up into their own larger functional organizations. When you're working across groups, there may not be a single clear business leader. In these cases, I've often found it useful to use the sales leader as your business leader. So that's the core team for roadmap development, the product leader, you, the business leader or CEO, the sales leader, and the product development leader.
In many cases, a team like this can develop a strong roadmap that effectively guides product development over the long-term. That said, it can be useful to include other stakeholders in the process, at least for some key decisions. For example, if you have a strong operations leader, like a chief operating officer or a VP of customer service and you have a product that is going to require a lot of operational work, it can be valuable to include them too. But whomever you choose to include, make sure they will be adding to and not distracting from the process.
This course shows how to build a product roadmap for your business—and gain critical stakeholder buy-in. See examples of what roadmaps might look like, and spend time learning the tools and techniques necessary to map the projects for your specific organization. Instructors Teg Grenager and Eldad Persky help you create strong, dynamic roadmaps that will ensure your team is working on the right projects at the right time.
- What is a product roadmap?
- Roadmaps in agile organizations
- Selecting stakeholders
- Researching customers
- Identifying milestones
- Estimating effort
- Maintaining the roadmap