The big moment has arrived. It's time to share your product roadmap with your team and get their input. Learn how to set up and lead this meeting to maximize your chance of getting alignment.
- Once you've created a straw man product roadmap of your own, you're ready to get together your product stakeholders to review and hopefully approve your roadmap. This is the most crucial step in the whole process. Remember, the purpose of the product roadmap is not the document itself, but the alignment of the different product stakeholders around the development plan that your roadmap represents. You'll want to plan and run this critical meeting in close collaboration with your business leader like your CEO or general manager since they directly manage most of the product stakeholders and have the authority to ask for their participation.
At the start of the meeting, explain the goal, to emerge with a shared product roadmap that all stakeholders fully support and can use in their own planning. The first item on the agenda should be a quick review of your product strategy. Explain that it's the foundation and that the roadmap must be designed to implement the strategy. It's critical that you check for alignment at this stage. If your team isn't aligned on the strategy, it's pointless to discuss the roadmap. The second item on the agenda is to review the development capacity of your team.
Have your development leader present the team's capacity and explain how their time will be spent on things other than new product development such as bug fixing and engineering-driven projects. Next on the agenda should be a walk through of your product roadmap straw man. Present each milestone one at a time as well as the strategic objective for each. Try to get through all the milestones before you start making changes just so people know everything under consideration. Remind the team that each of the milestones has an associated developer time estimate and that the releases on the roadmap are designed to fit within the limited resources.
At this point, ask your team what they wish was different in the straw man. It's important in this step to hear some diverse opinions about the roadmap. This is how you'll actually surface the important issues facing the business. I found that it's best to modify the product roadmap directly in the meeting so everyone can see the consequences. It's best to work together using a live spreadsheet. It's critical that when you agree to move one milestone up to an earlier release date or time period, you also then have to remove other milestones of equal size to compensate and push them back to a later date.
This is how you show the team the tradeoffs of the decisions they are making. Sometimes this will result in negotiations or trading between team members. For instance, one person might give up a feature in the next quarter to gain something else immediately. This can help resolve disagreements. As you proceed, keep inviting the group to think about the future success of the business rather than just their own interests. In the best case, the team will reach consensus. Of course, it's not always possible to get the whole team to agree fully with the roadmap.
But you do need to make sure that the whole team is aligned with the decision. In this case, it's your business leader's job to make the final decision and check for alignment with the rest of the team. If you haven't gotten to this point by the time the meeting is over, schedule a followup session to resume the process. At the end of the meeting, everyone should be looking at the revised product roadmap in the spreadsheet and agreeing to support it publicly. There you have it. Congratulations, you've just built yourself a product roadmap.
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