How To Build a Roadmap For Product Development

How To Build a Roadmap For Product Development

Going to market with a new product is an involved, expensive process. It doesn’t happen in a vacuum; there are stakeholders at every stage that need to be kept in the loop. Having a roadmap for the product development process helps keep you on track throughout the process. 

Keeping Your Project Together

It takes strong leadership and clearly defined goals to keep a project on track. While the development and management teams are both important for the process, communication between the two is the real goal. 

How do you know if your leadership team has what it takes to keep your product development project on time? 

  • Leadership has a clear set of goals
  • There is a process in place to find bugs early in the development process
  • Everyone involved has an understanding of where the profit lies in the product

Know Your Product’s Story

The product roadmap you build needs to make sense. You need to understand the projected path your product will take, and that path needs to move progressively forward. Each step builds on the one before it. 

How to get there? 

The first step is to separate your goals. You will have customers and users (who will not always be the same) and you will have business goals. Break down goals for each segment into further subgoals. As you break the goals into smaller ones for your customer, user, and business development, you will begin to create a path. 

A goal-centered road map doesn’t get bogged down in the details and gives your teams the autonomy to provide their best work. During this stage, it is important to set boundaries regarding outside input on your project. This is prime time for a stakeholder to want features or additions that move the goal post, getting your project off course. 

Stick With Your Plan

Once you have a roadmap in place you need buy-in from your stakeholders to stay on track. Keeping them involved through the development process makes it easier to keep the focus goal-oriented. 

Just because you need everyone on board to achieve buy-in doesn’t mean you need to acquiesce to every request. Keep your goals front and center, and listen to input. Then decide whether the idea just creates noise or whether it aligns with the product goals. 

Using goal-based product development gives you a way to measure progress. With specific goals, it is apparent where you are in the process and whether it is on track. 

What to do if you find your project moving off-course?

Short review cycles are a great way to keep your project on track. Your roadmap should not be so rigid that there is no room for adjustments. Having short periods between reviews allows you to notice problems before your project goes entirely off course. 

Early detection of problems allows you to deploy fixes during the architecture or coding phase ideally, and by component testing at the latest. 

Why Deployments Fail

The truth is, deployments often fail for simple reasons. Too much focus on the bottom line, ship dates, and other business matters, and not enough time focused on technical issues, is a sure path to failure. 

Another reason for difficulties with deployment is the lack of clearly assigned roles. Without established roles, there is a lack of accountability. With a lack of accountability comes failure. 

Regardless of everyone’s role in the project, each should have a solid understanding of the goal of the project, the benefits the project will provide, and what will be the determining criteria for a successful project. 

Are you in a situation where you need some help? Whether you need input on the roadmap itself, or technical or business backup, NerdCloud is here to help. Get in touch with us today to hear how NerdCloud can keep your project on track. 


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