How to build a Prioritised Product Roadmap in 5 steps


Steps to a Prioritized Product Roadmap

Making a successful and prioritised roadmap for your products is quiet a responsible task. Many a product managers find themselves caught in a tussle on how to build one which makes people want to buy the products. Accomplishing this task requires psychic abilities to co-relate with the customers, their needs and what are their drop offs. Though it is not a rocket science to win the customers as well as fulfil your organisational goals, yet there are two approaches that we observe generally being taken up. They are:

  • Either you take the consensus of your team, the stakeholders and take on the features that they think might work well for the business.
  • Or you can look for how users might actually behaving. Find the features that might fetch high engagement and also observe what is getting them stuck? Take the real user’s data to define the path to your success.

Instead of focussing on people who would be actually buying that product, sometimes product managers consider their boss and stakeholders on priority. This might please them for a while, but in long-term this is not going to help them in real.

Step 1. Ask Yourself a few questions

At that time you need to ask yourself three simple questions which might dust off a few things on your mind:

i. Where are you heading to?

This question will help you define your destination. What product vision do you have, what do you want your product to be like? Find answers to these questions and get the direction in form of Product Vision. This will further help you and your team navigate to reach this vision.

ii. How are you going to get there?

Defining your destination leads you to the next question asking how would you get there? You can answer this by identifying your Product Metrics. This will help you not only find what factors will drive the success of your product, but also let you respect those metrics and take a rational decision.

iii. Why are you going?

This question will clear off the purpose of building your product roadmap. “Why” relates to the reason behind your actions and it is answered in the name of Customers. All business and products are meant for customers and should lead your way to help resolve their problems or ease up their lives. Connect to them, find the issues they face and try to help them wisely.

Step 2: Collect Actionable Data

Collect Actionable Data for an Effective Roadmap

To initiate the process of creating an effective roadmap, you need to start by considering your customers as priority. Gather all the information that you can so that it serve as insights to back your decision. This data can be collected from:

  • Identify the product workflow and analyze the steps where the customers are getting stuck or distracted.
  • Mouse tracking analysis is quite a helpful way to find where the users are paying attention on your product.
  • For fetching explicit response from customer, you can actually put an on-page survey on your product page to know what exactly is stopping them to perform the call to action.
  • Go through the support transcripts to get your customer’s difficulties or confusions by a little closer and get them fixed.
  • Live testing rooms can help you observe your current and potential users while they interact with your product.

Once you have this useful data with you, it gets easier to pinpoint the places where people got confused or distracted or even frustrated that they did not perform the desire action. With all the shortcomings available, you can now get them corrected and improved.

Step 3 :Identify Quantitative and Qualitative Data

Quantitative and Qualitative Data

Once you are through with collection of both qualitative as well as quantitative data, the next big thing to do is, to decide. There is a correlation between every initiative that can be taken to the feasibility of implementing it. You need to analyze and compare each of the initiatives in context with the time, effort and money that needs to be invested in it. All those steps that are not required to be catered on urgent basis can be put aside.

Fixing and upgrading a feature which is required by the users and would take lesser time should be undertaken immediately. And on the other hand, the one which needs efforts from the scratch and doesn’t even match your user’s requirements should be dropped with immediate effect or can be updated later as an enhancement.

Step 4: Scoring Initiatives

Now when you have only a few important initiatives to choose from, you are expected to prioritise them. Prioritising can be easily undertaken on the basis of its importance considering the customer requirement,market and the competition. To prepare your scoring plan you can do it by using spreadsheets or other tools that extend help in arriving at the best feature.

Step 5: Address Stakeholders concerns

After all this data collection, research, analyzing and scoring, comes the time for proposing it to the stakeholders who would actually invest in. Your user’s needs have helped you plan a product roadmap,now it’s time to address your stakeholder’s concerns who would be investing in your plan. Before you present your plan to them, add the complete process that has lead you to arrive at implementing this prioritised roadmap.

Include all the important information, logical data and real numbers. This will help you gain investor’s confidence in your hard work. Including all the metrics, tools and graphical representations like pie charts and graphs showing effect of the same on KPIs. They will believe in you and will surely appreciate your efforts.

The Final Word

While concluding, keep your customers on the top slot of your priority list. Your customer’s needs, their requirements, their confusions and their stuck up points should be the focus areas which you need to resolve. They are the motivation behind creating or adding something innovative to your product’s features.

The next slot should be booked for your stakeholders for sure. Not only should your tools and techniques used in the process be effective but also they should be transparent and convincing for them. Present the process, as it has been initiated and share all the insights that have been helpful in creating your prioritised product roadmap. Share hard facts or data that has motivated you to take relevant turns and not your opinions to back your decisions. Exhibit that your decision has been aligned with the organizational goals on a whole.
Rest the steps mentioned above are not a must-follow, as creating a product roadmap is not a science, but by putting things into steps, we have tried to ease up your journey. We suggest that you should always keep the customer’s needs and company’s goals in consideration.

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