Creating a flexible product roadmap requires careful planning and consideration. In this article I’ll show you how to go through the basic process of ideation, focusing on the target markets and defining your roadmap.
The product manager usually has the task of coming up with the product roadmap. They should start out by brainstorming new ideas for products and feature requests. This can incorporate ideas from customers, new technologies, concepts from the company’s business development strategy, etc. It is important to have a broad range of ideas as possible to make sure your new product lines are going to be as innovative as possible.
The first task is to collate all of these ideas based on which target markets they apply to. This allows you to define individual products for each market. You can also then research the markets to establish the levels of competition, market sizes, potential return on investment, etc. This phase of the process is really done to weed out any undesirable markets (and consequently reduce the number of product ideas).
It is now possible to establish a first draft of your product roadmap based on a small subset of markets and product lines. Short-term goals should be highlighted and going to sufficient detail why long-term opportunities can be kept at a high level. Your product architect should also be collaborating with you on this process to define any components or product features which can be used as a foundation for future variations. This can prove to be very profitable at later stages if designed correctly from the start.
The product roadmap should then be reviewed by important key employees within the company and any of their feedback considered and reviewed. All roadmaps change as products are designed and implemented so you need to make sure the product manager keeps versions of this document and communicates changes effectively to dependent individuals.