A roadmap for product development

When it comes to delivering a product to market you need to have a vision. You’re going to have a lot of ideas but you need to focus on delivering an Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to ensure your feedback loop continues to work.

You’re going to have no money and very little time.

You’ll also find out there are technology limitations for your product.

When you deliver your MVP to market you’ll find your customers will always demand more as they look to your product to solve their problems. This is why it’s essential to have a product roadmap, to ensure both your internal team & external stakeholders are on the same page. It allows you to execute to a plan and ensure you continue to gain market insights along the way.

Product Roadmap definition: The purpose of a product roadmap is to communicate direction and progress to internal teams and external stakeholders. It shows the high-level initiatives and the planned steps to get there. It should not include every feature in the product backlog, or a list of specific engineering bugs. The roadmap is a product management document and should live separately.

Take Apple’s iPhone as an example. They released the iPhone 2G as their MVP, knowing that as technology advanced it could integrate it into their product to produce new ‘versions’ or models of the phone.

The goal of Apple’s product roadmap was to gain repeat customers as new models were released. They’ve now delivered an iPhone 7 to market, allowing them to receive recurring revenue each time a new generation of phone is released.

It’s more than likely Apple always planned to deliver an iPhone 7 to market, but as they delivered each product they gathered customer insights and added improvements to meet the demands of their customers.

For a start-up your roadmap could look like the following:

  • Goal 1: Get someone to pay for your product (MVP)
  • Goal 2: Get multiple people to pay for your product
  • Goal 3: Make some gross margin (no less than 60%)
The role of a good product strategy/product manager is not what you add in to the product, but what you keep out.

When identifying your MVP there are a few questions you need to answer first – all of which can be found on the business model canvas.

Sun Tzu
  1. Who is your customer?
  2. What’s the price of their product?
  3. What's your technology?

There are lots of videos and articles online about creating product roadmaps. If you’re interested in this topic jump on Google and type in these suggested search terms:

  • 'how to build a product roadmap'
  • 'building a product roadmap'
  • 'designing a product roadmap.'