Agile Roadmaps: Roadmapping Process & Examples
Building a quality product to satisfy your customers is the ultimate goal that product managers aim to achieve. Many product managers use agile project management to deliver faster and better value to customers. The agile methodology supports an incremental approach to product development and iterating often based on customer feedback.
Within an agile team, the responsibility of managing the product backlog and defining the project’s priorities and visions falls on the product owner.
Defining the project’s vision and priorities with an agile roadmap keeps project stakeholders aligned with the project goals and makes it easier to harmonize the development of multiple products.
In this article, you will learn how to build an agile roadmap that describes the likely development of the product over time and provides context for your project team’s everyday tasks.
Let’s get started.
What are Agile Roadmaps?
Agile roadmap is a well-detailed laid-out process of how a product or project will develop over time. You can define agile roadmaps as the agile team plans to achieve a goal unfolding in each level or stage until the product or project is completed.
The goal of agile roadmaps is to put in place effective strategies to bring out the best outcome and deliver products. Roadmaps interpret the goal of the project and show possible outcomes while providing the best methods to use to achieve the goal.
One of the very best parts of using an agile roadmap is that it gives an achievable timeframe for project development and you can tailor your roadmap to your desired target audience.
There are different types of roadmaps such as agile roadmap and technology roadmap. You just have to pick the one that is well suited for your organization and communicate the goals and vision of your project.
Having strategic roadmaps that present all that is needed to achieve both short and long-term goals and objectives of your product is important.
Agile roadmaps also serve as a guideline and channel through which people in the organization communicate and have access to their daily achievements. They show how every task leads up to achieving the vision and what needs to be done to complete the project.
How to Build an Agile Roadmap
Every product manager seeks the end goal of building a product or achieving a project that is tailored to the needs and satisfaction of clients.
The benefits of Agile methodology such as faster response and delivery timeframe are the reason why agile methodology is used by many project managers. The ability to define each feature and adapt to changes is what makes your roadmap agile. Some of the best product roadmap software for effective roadmap planning and execution include Monday.com, ClickUp, Teamwork, and ProductPlan. There are different stages to build an agile roadmap.
1. Start with Product Strategy and Goals
The first step to achieving your aims and objectives in any project or product is to set the goals and strategies you plan to use. Having an action plan is very important in building an agile roadmap.
Strategies help reveal available options to bring out the best and solve client complaints. To bring your plans and strategies to life, you need to set milestones or quarterly goals. Project goals are constantly put in review with different strategies already in place to tackle errors and provide agile solutions.
2. Turn Your Goals into Initiatives
Investing in a work breakdown structure is very essential. A work breakdown structure (WBS) helps to break the whole project into simple not-so-overwhelming stages that make it more simple and fun to work on.
You can turn your goals into initiatives that will help your team work faster and bring about better results. You can use project management software tools to create a work breakdown structure. Project managers can also help by breaking down the project into smaller units and assigning them to individuals or groups that are well-suited for the task.
However as new data continue to appear, teams must align them with existing data before pursuing new features and most importantly make sure to define the data before turning them into initiatives.
3. Gather Cross-functional Feedback
Collaborating with other departments or teams working on the project or product is very crucial. Such collaborations give a clearer view or vision of the goals and allow teams to make better-informed decisions.
Complete access to information and cross-functional feedback impacts the planning and success of the project positively. You can gather cross-functional feedback to coordinate data and track the progress of each team, ensure that everyone is on the same page, and build an agile roadmap that is realistic, accurate, and well-detailed.
4. Talk to Customers
Gathering customer data and feedback is part of building and sustaining a good agile roadmap. Clients are the most important factor, their needs and wants should be put into consideration when making any decision or plan on the project.
Talking to customers helps to determine how to strategize and make possible adjustments to the plans and designs of the project. With customer feedback received, your team can know which features to include in the product roadmap.
Customer feedback is necessary for building a roadmap. The essence of the whole project is to satisfy the client and deliver “a good job”
Identifying key elements and themes of your goals in the order of their importance will help tackle difficult and highly essential goals. After gathering enough data and customer feedback, the project team will be able to focus more on solving problems and knowing where to concentrate on the most or what needs their more attention.
To build a roadmap, you need to map out the ranks of the problems you are hoping to solve along with the goals you plan to achieve and the methods or approaches to use. An agile roadmap is more of strategizing than planning.
6. Measure Results Regularly
There is a need for a weekly and quarterly check or review of your project to analyze and evaluate how your team and project react to every change and decision you make.
The impact these changes and new information or data has on your project is very important as there might have been a shift from the direction of your goal due to reasons as small as the newly added feature. You need to measure results regularly to keep an eye on the updates and stay on track of your goals.
Tips for Agile Product Roadmaps
1. Describe Your Product Vision
Describing your product vision is the first stage of your goal, the foundation on which you lay all your ideas. Ensure you describe and define your project vision clearly. You can do this through the use of a project charter.
When you describe your product vision, you and your project team will have a better understanding of what is to be accomplished.
2. Focus on Goals and Benefits
You need to focus on your goals and benefits so you can stay on track with the goals you plan to achieve. To remain focused on your project goals and benefits, create milestones for your goals so you know when you have completed each stage of your goal.
When you are focused on your goals you know which direction, method, and approach to take either when solving a problem or when evaluating the features and benefits of the product.
3. Keep it Simple
When building an agile roadmap, you need to keep it simple and not too complex. The features need to be easy to use. You do not need to add many details, adding too many details can confuse your clients or the users.
Keep your agile product roadmap short and precise, simple but effective. A simple agile product roadmap gets you straightforward results and a satisfied client.
4. Manage Deadline
There are two sides to adding a deadline to your project. You do not want to add deadlines that will overwhelm your team and make them feel like they have failed when they just started. When managing deadlines, you need to set realistic and achievable deadlines. Realistic deadlines can help boost your teamwork efforts and improve your attitude to work.
5. Track Milestones
Milestones are very important in project management, they mark each progress of the project no matter how small it is.
Marking achievements help to boost not just the team effort but also build a level of trust between the stakeholders and the organization. Celebrating these milestones is beneficial as they set the build-up of the entire project.
6. Review Product Roadmap Regularly
A review helps every organization to plan better and strategize accurately. Most companies now invest in monthly reviews to quickly correct errors they do not want to repeat.
You can review your project team’s performance and the project or product to ensure that everyone is on the same plan. Send project stakeholders regular project status reports to keep them informed about the development of the product or project.
7. Estimate Risks and Success
Risks and success rate has to be known from the start of the project. Estimating risks and success early reveals if the client is asking for an unrealistic goal.
When the risk has been evaluated, this gives the project team a sort of confidence that they know what to do at every point an error comes up. The success rate reveals how much can be achieved so the team knows the limits they can get to and not be completely overwhelmed.
Estimating the risk and success of your project helps you to plan and strategize better. The essence of estimating risks and success is to have a backup plan and manage your expectations better.
Agile Roadmap Examples
1. Execution Level Plan
The execution level plan is the stage where you deliver most of the work, decisions, and project estimates. The purpose of the execution level plan is to communicate the project overview to the project team.
During this stage, milestones can be set to know the level of execution each team has to deliver and what the clear goal is. However, it is advisable not to put or set a date to launch the project. The reason is to rid your team of any uneasiness or burden to rush or focus on the time limit instead of the goals of the project.
2. Sprint Plan Roadmap
A sprint plan roadmap is used mostly for sprint planning and is concerned more about delivering the goal. This agile roadmap example helps teams to sync with their work and make collaboration easier.
3. Now Next Later or Priority Roadmap
You need to communicate your priorities to your team so they can concentrate on the highly ranked or important elements of the goals.
Creating a priority roadmap helps you know which tasks you have to do now, which to do next and which to consider later. Priorities are very important in roadmaps to stay on course and not divert from the mission of the vision.
4. Kanban Roadmap
Kanban boards help teams to develop initiatives that will bring about progress and allow smooth communication between teams.
Planning without putting an exact date or timing to your product helps to make production faster and motivates your team to continue working towards the goal. They know that their daily contribution is leading up to completing the project.
5. Timeline Roadmap
Time is very important in project management. When building a roadmap, you have to factor in time. While discussing time, stakeholders and cross-functional teams have to be put into consideration. They have a big influence when it comes to the timeline of the project.
6. Feature Timeline Roadmap
There are different timelines for different sections in a roadmap such as a timeline for the entire project and other parts like the features. Feature timeline includes tracking the progress and milestones to align with other parts of the project.
7. Objective Timeline Roadmap
When objectives are laid out for the team, they can be turned into initiatives and action plans to make execution easier and faster for teams.
The whole essence of an agile system is to make product or project delivery faster with a maintenance quality that is tailored to the needs of the clients. An objective timeline helps teams focus on every essential aspect of the project.
8. Release Timeline Roadmap
When putting the whole parts to get from the executive planning to the sprint planning, keep your release timeline in mind in order not to work towards the goal so much you miss the opportunity to launch.
Time to launch is very important. You have to set the launch time to be perfect and at a time that satisfies the stakeholders involved in the project. A release timeline roadmap helps to track progress and set realistic visions.