All About Product Roadmapping Part I: Foolproof & Customer-Centric Product Roadmapping Process
At Integrant, we understand the frustrations and uneasiness that can come with deciding on which vendor will do the best job at handling your product’s creation and success. It’s normal for a customer to question the trustworthiness and dependability of any vendor prospect, especially in projects with a long list of requirements.
Understanding these experiences and emotions, our customer-centric product team has created a fool-proof process for planning and prioritizing every customer's product idea no matter the length of requirements needed. Our product roadmapping process has brought our teams and our customers years of proven product outcome success, and today we’re prepared to share with you.
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The Key Role of Product Managers
The product manager's role varies by project. It will depend on dynamics like the size of the company, the type of company, the type of product, the stage of the product, and the culture of the company. To better understand the role of product managers, let’s take a look at our customer-centric product team here at Integrant.
Customer-Centric Product Team
At Integrant, our product team is built up of collaborators such as the product manager, product owner, project manager, scrum master(s), tech team(s), and UX/UI designer(s).
The magic happens amongst the product owner, product manager, and UX/UI designer(s). These three work together to drive a valuable product outcome that the customer will love. They are customer-centric, love coming up with solutions, and formulate them in the form of features that make the life of their customers better. They interact closely with their users and customers, understanding pain points, aligning on solutions, and involve them in testing.
The Product Manager(PM) paints a vision of the project keeping strategy foremost in mind to guide the designers. PMs make sure the design team understands why the features on the roadmap are right for the customers and business. They understand how each component of the system contributes to the whole and substantiates proposed solutions. They are responsible for the efficiency of proposed solutions. PMs give thoughtful advice to the product owner to help in decision-making. They make an extra effort and add value in managing product owners' expectations and keeping them posted on the progress of the design team.
The UX/UI Designer(s) create products that provide meaningful and relevant experiences to users. This involves the design of the entire process of acquiring and integrating the product, including aspects of branding, design, usability, and function. To accomplish this, the designer(s) will do tasks like:
- Analyze the data to validate the hypothesis
- Research users' needs and behavior to create seamless UX
- Practice empathy and curiosity to gain market and customer insights
- Create visual solutions to make projects remarkable on the market
The Product Owner(PO) focuses on local prioritization, and subject matter expertise, managing the product backlog, conveying expectations, accepting features and user stories, and escalating issues when and if needed.
What is a Roadmap?
Roadmaps are a pivotal tool for all software development projects. They promote project flexibility while supporting strategic, data-driven planning. A roadmap is a high-level visual summary that maps out your product offering’s vision and direction over time. It is not a list of prioritized features, a product backlog, or an operational to-do list.
Think of your roadmap as the “why” to the “what” that you are building. To help, here is a list of your roadmap goals:
- Describe your vision and strategy
- Provide a guiding document for executing the strategy
- Get internal stakeholders in alignment
- Facilitate discussion of options and scenario planning
- Communicate progress and status of product development
- Help communicate your strategy to external stakeholders (including customers)
Mapping Product Strategy to Your Roadmap
When it comes to mapping product strategy, there will be a need for some client-product team collaboration. To get to know the ins and outs of the product, our team asks the client these critical questions.
Starting with the product vision, product goals, and product roadmap, you want to get a clear idea of what the product is and why it’s being created. Here we ask the client:
- “Why are you developing this product?”
- “ What is the vision and what are the objectives of the product?”
- “What is the solution to fulfill your product vision?”
- “How do you translate your product vision and goals into an executable plan?”
With a clear understanding of the product vision and goals, a product team can move on to dissecting the product requirements. For this step, we ask the client questions like:
- “How did you gather these requirements?”
- “Are these requirements coming from suggestions/requests of specific customers?”
- “Are these internal requirements from stakeholders?”
Even in projects with thousands of requirements at hand, answering these questions and categorizing the requirements will assist the product team in strategizing the product roadmap. Before tackling a project, you need to know if each requirement is high-level or granular, which is a conclusion you can come to by asking these questions to your client. The quantity of requirements isn’t the challenge. It’s the clarity of what the vision is and understanding the objectives.
To help visualize this process, let’s look at an example. A rideshare company’s objective is to select your mode of transportation, whether it be a car or an SUV, and your time of transportation. While the vision is about calling a ride and securing your transportation.
The more high-level requirements for a rideshare app often include things like payment options, scheduling, and rider/driver safety. When we have the high-level features we can start to gather a story map of how these features will be created and introduced to the product.
Curious to know how we helped our clients create their impact in the software industry? Check out our case studies!
Having clearly outlined roles for everyone on your product team and understanding the importance of having a product roadmap is crucial to building a successful and customer-centric product. In our next article, we’ll share with you tips on how to build an effective product roadmap. If you’re ready to work on your next product with a dedicated software development team, contact our experts today!