Three great ways to build and maintain agile product roadmaps - Unlock Your Team's Genius

Three great ways to build and maintain agile product roadmaps

By Georg Fasching | agile practice

Sep 26

Learn the easiest and most effective way to use roadmaps in agile product management with scrum.

Tip 1: Spare yourself the details

Your product roadmap must focus on key bits of information that are crucial to your product lifecycle. Your roadmap will constantly evolve so avoid overloading it with details. Instead, focus on adding information around three key areas:

  • Purpose
    • What’s the purpose of this particular milestone? What’s the reason for releasing this particular value?
  • Value
    • What value you’re looking to create for your user, customer, prospect and organisation?
  • Metrics
    • What change in your metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs) are you looking to achieve by doing this?

As an example, your goal or purpose might be to increase customer acquisition. The value will be realised through features that solve these pain points. This will e.g. increase customer acquisition by a number, measured by the metrics you’ve put in place.

Tip 2: Be sure of uncertainty

People often make wild assumptions about the future and act as confidently about tomorrow as they are about today. But to build a more realistic roadmap, you’ll need to be comfortable with being less confident the further ahead you plan. This is because, naturally, the further into the future you plan, the less certain you can be about what will happen due to unknown forces and external factors.

One way to express this uncertainty, while still building a promising roadmap, is to assign each milestone a low, medium or high level of confidence.

Another way is to increase your time estimates for execution at key intervals along the roadmap. For example, you estimate your first milestone will be met in one month, your second will be met six weeks after that, your third in another two months later and so on. The further into the future you go, the larger the target time frames for realising the value.

“Your roadmap is not a plan that is signed in blood and must be followed unquestionably–its a tool for communication”

Tip 3: Know your roadmap from your contract

It’s important to know what your roadmap is for and how it can help your agile scrum team. Equally important is knowing what it’s not. The roadmap is not a binding contract that must be signed in blood and seen through unquestionably until the end. It’s actually a tool for greater communication that:

  • Reminds you and your team of the bigger picture
  • Keeps you aligned and in sync as you progress and update it (and you will update it)
  • Helps to keep stakeholders in the loop, give them a good idea of the key milestones and maintain healthy expectations

If used correctly, the product roadmap can give clarity on the outlook, the timeframes and the value your team are constantly creating throughout the entire product lifecycle.

I hope the video and tips above help you to understand what’s involved in creating, maintaining and using a product roadmap in agile scrum. By taking these tips into consideration you can help to align teams and stakeholders across a common journey towards the product vision and unlock even more value for the end user and the organisation.

If you have any questions or topics you’d like me to cover, leave a comment below or send me a message through my website. Thanks for reading. See you next time!


About the Author

An agilist since 2010 and in product management since the 90s, Georg Fasching helps digital creative agencies delight their clients, fulfil their people, and improve their prosperity.