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19/100 - Guide to Product Roadmapping for Web3 Startups | Why What and How


Guide to Product Roadmapping for Web3 Startups | Why What and How

Product Roadmap meaning explained

A product roadmap is a strategic visualization and communication tool used to showcase the product vision and outcomes over intended timeline. It is an action plan that aligns the entire organization or team around the product short-term and long-term objectives and how they are planned to be achieved.

Why is a Product Roadmap needed?

  • It aids all teams in gaining consensus and aligns everyone on the product vision and understanding where the firm and their activities are headed. They can better plan their activities based on the requirements of the business. (Team members, managers and leadership)

  • It helps in planning releases, setting priorities, adjusting scope as per the high-level business objectives and planned deliverables. It ensures right features and built at right time.

  • It is helpful to provide a high-level context on what is coming next for marketing discussions, creating launch plans, and user onboarding, even if specific dates are not necessarily committed to.

  • A robust product road map will help alleviate team dysfunctions, restore organization's strategic direction, and help teams, business and stakeholders achieve value realization and success.

What is included in a Product Roadmap?


Product roadmapping starts with articulating product vision as per business objectives to solve customer problems over a period. A part of articulating the product strategy, let us look at each of the component:

  1. Product Vision: A product vision explains the product's broad objective in the long run. Vision statements are aspirational and convey succinctly where the product aims to go and what problems it intends to tackle in the long run.

  2. Business objectives: Business objectives are the measurable, specified outcomes that companies aspire to achieve and sustain as they develop products and services. Business objectives are captured as a specific metrics and goals both quantitatively and qualitatively.

  3. Outcomes: Customers seek outcomes, which are the end results and solutions to their respective problem statements. Outcomes are what a business wants or needs to achieve. Product deliverables and features are the means to achieving outcomes. (Alternatively, themes are captured instead of outcomes)

  4. Timeline: A project timeline is a visual aid that assists teams in comprehending the sequence of steps required to execute a project on schedule. It provides a summary of all necessary features, priorities and milestones.

Product roadmaps are made available to stakeholders both inside and outside of the organisation. More context-specific details are offered in response to the demands of the group in order to supply particular groups with additional information. Engineering teams would desire to have access to high-level feature specifications and milestone dates so that they can better plan their work in the engineering department. Information regarding targeted clients, resources, launch campaigns, risks, and other topics would be required by the marketing and PMO teams. Product roadmapping requires the production of a foundation roadmap, which must then be augmented with information that is relevant to the recipient group in order to give the necessary and appropriate level of detail.


A product roadmap also needs to carry a disclaimer that the roadmap is an 'intention' rather than a 'commitment'. Priorities and deliverables would be changed as per business and customer needs.


What is not a Product Roadmap?

  • It is not a Release plan: A product roadmap should not be taken as a release plan which is a tactical document meant to collect and track the expected features for upcoming releases.

  • It is not a Gantt chat or Network diagram: Gantt charts provide the project schedule over time and status along with details on feature owners, dependencies, etc. It is a project management tool which details the ‘when and what’ part while product roadmaps details ‘why and how’.

  • It is not a feature list: High level features are also added to the product backlog. Unless it serving engineering teams to plan and adjust work accordingly, features are not added while product roadmapping. There is a school of though which recommends feature less roadmaps so that teams are focused on customer problems and business goals rather than features which are means to an end.

Web3 example

A product roadmap example is shared below with a fictional web3 company called ‘web3verse’ (a metaverse company).

  • Product Vision: Web3verse aims to build a virtual environment that will give contributors the opportunity to fully own and profit from their creations.

  • Outcomes: 1) Interact with others seamlessly 2) Claim ownership for generated content 3) Ability to transact as tokens, NFTs and fiat.

  • Timeline: Now, Next and Later corresponding to Q1, Q2 and Q3 of 2023.

  • Stage of development: Testnet

  • Release Timeline: Engineering release planned every sprint and a market launch every 3 sprints or as requested by business (release on demand).

  • Target Customers: B2C brands to enhance their customer experience and market penetration.

Conclusion

Product roadmaps that are effective bring the entire organisation together in support of the product vision. The amount of detail that should be included in the roadmaps needs to be carefully planned out according to the people who will be using them. Make certain that the product road map is shared to everyone as soon as possible and that everyone has access to it. Any time there is a change in the priorities of the company's operations, the product road map needs to be updated to reflect the new priorities.


Recommended resources

  • What is a Product Roadmap? | Examples and Overview? A short video from Productplan.

  • Product Roadmaps Relaunched – A book by C Todd Lombardo et al., 2017. This practical book shows how to develop an effective product road map and explains how to align stakeholders, prioritize ideas and requests using the road map and how to communicate them accordingly.

References:

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