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How Structuring a Roadmap is like Building a House

April 2, 2015

Roadmap Management

A customer asked us the other day how to map his own product to our roadmap format, and threw in an analogy of a house to phrase the question:

I need to build our roadmap this month, with our high level modules all covered, and then detail individual requirements within those roadmap elements, possibly again with sub elements. So something like:

  • Build A House
    • Build the foundations
      • Lay concrete
    • Put up the walls
      • etc.
    • etc.

We ran with this analogy to help explain how a roadmap works, and how elements in ProdPad can be used to put it together:

Build a House

This happens at the Product level: You would create a product in ProdPad, and give it a vision, KPIs, etc. in the Product Canvas. Once done, you’d then open up the Roadmap for this product, where you can build out the rest.

Build the foundations, Put up the walls

This maps well to the roadmap card level: You would then create roadmap cards in the appropriate columns for each of these high-level projects.

Lay concrete

This is at the idea/feature level: Here, you’d create Ideas to represent these sorts of features, and attach them to the roadmap. You can create ideas from any page, using the button at the top, and then attach them to the roadmap either from the idea itself, or on the roadmap card itself.

We can then take this to the next level down, too:

Mix concrete, pour concrete, watch concrete dry

For more detail, you can break your ideas into User Stories. These are in the Specs section of any idea page. These user stories can be attached to the roadmap individually as well – it just depends on how much detail you feel you need to go into to communicate to the rest of the team what needs to be done.

Typically, the cards in the ‘Future’ column will be higher level and have less detail added to them than the ‘Current’ column. Also, if you need to consider a wider set of products, you can create Product Lines and group your products into them. For example:

  • Build a Housing Complex (Product Line)
    • Build House A
    • Build House B
    • Build House C (Products)
      • Build the foundations (Roadmap Card)
        • Lay concrete (Idea)
          • Mix concrete (User story)
          • Pour concrete (User story)
          • etc.
      • Put up the walls (Roadmap Card)
        • etc.

 

Do you have any suggestions on how you structure your product roadmap? Discuss with us in the comments below or at @ProdPad

Janna Bastow is co-founder of ProdPad, software that helps product managers plan and deliver better products. Janna also organizes ProductTank events around the world, including Mind The Product, a global community of product managers. She likes to inspire great product conversations by asking: “What problem are you trying to solve?”

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