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By Dan Collins

Updated: October 31st, 2022

Reviewed by: Dan Collins

Fact checked by: Janna Bastow

What is an Initiative in product management?

Product management initiatives represent a key part of your theme based product roadmap. An initiative represents a broad piece of work that you wish to undertake, and can be expressed as a problem to solve.

Initiatives are sometimes referred to as projects or themes. They encompass a collection of ideas or experiments to explore as you attempt to solve a customer problem and work towards your product and company objectives.

It’s sometimes helpful to think of initiatives as a level above features or epics. They’re less granular than the specific changes which you’re considering, and are a useful way of talking to your stakeholders and customers about what you’re working on.

Thinking about your roadmap at this level is also a useful way to do prioritization. It’s much easier to consider which is the most important problem to solve next than it is to determine the next feature to build. Determining the highest priority problem to focus on drastically reduces the number of ideas to consider and gives you a small set of ideas to experiment around.

For example, imagine you were aware of a problem in your product where users are struggling to understand how to use it – that’s a classic onboarding problem! You can express this as an initiative on your roadmap, linked to your product objectives around user growth and onboarding to highlight what’s being done, and why.

An initiative showing objectives for user growth/onboarding and an overview of the problem to solve.
An initiative should show the problem to be solved and why it should be solved

Expressing your plans in this way gives you the freedom to be lean, and to experiment with the different ways you might solve this problem.

It’s important to go back and measure the success of your roadmap initiatives after they are completed. Doing so allows you to learn more about how your customers are using your product, and open up opportunities for further improvements. This is an important part of continuous discovery.

If you want to learn more about how to add initiatives to your product roadmap, check out how to build a product roadmap everyone understands.