Effectively Using Product Roadmaps for Agile

Effectively Using Product Roadmaps for Agile

Effectively Using Product Roadmaps for Agile

By Betsy Kauffman, Organizational Coach, Agile Pi

What is an Agile Product Roadmap?

A product roadmap is essentially an action plan for how a product will evolve to completion. Product roadmaps can be incredibly useful to outline your product functionality and showcase a timeline for when new features will be implemented.

Multiple agile teams can utilize a shared product roadmap. When employed in agile development, a roadmap equips your product with the essential framework for a team’s daily tasks and should be reactive to developments in the competing landscape.

Many agile professionals have turned to product roadmaps as a plan of action to resolve managements need for documentation, but is your roadmap a valuable project tool or just a required artifact created and then cast aside? If you create it and never look at it again, then you’re probably struggling with lots of issues like missed deadlines, frustrated stakeholders, bad/slow decisions and mediocre solutions.

How does a Product Roadmap Improve Projects?

When done well, the Agile product roadmap is the foundation and facilitator of solution delivery. The process to create and periodically update the roadmap generates meaningful conversations that create confident teams who are able to meet their commitments. A good roadmap process helps teams manage expectations, facilitate decision making, and most importantly, estimate and deliver valuable solutions.

A useful and predictable roadmap requires a consistent focus on three things:

  • Transparency
  • Data-Driven Forecasting and Decision Making
  • Reflection

Agile teams who focus on transparency and engage stakeholders in meaningful discussions need to build a sturdy framework for the Agile product roadmap.

The framework should include:

  • Business Capabilities
  • Technical Dependencies
  • Other Project Impacts
  • Market Events
  • Risks/schedule constraints

When teams establish this solid framework across a timeline and commit to frequent recasting, the product roadmap becomes an essential communication and trust-building tool. Leaders and stakeholders understand the product/project plan, and the team becomes confident in their ability to deliver!

To learn more about how to create predictable roadmaps and facilitate transparent conversations, check out my presentation at IIL’s Agile and Scrum 2018 Online Conference.

About the Author
Betsy Kauffman (CSM, CSPO, PSM, PMP, PMI-ACP, SPC4, ICP-APM, ICP-ACC, ICP-ATF) is a passionate Organizational Coach and Trainer with more than 18 years’ experience working with high performing teams. She has held various roles working as a Business Analyst, Project Manager, Program Manager, Scrum Master, Senior Scrum Master, and Agile Coach across several sectors including healthcare, retail, entertainment and financial. As an Organizational Coach, she is responsible for coaching, training, and implementing best practices at the executive, program and team levels for several Fortune 500 organizations.

Betsy was also selected by Agile Alliance to be one of seven authors for the Agile Practice Guide published in conjunction with the Project Management Institute (PMI)® in September 2017. Betsy is actively involved in the community and enjoys presenting on a range of topics regarding agile transformations, agile management, and agile values.

PMI is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.