When it comes to your product roadmap, product managers have a lot of eyes on them who want to know when a feature will be released because it has many cascading impacts across your customers and team. With that knowledge, how are you communicating roadmap changes? When priorities change, which they often do, are you able to quickly communicate the change to your team and users? You may not realize it but there are a lot of dependencies on the product roadmap which need to be considered when you make a change so that the new roadmap is communicated out to the stakeholders that are impacted.
Who are the impacted stakeholders of your product roadmap changes?
Customers: Often customers need specific features to continue to use your product and based on your product roadmap decide to either adopt your product with the knowledge that the features are coming or stay if they are already using it knowing that the features they need will be there shortly. If you are changing your product roadmap, you need to communicate to users these changes to ensure you can control the information flow and the presentation of why the change is being made on the delivery of features.
Leads: You may have had leads check out your product but decide you were not the right fit at the time due to missing features for your product that they needed. Perhaps you are adding new features that now open you up to a new market segment or can bring back old leads because you are introducing critical features they need. As your product roadmap changes, you need to ensure your leads are aware and be communicating roadmap changes to not miss out on sales.
Your Team: All product teams have core departments that make the business work. All of which are dependent upon communicating roadmap changes to do their jobs. For example your support team needs to know when to tell customers changes will be released and prepare guides and support docs, your marketing team needs to know what to start updating your materials to reflect additional features, your sales teams need to know what to push based on what is coming and your development and manufacturing teams need to know what you want them to build. All core team members are 100% tied to your product roadmap and need constant visibility and communication into what you plan to build and when.
So now that we know who needs to know, how are you communicating roadmap changes?
The most efficient way is to move your product roadmap out of spreadsheets and word documents that you keep on your computer but to store your roadmap and maintain it online or some place that is sharable and visible to all stakeholders. You can always control access to it and make sure the right eyes are on the right information but ultimately you want to manage your product roadmap in a place that is designed to allow for easy communication and sharing across your stakeholders.
For a long time, product managers view whiteboards, sticky notes and written out note pads filled with their wish list and called it a product roadmap. We live in an advanced technology state so the management of products and the roadmaps being executed should be adopting the product management tools available such as product roadmap management, customer feedback management and release management to complete their product planning, manage product features and create product roadmaps that allow team members to view and ideally customers to track.
In addition to keeping your product roadmap stored in a location that is easily available like an online public roadmap, you should also use other tools to push out notifications to your customers about your changes and releases. Take advantage of email solutions like MailChimp to send out updates as you do releases or make updates to your product roadmap and send them a link to your roadmap to check in on your current status.
As a product manager, you should always be working on how you are communicating roadmap changes to ensure that the flow of information from you to your team and to your users is efficient and streamlined to keep everyone informed with your vision of the product.