A product roadmap shows internal teams and external stakeholders where a product is going and how it will get there. Product managers create roadmaps for a wide range of audiences — including executives, customers, partners, sales, and engineering teams. The message and the level of product detail that needs to be shared is different for each group. For example, a CEO might want to see the timeline for achieving high-level goals and initiatives, while customers might want to know what new features are coming in the next release.
Many product managers rely on roadmap templates to create the right view for each audience. This saves time and standardizes the planning process. There are various formats and types of roadmap templates available. When selecting a template, it is important to consider why and how you intend to use it.
Product roadmap templates used to be created in offline tools such as Excel, PowerPoint, Word, and Visio. However, relying on these types of tools for roadmap planning can be incredibly time consuming and inefficient. The problem? They were never intended to be used for this purpose. These applications do not include sample roadmap templates and they are not easy to update or share across your portfolio. It quickly becomes difficult to keep track of all the roadmap versions and variations scattered across different locations.
Over the last several years, cloud-based tools have changed the way product roadmaps are built. For the first time, product teams can use purpose-built roadmapping software to visualize and share their plans. These tools provide a wide variety of interactive templates that can be easily customized for every situation. And because they are online, product managers no longer need to worry about version control. The roadmap templates shown below — and many others — are available in Aha! You can try them for free by starting a 30-day trial.
Product managers need many different ways to visualize their strategy, show what is coming next, and explain why their team is building specific features. It is critical to customize their roadmaps based on who is viewing them. This is why product managers rely on several types of roadmap templates to do their job. Shown below are examples of several commonly used roadmaps.
A portfolio roadmap is used to manage and visualize updates across several businesses, divisions, or product lines. It visualizes the complex relationships that often exist between different products. It also helps product teams and stakeholders clearly see the business value that each product delivers.
Portfolio product managers need the visibility that portfolio roadmaps provide. The more products and product lines a team manages, the more difficult it is to stay in sync. This roadmap template makes it easy to understand how product releases relate to strategic initiatives across multiple products. It also provides the bigger picture context to explain why certain features have been prioritized.
A strategy roadmap connects your business strategy to your product plans. It allows you to communicate the major product initiatives that are required to achieve your goals and the timeline for achieving them.
Use this template to show the key initiatives that are defined for your product and how they tie to high-level business goals. You can color the bars by status and show which goals the initiatives are linked to. This makes it easy to explain your product direction and provide high-level status updates.
A releases roadmap template lets you establish important milestones in the product journey. It also allows you to visualize key phases, dates, and dependencies to keep cross-functional teams in sync. A releases roadmap is especially useful if you manage a suite of products that are released on the same date. You need a way for multiple product teams to work independently. At the same time, you must be able to see how the individual product releases relate to each other and support the overall launch plan.
This template allows you to see all of the cross-functional activities that are required for a successful launch — and to track the progress. You can copy your template for future releases to create a predictable process that ensures you launch on target.
A features roadmap shows how each feature enhances the product and ties to your high-level goals and initiatives. It is the most detailed roadmap template of all the examples included in this guide. You can use it to set expectations with internal and external stakeholders about what features are coming and when.
This template provides a clear timeline for implementation. It allows you to show when features in your product backlog will ship as part of each release. And depending on the information your audience needs, you can show or hide different goals and initiatives.
Many different teams rely on roadmap templates. The most common use cases are product and technology groups. Increasingly, other teams in areas such as manufacturing, marketing, and consulting also use roadmap templates for their strategic planning. Here are several examples of roadmap templates that are customized for different teams.
Great software is the result of having a breakthrough idea, creating a vision, and then showing the team how you are going achieve it. Your product roadmap should show your high-level strategy and how it connects to the business goals.
This product roadmap template makes it easy to communicate the direction of multiple products in one view. You can use it to explain the key areas of focus and the status of each initiative. It also allows you to link your strategy with releases and features so that you can explain how the team’s work ties to the big picture.
IT teams use roadmap templates to define and prioritize the projects that will have the biggest business impact. This is critical — especially if your team is over capacity. Creating a technology roadmap provides a clear way to prioritize requests and manage releases. This helps everyone in the organization understand why certain projects are prioritized and when they will be delivered.
This roadmap template shows how key IT projects relate to strategic business initiatives. This empowers IT managers to showcase their work at a high level. It also makes it easier to collaborate with business stakeholders, track technology and release dependencies, and communicate progress.
Consulting groups need a roadmap to track all of their client projects in one place. From pre-project planning to collaborating with clients, a roadmap helps you implement the products and services that matter to your customers. You can capture customer requirements, prioritize them, and create a plan to show what is coming next. Your clients will love you for it.
This roadmap template makes it easy for consultants to update clients on progress, monitor who is doing what, and track how much time the team is spending on the work. Managing client engagements in this way increases transparency and creates long-term customer loyalty.
When you are responsible for manufacturing a physical product — or a hybrid product that includes hardware and software — it is critical that everyone stays in sync. You manage a complex process that involves dynamic supply chains, critical dependencies, and tight deadlines.
This manufacturing roadmap template allows you to establish a clear delivery timeline and show how plans are progressing. It helps you better collaborate with internal stakeholders and external partners so you can quickly deliver the goods and services your customers want.
Marketing teams require a roadmap to keep go-to-market activities in sync with the overall business strategy. This can be challenging because customers, markets, and technologies are dynamic and change quickly. The best marketing teams think strategically and prioritize initiatives that will drive customer growth.
This marketing roadmap template allows marketing teams to manage revenue-driving campaigns and cross-functional product launches. It makes it easier to collaborate with colleagues in sales, product, and support and to keep stakeholders informed.
The best roadmaps set clear goals with specific dates and describe the key actions that will help teams achieve them. The more specific your roadmap is, the more clearly you can show where your product or service is headed. The right templates help product managers tailor their roadmaps for specific audiences — without spending hours editing. They also provide an essential framework for success and a true north to keep working towards.