Aha! Roadmaps | Best practices for stakeholder alignment: Communicate roadmap progress

Congratulations! You have reached the final stage in this six-part series focused on driving stakeholder alignment. In the previous articles, we looked at how to engage executive leadership and cross-functional partners as you go from setting product strategy to reviewing customer feedback, prioritizing ideas, creating your roadmap, and launching new functionality. Now, let's focus on how to keep those groups informed of progress as you deliver against your roadmap.

Start by establishing the best way to keep your stakeholders up to date. This will likely include a blend of formal meetings, status reports, and ad hoc conversations that ensure each person's needs are met. From there, quickly create the views you need in Aha! Roadmaps — choosing from more than 75 product management reports to monitor your KPIs. Carefully consider how you communicate updates, and prepare meeting agendas and slide decks ahead of time.

When you connect with your stakeholders, use that opportunity to reinforce your overall product strategy and keep everyone focused on the big picture. From there, highlight recent accomplishments and provide updates on what is coming next. Be transparent about priority changes and delivery risks that might impact dates. This ensures that there are no unexpected surprises and keeps everyone in sync. Checking in with business stakeholders on a frequent basis also helps you stay close to their needs and what is happening across the rest of the organization.

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Step 1: Create a communication plan

Be intentional about who to keep informed of updates and how often to communicate them. Refer back to the stakeholder analysis you conducted at the start of the strategic planning process. This will help you get clear on the most effective ways to engage with each person and what they care about most.

Here are the three main ways to communicate updates:

  • Meetings: You probably already host — or participate in — a number of meetings that include roadmap updates as part of the agenda. Key examples include weekly product team meetings, quarterly business reviews, PI planning, and other cross-functional meetings. If you need to set up additional 1:1s with business stakeholders, agree on the right cadence and get them scheduled.

  • Status reports: Think about the kinds of reports you will need to send out. Leadership might want to see a monthly overview of progress against business goals, whereas sales and support might need a weekly update of what shipped. Once you create the right reports, you can automatically schedule them for email delivery in Aha! Roadmaps — no need to manually send them out.

  • Self-serve updates: Empower stakeholders to get the answers they need. You cannot anticipate every question, but you can create interactive dashboards, roadmaps, and reports so people can easily see the most current information and drill into the details.

It is important to keep a proactive mindset when it comes to sharing updates. Things move fast in the world of product development, so letting stakeholders know when an important new area of functionality ships or the roadmap changes builds confidence and goodwill. You might do this 1:1, in a meeting, or via your messaging application.

Monthly calendar in whiteboard showing scheduled roadmap updates


Step 2: Build the right reports

The next step is to think through what your stakeholders will want to know — so you can set up the right reports to provide the insights they need. The exact details will vary based on what matters to each stakeholder, but here is a sample list of questions to help you get started:

  • Is the roadmap on track?

  • What have you delivered recently?

  • What you are working on next?

  • How are we doing against our goals?

  • What is the status of key initiatives?

  • What customer feedback are we hearing?

  • Are we on track for the launch?

  • Are there any delivery risks?

Aha! Roadmaps makes it easy to answer these questions — and so many more. Use our powerful analytics engine to report on anything and everything, tailoring each view to get the insight you need.

  • You already created live views of your product roadmap in article four to share with stakeholders. Update those same views to show the status and percent complete of the actual work to monitor progress.

  • Create list reports, pivot tables, and charts to analyze your product data. Our template library includes the most commonly used product management reports to help you get started.

  • Build dashboards to bring multiple roadmaps and reports together in one view. This gives you and your stakeholders a comprehensive picture of what is happening.

From showing the progress of initiatives by goals to tracking feature delivery, customer feedback, delivery risks, and more, you will love how easily you can track your product KPIs and view the work your team has completed so far.

Set up integrations with tools such as Jira and Azure DevOps to see the latest updates in Aha! Roadmaps and auto-calculate the progress of goals, initiatives, releases, and epics from underlying features.

If there are specific reports your stakeholders are looking for, it is a good idea to ask for feedback on what you have created. Add them to a whiteboard as a live view or image and use inline comments and annotation shapes to get input. And if you need help setting up the perfect report, please let us know. Our team of Aha! product experts is happy to help.

A dashboard in Aha! with reports on feature delivery


Step 3: Prepare your updates

Assemble the updates you want to communicate with your stakeholders. Remember: No one wants to receive an avalanche of data — so give thoughtful consideration to what information is beneficial to share and the main takeaways. It is also important to think about the format you will use to share information.

If you are planning to share roadmap updates in a live meeting, set a clear agenda and send it out ahead of time to give people a chance to provide input and share what is top of mind for them:

For more formal updates, prepare a presentation. Use built-in presentation functionality to tell your story right from the place where you build your plans — adding live views of your data and inserting custom slides to convey your message. You can also share concepts directly from whiteboards, using frames as slides and switching to presentation mode when you are ready to share.

No matter which option you choose, create templates to help you share information consistently. This saves you time when it comes to preparing them and makes it easier for stakeholders to follow along. Collaborate on notes and presentations with the core team to co-create content and align on key takeaways.

Product strategy meeting agenda with embedded roadmap


Step 4: Meet with stakeholders

Time to share your updates! Meet with stakeholders to review progress and discuss any questions they might have. It is also important to get their thoughts on how they think the team is working and the value new functionality is creating. Remember that the purpose of these sessions is not for stakeholders to suggest changes to your product roadmap, but rather to have a productive conversation about how things are going.

Here are some tips for this discussion:

  • Remind everyone of your goals and initiatives and their strategic importance.

  • Review progress against your product KPIs to ground everyone in reality.

  • Share any new market and customer trends.

  • Provide an update on progress and celebrate the team's accomplishments.

  • Gather their thoughts about how they think the work is progressing.

  • Showcase what is coming next and rally the team around your plans.

Leave plenty of time for open discussion. This is a good opportunity to hear how things are going from different perspectives and address any questions or concerns. Capture meeting notes and record any actions that require follow-up. Use the AI writing assistant to summarize your notes — so you can send out a concise recap after the meeting.


Step 5: Provide ongoing updates

Make it easy for stakeholders to get roadmap updates in between meetings. Publish dashboards, presentations, and individual roadmaps and reports to a secure webpage. Because these views are interactive, people can explore the details and self-serve the answers they are looking for — whenever they need them. You can also schedule key reports for email delivery to keep people up to date.

As we noted in step one, providing regular updates is key to creating a culture of transparency and cooperation. We also recommend asking your stakeholders if they are getting the insights they need and what you could do better or differently. And encourage them to reach out at anytime with questions, feedback, and concerns. Ultimately, investing in two-way relationships is key to everyone pulling in the same direction and achieving organizational success.

Roadmap progress dashboard shared as external webpage with limited drill-in


We hope that this series of articles provides you with inspiration to increase business alignment at your organization. Keeping everyone informed and in sync does not have to be a time-consuming and haphazard process. With intentional planning and the right tools, you can establish an effective approach that benefits everyone.

Of course, achieving stakeholder alignment is never done. As you wrap up your roadmap for the current timeframe, planning kicks off again for the next one. The good news is that investing in and maintaining healthy relationships as you go makes it easy to pick up the conversation at any stage of the product development process.

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