Product

How Can We Revive Our Product Roadmaps?

silhouette photo of man throw paper plane
Photo by Rakicevic Nenad on Pexels.com

Today I ran a mini workshop on product roadmaps for a small group of my colleagues. This was an experienced group of Product Managers so the intent was to run a fun session where we could get outside of our transport world for a bit. We reviewed some creative examples of how other people are structuring their roadmaps.

When my manager asked me if I’d be interested in doing this as part of a team event, I was really excited. I spent days evolving my idea in my head. It’s always a bit nerve-racking putting something out there in a workshop format where you’re relying on people to understand and engage with your content. If my blog post is boring, it gets no views. If my workshop sucks, there’s nowhere to hide.

Fortunately, it was well received and everyone enjoyed it. Some of the feedback I received was about how great the real life product examples were. Funnily enough, when I was trying to find real life roadmaps online it was really difficult. Not many companies share their top secret internal roadmaps.

And so, I bring to you my latest research showcasing real life examples product roadmaps from different companies. I only found one other blog with a post like this but the examples were all published Trello boards which wasn’t helpful.

Keep an open mind as you read this article. Some of these examples aren’t strictly product roadmaps however I have curated them for good reason.

For each example consider which elements help tell a story, what the restrictions might be and who could benefit from reading it.

Netflix 2005 roadmap (stylised version)

Product In Heels Gibson Biddle Netflix Roadmap
Source: Gibson Biddle

Gibson Biddle, former Netflix VP, shared this version of the Netflix roadmap. I like his view that “a roadmap is an expression of your strategy.”

I think a lot of Product Managers would look at this template and feel a shiver down their spine. Where is the detail? Where are the dependencies? Where are the enablers?

Biddle says that he writes the roadmap as if he is showing it to the Netflix board. In this context, the simple and concise approach is all that’s required. It does the job of telling a story about what we know will be happening this quarter and the direction we think the product may head over subsequent quarters.

While such a simplistic view may not suffice in all internal settings, it’s nonetheless worth considering how we could simplify our roadmaps.

The Tree of Up

Product In Heels The Tree Of Up
Source: Up

Up (Australian neobank) have a publicly available feature roadmap for its avid customers.

The tree is organised into a series of streams where features are logically grouped. Users can click the icons to see what each feature is about. The visual layout and relationship between features makes it easy to see which aspect of the customer experience each build will improve upon.

I love that they are publicly committing to a delivery plan. As one of my colleagues pointed out, Up managed to turn feature delivery into a marketing tool.

I have seen similar maps to this in the banks and they can definitely be a great communication tool for your internal stakeholders as well.

This isn’t a strategic roadmap but it’s still a fun example to consider when thinking about visual ways to present information to stakeholders and customers.

Wise open product roadmap

Product In Heels Wise Product Roadmap
Source: Wise Blog

The Wise open product roadmap uses the classic “Now, Next, Later” format.

This roadmap is clear and contains some great visual elements. I like the way they’ve used emojis to signify the mission pillar each feature rolls up to. The “top secret” labels pique my curiosity.

This is actually a mega roadmap as it covers 6 tribes across 5 regions. Impressive.

Again, this roadmap may lack in the details however it shows a clear picture of what Wise will do next. I also like this example for the blog post that goes with it.

The landscape roadmap

Product In Heels Pay Pal Roadmap
Source: PayPal 2021 Investor Day

You know the one where someone presents a literal image of a road and the milestones around it?

I really like the idea of pushing the boundaries with this concept. Companies like Visa and American Express run ads all the time where they show an animation that walks the viewer through a payments related customer journey. Imagine doing this with your roadmap. I think it would be an excellent way to tell a story.

I struggled to find any real product roadmap examples of this. The closest thing I could find was a landscape graphic from PayPal’s 2021 Investor Day Report. This isn’t a roadmap, it’s more of a timeline, but it really appealed to me as inspiration.

Minimise words. Scale up visual impact. Present your roadmap as an animated video!

Have you seen any good examples of product roadmaps? What’s your product roadmap style?

I hope these examples inspired one new idea for you.

1 Comment

  1. […] might recall that I ran a session for my colleagues on customer centric product roadmaps. It begins with a transport related mission and the Product Manager’s then explore an […]

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