The roadmap is the thing you as a product manager keep coming back to. It defines your focus and hopefully the road to success. How do you figure out what to put on your roadmap and in what order? There are lots of approaches. Here are some ideas on how to streamline this.
- List your stakeholders. Start by making a list of stakeholders. There will be some obvious ones, but also a couple of unexpected people on your list. Most stakeholders will make themselves known by sending emails with requests, some are harder and need you to get them to talk. To name a few: your users (obviously), owners, management, sales and marketing, developers, designers and customer support.
- List the most important features for each stakeholder. It is your job to know what each stakeholder wants. Their most important things.
- Give weight to each item. It is easy to listen to the stakeholder who has the loudest voice, or to the one who is paying your salary. A good product manager tries to balance with the ultimate goal in mind: making the product as successful as possible. It helps to qualify each item in terms of benefits (what will it return) and costs/efforts. A low effort, medium value feature should be higher on your list than a low effort, low value item. You could go crazy with additional items to score each feature on, but this basic matrix will give a huge amount of clarity over just a backlog sorted by personal preference.
- Use the weights to sort your roadmap. Now, interpret the numbers and order the items to complete your roadmap.
It might be a great idea to schedule focussed time to apply this process to your current roadmap. Hopefully it will help you get ahead and bring clarity to the stakeholders and to your team.