How to Create a Product Roadmap for App Development

September 10, 2020

Did you know that less than a third of product managers’ time is spent on strategy?

Strategy planning is an essential part of any project as it keeps everyone on the same page and ensures the project stays on course. Taking the time to plan out a product strategy using trackable KPIs sets clear milestones for the project so clients know what to expect and when to expect it.

With most software development projects, the product strategy takes the form of a product roadmap, helping to steer the project to its final destination.

Join us as we explore how to create a product roadmap and achieve your product roadmap milestones.

 

What Is a Product Roadmap?

A product roadmap is a visual summary that maps out the vision and direction of your product. With a product roadmap, the main goal is to link your product vision with your business goals and create a plan for how you’ll achieve those goals. A product roadmap is also used to get internal stakeholders in alignment, and help communicate with external stakeholders, including end-users.

 

How To Create a Product Roadmap

Understand your product vision

First, decide what you hope to achieve with the new app. To do this, start by answering these questions about your new product:

  • Why are we building this app?
  • What are we hoping to accomplish?
  • Why will the app help users?
  • Why do we want to develop this app now?

At this stage, there’s no need to go into details or list all the features you want to include. But you should be able to identify the “why” of your new product before you spend any time or resources on it.

As part of our development process, we take the time to have a chat about what your ideas are and where you hope to end up. We then follow up with a scoping process, where we help you outline your ideas so we have a clear vision for the app.

 

Craft a clear and customer-driven strategy

Keeping the end-user at the center of product planning helps you know exactly what you need to build to improve user experiences.

Customer personas are a great way to put a face on your target audiences to help ensure that your app provides value to them and can retain users over the long-term.

 

App feature importance and functionality

If it aligns with your business goals, starting an MVP can help gather valuable insights from users before you spend too much time and money developing your app. Remember, MVPs are only the basics of your final product, so should only include the core goals and features. Always start with the core features as you may need vital customer feedback that could change the prioritisation of your feature list.

As well as defining the core goals for the MVP, part of mapping out a product roadmap is to create a master list of all the features the final product should offer. Using the MoSCoW (Must, Should, Could and Won’t) method helps you identify the features to implement first and create a clear priority list.

 

Outline timeframes for your project

Establishing the timescales of your project allows you to transform your strategic vision into actionable deliverables. Having clear timeframes for each part of the project helps everyone stay on the same page and helps ensure that your final app is completed when you want it to be.

 

Proposed initiative and actions

Next, it’s time to translate your roadmap’s plan into action. The best way is using user stories, which are small, self-contained units of development work designed to accomplish a specific goal within the app.

Focus on what a user hopes to achieve by using your app, rather than describing exactly how to implement a certain feature. Then include the features as part of the story.

In agile development, a product roadmap has much shorter timeframes and a need for more frequent adjustments to accommodate changes. User stories represent very small chunks of the app as a whole, which leads to more effective scheduling and collaboration. So user stories fit perfectly into the sprint timeframes used in agile methodology.

 

Track your progress

Tracking your progress and status of the app building process helps make sure your project stays on track. Are you achieving your development goals for each sprint? Is the project still within the budget?

Keep in mind that too many metrics can cause confusion so only choose actionable metrics that tie back to the strategic direction of your product roadmap.

 

Measurement and metrics

There are several ways you can measure the success of your app after its initial launch. Some examples of measurable metrics include:

  • Number of app downloads
  • User reviews & feedback
  • Monthly recurring revenue
  • Quality (number of bugs reported by users, number of updates required, etc.)

Use your chosen metrics to analyse how users interact with your app. Then determine which of your app features need the most attention with each subsequent release.

Today, there are several cloud-based roadmapping tools you can use to speed up the process and make updates as required. Some examples of our favourite project management software tools include Roadmap Planner, and ProductPlan.

 

Start Your Software Development Journey with GearedApp

Here at GearedApp, we use a unique approach and processes that help companies map out their own product roadmap to ensure a successful launch with a powerful app.

Our friendly team of pros will be with you every step of the way, from our initial sit-down chat all the way to launching the finished product. Discover our process to find out more about how GearedApp works.

Get in touch today to find out how we can help turn your awesome ideas into a digital reality.

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