While it's tempting to keep your product roadmap private, it's important to be transparent and share as much information with your team as possible. In reality, anyone can copy your product and overtake you. But this is an outdated concept. Forward-leaning, user-focused companies are reaping the benefits from being transparent with their product roadmaps and engaging their users by turning their product roadmaps into public roadmaps.
# 🚀 The importance of public roadmaps
It's easy to think of a public roadmap as a glorified whiteboard, but we see a lot of value in being transparent about the path of a project. Making a public roadmap helps your team — and your users — navigate your roadmap and understand the milestones you're focused on. It also means that the team is more invested in the project because they can see the investment they're making in it. In addition to being transparent and helping your team be more engaged, public roadmaps are a great place to start engaging with your users. You can communicate what you're working on and build trust with the team, which can improve the product at a faster rate. There are tons of free tools that you can use to write, share and collect feedback on your public roadmap.
# ℹ️ How a public roadmap can help your business
Let's take a look at Buffer. Their roadmap is key in the company's overall strategy and is one of the key drivers of the products development process. The original source of inspiration for their roadmap comes from the work of Paul Graham who, in his famous essay on creating startups, advised startups to put a very high priority on their product roadmap. Each employee has to be able to see the roadmap, and everyone on the team is free to add and drop features that are being developed, as well as plan for what's coming up in the future. This is one of the greatest strengths of their roadmap. The result of sharing the roadmap with the company has been that everyone is on the same page. Another great example is GitHub with their public roadmap!
# The Best Public Roadmap Tools
# 1. Sleekplan
Sleekplan is a one-stop feedback solution for all your product needs!
Easily share your roadmap and keep everyone up to date. Your customer will be able to provide you with feedback, discuss it with other customers, and categorize new ideas.
Share your product features and ideas and collect honest reviews. Want to know what people think of a new feature? Just add it! All customer feedback is categorized, so you can easily find what you're looking for.
Customer satisfaction tracker
It's easy to measure how satisfied your customer is with your products. Sleekplan offers real-time reports that will show you the number of customers who are satisfied or not satisfied with certain features or aspects of your company in the form of charts and graphs.
Plans start at $0
# 2. Roadmunk
Roadmunk is a fantastic tool for roadmapping. Instead of wasting time planning meetings in advance, use this tool to plan a meeting, get a moderator on call and track progress in real-time. Their mobile app enables you to update documents and co-workers in real-time. And on top of that, you can actually save notes for further processing and reflection. The Wrike Roadmap app is also a fantastic tool for creating and updating a road map. It allows you to collaborate with multiple people on a team at the same time and receive notifications as your team creates updates to your roadmap. Wrike's built-in revision history also helps keep you from getting lost in the shuffle of changes that may be made between the initial and final implementation phases.
Plans start at $19 per month, billed anually
# 3. Trello
The easiest way to engage users is by creating a place for all their needs to exist. This, to us, means creating a space where people can share their thoughts, contribute their ideas, and work collaboratively. This can be done by creating boards or channels that define the different topics or types of work or projects that are being addressed. However, having a shared vision between your team members isn't enough. You need to capture and share your users' feedback and ideas as they happen. Trello is a great tool to organize and disseminate users' ideas and insights, so they can be added to future versions of the roadmap. Skype Want to share what you're working on with your team without having to step out of your workspace?
Plans start at $0
# 4. ProductPlan
I've worked with ProductPlan and I love how they break down the roadmap into a variety of reports including a Yearly Business Report, a Report on Current Position, and a Position in the World. You can pull a product roadmap from ProductPlan in Excel, Google Sheets, CSV format or you can also sign up for the ProductPlan site to download the entire guide to use as a powerpoint. iPad Product If you don't have access to the ProductPlan tool, ProductPlane is a free product that allows you to create your own customized roadmap in Adobe Illustrator. Dropbox Having a really good roadmap lets you show your users how far along you are and helps them see how their problems are being solved.
Plans start at $39 per user per month with an annual contract.
# 5. Mavenlink
Developers like to feel like they're in control. That's why they tend to put way too much thought and care into every detail and why they often start and finish in one place. Mavenlink It's a good thing when a good product comes together, but it's terrible when there's no sign of a plan. You're left with a broken path for customers, sales reps, and business partners, which can lead to poor engagement and high-pitched calls from frustrated stakeholders. Unplanned detours add time and cost to the development process. This delay can have a real effect on how quickly a company can move. Even if the path is set in stone, it's best to let everyone see what's coming up so they can prepare for it. And that means being transparent about the process.
💵 The Professional plan costs $39 per user per month with an annual contract and no month-to-month option. So you're looking at $348 per person for the year.
No one knows the future. Your roadmap will only tell you what you currently know. Staying up-to-date with what's happening in your space is the best way to stay ahead of the curve. The tools, tactics, and strategies outlined in this post will allow you to do exactly that. Which one(s) do you use?