Walk into any leading corporate or tech company and you’ll immediately be accosted by bright post-its on all walls. For the uninformed, these aren’t a cheap way of decorating – these capture features or action items for the teams’ product roadmap or development sprints.

Why put your Product Roadmap on the wall?

 

  • It takes people on the journey
    Like slides in a pitch deck, this is something you can take people to again and again to have a collaborative discussion about where you are and where you’re headed.
  • It’s inspirational
    Rome wasn’t built in a day, but with a series of incremental releases. Showcasing your milestones will showcase the progress you’re making and of the big picture vision.
  • Keep the team in alignment
    As you take on employee 1 to 100+, your communication overhead increases exponentially. Taking it out of your brain and putting it on the wall keeps your team focused on The Plan, even when you’re not there to relay it.
  • It’s a valuable planning tool
    There’s only so many hours in a day. When you roadmap visually, it’s easy to see where you’ve overcommitted. Use this as a valuable sanity check if you’re trying to do too many things at once.
  • It’s a great sanity check tool
    When you’re down in the detail, shaving yaks, taking a moment to step back and remember the big picture can help you get back on track.

 

big-kanban-board

 

Creating your visual roadmap doesn’t have to be an arduous task. All you need is:

  • A wall
  • Post-Its
  • Plans and Ideas (no shortage of those!

 

A great roadmap is:

  • High level – not detailed
  • Covers the next 3 months, revised every 3 months
  • Structured (consider Kanban, Gantt, Horizon formats)
  • Made quickly
  • Shared within the team – or even publicly like Buffer does.

 

If your team is remote, consider having an online version which mirrors your offline one. Great tools for this are Trello (free), ProdPad (paid), and Aha.io (paid).

 

Does your startup have a roadmap? If not, why not?

Filed under:   product   product management   roadmap   startup