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Using Product Roadmaps Effectively

A Scrum Team can use a product roadmap to communicate, discuss and also improve the plan for working toward their product vision. To use it effectively, the Scrum Team uses the roadmap to convey how the team intends to pursue their longer term goals. To do this, the Scrum Team must:

  • Update and improve it periodically. This can happen while refining the Product Backlog and also during Sprint Reviews to discuss near future prospects
  • Keep it high-level and lightweight. This helps the team make changes regularly and easily and allows the team to discuss upcoming opportunities internally as well as with stakeholders. These interactions, when properly facilitated, help create alignment
  • Focus on goals, not details. This approach allows you more flexibility when adjusting the roadmap, and also more creativity when discussing potential experiments

To create a roadmap that is focused on goals, it should answer questions like the following:

  • What is the gap* between the outcomes that customers currently experience and the outcomes that they would like to experience? 
  • What are the next Product Goals that could help close those gaps and satisfy customer outcomes?
  • What experiments might help validate our assumptions?

Be sure to communicate hypotheses and experiments the team is considering to validate assumptions on the roadmap. By visualizing them on the product roadmap, you are raising transparency about your intentions for the product.

*In Evidence-Based Management, this is the concept of Unrealized Value, which is the “satisfaction” gap between the outcomes that customers currently experience and the outcomes that they would like to experience.



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Learning Series
A product roadmap is a visual aid technique that a Scrum Team can use to share and discuss what is upcoming for the product at a high-level.