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Product Roadmap

Perhaps one of the most asked questions in a sales presentation (aside from how much does it cost, how does it benefit me, why is it unique) is what is coming next? It's not uncommon for young companies to feel like a wisdom tooth is being pulled when asked to produce a product roadmap. Are you making unalterable commitments? Do you really know what you need to do next? Can you predict what your team is able to produce? Who drives what is in the product roadmap?

You must be able to produce a product roadmap. Without a statement about what is next, customers will likely be more loyal to your competition who is willing to promise what is needed. The product manager is often responsible for its production, for communicating it to customers and for maintaining it over time. It is a hard document to produce properly and even more difficult to manage through a lifecycle. We'll explore the details of how a product roadmap gets produced, what it should contain, how it should be presented and how to maintain it over time. It is a critical corporate document and should always be aligned with the overall strategy.

Sample Roadmap Presentation

Version One

No one really likes to buy the first version of anything (except perhaps the latest Apple products). Even Apple of late (iPhone 4) has run into issues that expose the weaknesses that result from accelerating time to market in response to competitive issues. For young companies, version one is an important deliverable as it is the first version you can use to validate the value proposition of your business plan.