We plan almost everything in life, the next day, our vacation, etc. Why would this be different in product development? Although planning is not popular in the Agile approach (waterfall methodology, though), it is not discarded, and the right amount of planning is essential in business and product development. There are many tools for planning, but one of the most dynamic and easiest to understand is the roadmap, which can be a shared source of truth for the overall direction, priorities, dependencies and progress over time. There are several types of roadmap and it can be used in several areas, for example:
Internal roadmap for developer teams, executives and stakeholders, or marketing teams to plan the next campaign
External roadmaps to communicate your next steps, features for your customers
In this article, we will focus on product roadmaps and show you three benefits of making them.
It doesn’t matter if you want to communicate outward or inward, but it helps you easily share or present your vision, plans, and goals and get everyone on the same page. You can communicate your strategies across your entire organization or outside to users, partners and other stakeholders to share the vision of where we want to go and what goals we have set. In product development, it can be particularly useful for the development teams to see what and why they will work on, and we can easily coordinate our other product-related works with our marketing and sales team.
It is important to know where the journey goes and what’s the goal for each of our products. A roadmap helps you stay on the road and achieve your goals. Goals and the environment may, of course, change over time, but with regular reviews, we can easily adapt our product roadmaps to these new situations. Most importantly, we can respond to these without losing the goals set. For product development teams, this means that they must respond to these changes and plan the features and solutions they select for incoming user requests. A feature or component that is directly related to the product vision should be prioritized higher than something that is not.
The best product roadmaps are aligned with the corporate strategy or goal. Everyone will work for a successful product that helps your company to reach it's vision. In the roadmap, you can easily view and analyze each item to see if it’s still valid and still aligns with your company’s vision and strategies.
In Jira, an epic is a large user story that cannot get delivered as defined within a single release, which is often broken down into small features or user stories that can get delivered incrementally. Epics are perfect items to build your product backlog. You can break initiatives down into epics, tie them to due dates and/or releases, and set up order and dependencies between them on a timeline. You can do this with pen and paper or in a sheet, but it won’t be easily manageable in the future. We have an app, Epic Roadmap for Jira Software which is built precisely for this purpose.
With Epic Roadmap, you can create, manage and visualize your project’s Epics on a quarterly, monthly or weekly roadmap timeline view. Each Epic has a bar, representing a date range that will have your configured fields as Start and End date. You can change the date range easily with drag n drop. You can see additional information about the Epics, like their statues, linked Issues, comments, etc.
Epics will be broken down into features, stories, and tasks, and tracking the progress of these issues towards Epic completion is very important information that is displayed with the progress bar for each Epic.
Marking milestones, whether goals or versions, are available as date markers in the app. You can add, edit or remove custom date or version marker on the timeline at any time.
You can also visualize dependencies between epics. The Issue link between two Epics will be represented as a line on the Roadmap timeline. You can view the issue link type's name on the line, eg.: Blocks, Sequence, etc. With the help of the dependency lines, you can view if one epic is blocking the progress of another or two epics that impact one another.
We plan almost everything in our lives, there should be no difference in product development. With the help of Epic Roadmap, you can build your high-level overview of your project's goals easily. Create, manage and visualize your project's Epics and keep your teammates on the same page. Available for Jira Server & Data Center
If you want to learn more about how Epic Roadmap can be useful for different types of teams check out our other article!
Full documentation available here.