Product Roadmaps



Stage 3

Agile IQ® Level

Backlog Management





Product Owners are are responsible for Product Backlog management, stakeholder management and forecasting. Therefore, a variety of tools and techniques are used to:

  • Communicate progression toward value-based metrics — impacts and outcomes.
  • Communicate alignment with broader company strategic goals and the breakdown of those goals to delivery and releases.
  • Track progress of feature releases.
  • Manage expectations with both customers and stakeholders.
  • Communicate delivery and keep people informed.

One of the key tools used by Product Owners is the product roadmap.

What is a product Roadmap?

A product roadmap is a high-level, strategic plan, that describes the likely development of the product (or the service) over the next period of time.

The roadmap should support the products’ purpose and vision and it helps the Product Owner to keep their stakeholders aligned. The roadmap also makes it easier to coordinate the development of different products and it fosters transparency in order to manage both customer and stakeholder expectations.

What should be in a Product Roadmap

Many Product Owners are focused mostly on developing features for digital products, and therefore many of roadmaps are also dominated by the functionality forecast for delivery over tne next 3-6 months. The default stance, therefore for many Product Owners is to list features for (a) the next 3-months, then (b) the following 6-months, then (c) the year beyond that.

This focus on features, though, has its pros and cons.


  • It’s clear when features are forecast to be deployed or needed by users.


  • There are always too many features that would add value.
  • The roadmap turns into an overloaded Product Backlog.
  • Lack of focus on the vision, the product goal, and short- to medium-term objectives.
  • Lacks reflection of a high-level, strategic plan for the products’ future development.

Best three types of roadmaps


Goal Oriented product roadmap

Facilitates a lot of focus on the goals you want to achieve as a Product Owner, much more than the actual work to be done (the features).


Now-Next-Later Product Roadmap

Easy to understand due to the tempral nature of "now" and "next".

Story Map

Puts the focus on the conext of use of the product.

Goal Oriented Product Roadmap (GO product roadmap)

This model focuses on objectives over time that wil assist in achieving the Product Goal.

  • Step 1: Focus on the intermediate product objectives
  • Step 2: Detail the key features that will help achieve those objectives
  • Step 3: Draw metrics from Evidence-Based Management that will give the clearest view that product development will reach the objective.
  • Step 4: Use the agile team’s rate of delivery to forecast when those features are likely to be complete and then released to customers.

Advantages of the model

Since agile is also about “Simplicity – maximizing the work not done” (Agile Manifesto Principle #10), this format with only a small amount of space forces Product Owners to think deeply about the top three most valuable features for a release.

In addition, in a single glance, stakeholders see an overview of the products’ development over the next upcoming releases – an important factor for managing stakeholders!


Be aware that when some people see a date they will feel that this is a commitment or promise instead of a forecast. Be mindful to update the roadmap when ever forecasts change, a pivot is needed, or unforeseen events impact what should now be delivered over time.

Now-Next-Later Product Roadmap

This model’s focus is on features clustered by a rough time scale.

Advantages of the model

  • Easy to understand.


  • Focuses almost exclusively on features.
  • No OKR/KPIs.
  • No traceability to objectives.

The Storymap

Storymaps were popularised by Jeff Patton who relates the storymap as a two-dimensional Product Backlog.

  • Step 1: Describe the user’s steps to complete a specific experience (narrative flow).
  • Step 2: List the features underneath their steps.
  • Step 3: Articulate the high-level experience milestones above the steps (the “backbone”
  • Step 4: Depict releases by drawing a box around the features.

Advantages of the model

  • Story Mapping is a way to bridge the gap between an idea and the incremental work ahead.
  • It’s a great way to decompose an idea to a number of unique user stories. 
  • It moves away from thinking of functionality first and toward the customer experience first.
  • It provides the big picture and end-to-end view of the work ahead
  • It’s a decomposition tool from idea to multiple user stories.
  • It asks the team to identify the highest value work from a customer perspective and where you may want the most customer feedback.
  • It advocates cutting only one increment of work at a time instead realizing that feedback from the current increment will help shape subsequent increments.


  • Creates the illusion that all the features for the product will be developed.
  • No OKR/KPIs.
  • No traceability to objectives.


Adapted from: Schuurman, R. (2017) Tips for agile product roadmaps and product roadmap examples. Online at:

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