Thoughts on Product Roadmapping from Jana Bastow

Jana Bastow provides some great tips on how to deliver better product roadmaps in your organization. She focuses on a couple of key areas:

  • What is the roadmap?
  • How do I build one?
  • What will it look like?
  • Who should see it?
  • How do I overcome obstacles?

There’s a couple of really great takeaway’s here.

Getting the product vision right is key. This should be bought in by everyone in the organization from the CEO on down.

There isn’t a set “format” for a roadmap, it’s just an artifact. In fact, I’ve done roadmaps on whiteboards, Keynote and Excel. Use whatever tool will effectively give your team the clarity it needs to make decisions.

Roadmaps don’t communicate exact dates. This is what project management is for. It’s best to work in month to quarter granularity. The closer things are to today the more granular the roadmap should be.

The one real miss in this talk is around what to do when you need to change items on the roadmap. I like to invoke Sun Tzu. Sun Tzu realized that all plans are temporary and that any plan could become obsolete as soon as it’s written. Change is ok as long as it’s clearly communicated to the organization and it’s done for the sake of improving one’s strategic advantage in your industry.

Please share your thoughts.

Joe Cotellese
Product Manager
Joe Cotellese
Doylestown, PA

My first professional job involved playing video games for 9 hours a day. After experiencing early signs of brain rot, I decided to teach myself how to write software.

My entire career is characterized by this “why not?” attitude.

I'm currently applying my experience at product development to help early to mid-stage companies develop a “product first” mindset.

You can also find him at the links below.

Affiliate Disclosure

On blog posts where I discuss products I may include affiliate links. If you click on one of these links and buy something then I get a teeny-tiny commission. As of this writing I think I make enough to buy a cup of coffee once every couple of months. 

I don't get any paid compensation directly to write product reviews. I think that's pretty scammy.