roadmap-aug19-300pxLast week, I walked through the different ways Product Managers can source and incorporate feedback directly from users and internal resources. Now it’s time to talk about using this information to create and implement a product roadmap.

Once all the feedback from both external and internal customers is gathered, product managers should then take that information and create a plan that addresses customer needs and corrects product issues for future releases. There are a number of ways to organize the feedback, from advanced ticketing systems to basic spreadsheets.

A product manager should look at all this combined information and ask themselves two questions:

Is there enough value delivered to customers of the product?
Does this fit with the overall direction of the product?

The product manager must use these questions to organize and prioritize future enhancements, as well as formulate a plan for bug fixes and issues. Since customer feedback arrives continuously, the road map becomes a living document and must be adjustable throughout the development process. Product and service sales also become a driver of enhancements – if certain new functionality is requested from the market, then that functionality should be added to the list and prioritized accordingly. By the time a new client’s implementation occurs, the functionality is in place and has already been tested.

At times there will be opportunities for co-development directly between the product manager and a client. In this case, the product manager must be able to process the co-development enhancement and generalize it so that it is useful for all of their clients, while still meeting the needs of the specific client they are working with.

By using special interest groups and internal feedback to create and manage product road maps, product managers can incorporate the needs of their customers and increase the value the product delivers. Only then can product managers set their products up for future success, and ensure the success of their clients as well.