Agile Roadmaps in Practice

About Timelines

I’m sure there are companies who work in a very special culture where it’s possible to work only with now-next-later roadmaps. However, I believe that the reality for most companies is that their setup requires to have some sort of a timeline in their roadmaps. Even if it’s not milestones with concrete dates, it’s some time horizon, for example quarters. Even “now, next, later” is some sort of a time horizon. If you’re working on a feature now, there will be a time estimation for that feature so that the company has an idea of when that feature will be ready. The advantage of “now, next, later” though for your product teams is that it gives you room for delays and helps your company to change the idea that fix milestones are the only way how to deliver features.

“Feature factory” supportive product roadmaps

I totally agree that we’re not flexible to respond to market reaction if we set up a roadmap that includes only features. Themes is really nice way to express important topics to work on without getting too deep into the solution level upfront. In practice I like to mix a couple of elements of different ideas out there on the field to communicate why the team will be working on what: The goal of the quarter, metrics to understand success, themes and features that we’ll work on, questions or hypotheses that we’re trying to answer or validate. And yes, in reality there are milestones, and they should be listed as well.

Roadmaps are fluid

They’re changing all the time. And this is good. They need to be flexible. There’s a constant negotiation between the roadmaps of the different levels.

Roadmapping hierarchies
Roadmapping hierarchies

What’s the difference between Product Roadmap and Product Backlog?

The Product Backlog will be filled with stories for the items on the Product Roadmap. Here’s a simplification. And yeah, instead of quarters, you can really take any time horizon. Now, next, later works here, too. The emphasis is on the near term items.

Roadmap vs. Backlog

So what makes a roadmap agile???

Simply put: It’s how people in the company treat the roadmap.

Theme and outcome based dual track roadmap

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Büşra Coşkuner

Büşra Coşkuner

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A Product Management Consultant and a no-code learner’s brain dump. Stay crazy, stay curious, stay you!