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Creating a Product Roadmap? Ask Yourself These Questions

Before your product starts booming, you need a product roadmap that charts a clear course to growth.

Unfortunately, as a product leader or manager, you’re probably being overwhelmed by feedback from every direction. That can muddy your vision and make it feel like it’s impossible to craft a clear plan for your team.

We’re here to help. In this article, we lay out the questions you can ask yourself to help you create a successful product roadmap that’s anchored in analytics.

What is a product roadmap?

A product roadmap is a visual guide that lays out high-level plans for your product teams. When you construct it right, your product roadmap will help reveal and reinforce a strategic path that leads to product-led growth. These tools are critical because they sharpen your strategy and keep your team pushing forward in the same direction. They also highlight the reasoning that’s propelling your moves and show stakeholders why your decisions are worth standing behind.

Answer these questions to help you create your product roadmap.

One of the easiest ways to sort through feedback and carve out a winning product roadmap is to ask yourself a few guiding questions:

What’s my broad product roadmap strategy?

If you want to line up your team’s goals with the broader company mission, nail down your organization’s north star metric. Your north star is the essential metric that helps you measure success and guides all of your efforts. In many companies that rely on a recurring revenue model, net dollar retention (NDR) is the north star metric. Although your company’s north star may vary, it’s critical to pinpoint what it is and identify the problems it solves.

Once you’ve found your north star, use it to guide your course. By leaning on product analytics, you can then set up—and measure—KPIs that build toward your north star. For instance, if NDR is your north star, you may want to lay out product KPIs that measure and promote onboarding, adoption, and retention efforts.

Will our product roadmap encourage product-led growth?

Unlocking product-led growth can catapult your team’s efforts and satisfy all of your stakeholders. It’s why Gartner predicts 80% of IT companies will shift to fit product-centered operating models by 2023.

As a general rule of thumb, the more your product roadmap helps improve the customer experience, the faster your journey to product-led growth will be. That’s why it’s important to build your roadmap around product analytics that consistently reveal opportunities to drive adoption, reduce friction and enhance the overall experience.

Do I know how users are behaving?

Product analytics give you a window into your user’s experience. And you can use those insights to create a product roadmap that promotes their needs. For instance, by examining path analysis, you can see the steps your users are taking as they move through your product. So, if users are running into friction along the path you planned, you can easily see what’s standing in their way and eliminate it.

Are we consistently improving onboarding?

There’s no question that onboarding is critical to your customers seeing faster time to value and your product’s success overall. According to thinkJar, companies can prevent 67% of churn by resolving customer concerns at the first engagement.

But if your onboarding experience is stagnant, it could be tearing holes in your roadmap. To keep your onboarding processes plowing ahead, dig into your analytics. Keep an eye on user behaviors and identify any friction points in the onboarding process. From there, you can drop in support resources, such as login tutorials, in-app engagements, or checklists to cut out those friction points. You can also make minor adjustments to the actual product to make it easier. Consistently examining your user’s experience, making moves, and testing results will ensure your onboarding plan is always improving—and that’s a recipe for rapid growth.

How can we boost retention?

In the U.S. alone, companies lose more than $160 billion every year to customer churn. That’s why it’s important to keep retention and NDR at the forefront of your product roadmap, because the cost is so high.

Remember, it’s not enough to set higher retention as a goal and move on. Use your roadmap to examine user behaviors and monitor retention predictors, such as engagement and user adoption metrics. By working to improve these upstream experiences, you can lift retention and boost long-term revenue.

Are we squeezing the most out of user feedback?

Feedback is the resource that fuels your product-led growth engine. Be sure your product roadmap is pulling the most out of the feedback that’s possible. You can do this by building customer feedback loops into your product experience. That means starting by using surveys and input to inform decisions. From there, measure those decisions by soliciting more feedback and using that input to refine your plan. This iterative process will keep you aligned with the user’s experience and spark product-led growth.

Perfect your product roadmap.

A carefully crafted product roadmap can carry your team past its goals, and it can skyrocket product-led growth. Want to learn more about creating the perfect product roadmap for your company? Download our “Executive Guide to Building a Customer-Centric Product Roadmap” to learn the steps to building a winning roadmap with analytics.