Great product roadmaps are useful even without a formal presentation behind them. But when it is time to deliver a tour of what’s on the roadmap, there are some tried and true things you can do to make sure the right message and details get across. That’s what we’ll cover in this guide.
You have a lot to say in a short amount of time during a product roadmap presentation.
So it’s best to rely on visuals, not words alone. Not relying on visualized data makes for confusing presentations no one will remember.
Another common mistake when creating a product roadmap is not giving enough attention to how it’s communicated and presented to all stakeholders. These are just a couple of problems you can avoid as you’re preparing your next presentation.
Next, we’re going over five core steps you need to create a product roadmap presentation that engages your stakeholders and gets you their buy-in.
Before all else, let’s clarify what a product roadmap presentation is and its purpose.
A product roadmap presentation is a visual way to communicate the initiative and strategy held within a product roadmap.
The purpose of a roadmap is to convey strategy and vision in a manner that aligns everyone around the success of the project. It helps organizations make better decisions and measure progress toward strategic goals by communicating key milestones, roles, dependencies, and risks.
We should note, the question of how you present your roadmap and how you create and build your roadmap go hand in hand. A big part of the point of a roadmap is to serve as a communication and presentation tool. So while this guide is about the act of presenting a roadmap, there’s plenty in here about the decisions that go into building and maintaining a roadmap in the first place.
Who delivers the presentation?
Product roadmap presentations are typically delivered by someone on the product team — such as a product manager or head of product. Often product marketing managers will deliver the presentation.
Who’s the audience?
Typically stakeholders across the business: sales, support, marketing, customer success, even the senior management team. Sometimes customers or specific VIP customers will be privy to a roadmap presentation.
With our systematic five-step formula, you’ll be able to build a product roadmap presentation that gets all ideas across without the extra hard work.
A product roadmap presentation agenda is a visual overview of how the product team will present information related to the product roadmap. Agendas are a great way to ensure that everyone knows what they are presenting and how it fits into the entire context of the meeting.
They usually include an introduction or overview, objectives, key insights, and the general content structure. It’s vital to mention this information in your presentation to build trust with stakeholders and connect your story to their needs. Your executive team will see how the product fits into their larger strategy, and feel more confident about moving forward with its development.
We recommend starting the presentation with a discussion of the project’s goals and objectives. Then move on to the product roadmap itself, including key features and benefits, timelines for development and release, and specific objectives on each team member’s accountabilities.
Your audience is anyone who cares about the product, including customers and prospects.
Some things that can help you determine who your audience is include:
A roadmap presentation often goes over details about how a company plans to develop its offering over time. The goal is to give people who are interested in what you do an idea of what's coming up next and why it's important.
It's also important to know who the audience for a roadmap presentation is because it helps you tailor your message accordingly. You don't want to tell customers something they already know or assume they'll care about something they don't have any interest in. In short: Talk to them in their language, using phrases that make sense to them and that align with how they think about business problems.
To get to know your stakeholders better, follow these two essential steps:
1. Ask them questions. The key to getting people to want something is to understand what motivates them and what they value. Asking open-ended questions like "What do you hope will happen?" or "How do you feel about X?" can help you uncover their desires and motivations. However, be sure that you ask these questions in a non-leading way — don't make it obvious how they should answer them
2. Watch what they do rather than listen to what they say. You can learn a lot from watching how people react when given new information or ideas — especially if it's something that contradicts their existing beliefs or values. People tend to behave differently when their beliefs are challenged, so pay attention to signs of discomfort or frustration when presenting new ideas, products, or services.
Your stakeholders probably have different perspectives on your product and how it fits into the rest of the business. They may also have different expectations for how you're going to execute on each feature or release.
For example, let's say you're building a new feature that will allow customers to purchase products through their mobile devices. Your sales team might be excited about this because it means more sales, but your operations team might be concerned about how much bandwidth will be available for their systems when customers start loading up their phones with apps.
The more you know about your stakeholders, the better positioned you'll be to create an effective product roadmap presentation that addresses any concerns they may have while still keeping them informed about what's coming next from your team.
So get to know WHO they are before you dig deeper into understanding what they want.
There are various formats you can choose from when sharing roadmaps: Gantt Charts, timeline roadmaps, metric-focused roadmaps, etc.
The most effective format you can use if you’re just creating your first presentation [and you might want to scale in the future] is a Kanban board. These allow you to clearly show how your roadmap aligns with your product strategy.
If you have a long-term roadmap, it’s important to show how each item fits into this bigger picture. A Kanban board allows you to do exactly that. It gives you a clear visual way to organize your product items and show their importance relative to one another.
On top of that, Kanban boards let you control the pace of change on a visual level. If an item isn’t ready for release yet but is a high priority, it can be placed at the top of the board so everyone knows what needs work and by when it will be done.
This makes it easier for stakeholders to understand which items need more attention before release and which ones can wait until later (or never).
The more specific and detailed you are about the problems that need to be solved for your product roadmap, the more opportunities you will create for yourself.
For example, if you're selling an e-commerce product, it's important to mention that people are not comfortable buying online and that they prefer to physically touch products before making a purchase decision.
Or if you're building a new mobile app that offers personal health management services, it's important to note that many people don't like being monitored by others and prefer to take care of their own health issues.
When mentioning these issues, talk about how they negatively affect your product roadmap and how they can be solved through your product or service offering.
But don’t stop here.
Think about what resource constraints could impact your product after the launch of the MVP.
You may not have the resources available to implement every change that you want to make. Or customers could complain about a specific functionality or the user experience in general.
Above all, take note of all constraints ahead of time.
A product is naturally influenced by all areas of your business.
So making sure this presentation speaks to everyone shouldn’t be a surprise.
Here are some tips to help you customize your product roadmap presentations for different core departments:
Don’t forget to leave room for change. This is inevitable when you’ve got different teams chiming in with new ideas and finds so prepare accordingly.
You've got your product roadmap presentation. You know what you're going to say, and you've got a few ideas about how to say it.
But as with any presentation, there are a few more things that will help you deliver your message effectively:
Make the presentation conversational: Don't just talk at people — engage them in conversation and encourage them to ask questions as well. This will help keep the audience engaged throughout the entire presentation and ensure that they're understanding everything correctly!