How to Сompose a Product Map That Will Stay Up-to-date for 3 Years
Next-generation smart devices often embody innovative vision and unique features that make our everyday life easier. At the same time, IoT advanced architecture introduces further complexity in composing a smart appliance roadmap. Indeed, creating a document which could effectively map out IoT device strategic goals and keep all stakeholders up-to-date with your priorities is not an easy task. But no matter how challenging this task looks to your team, a roadmap is an essential and even an inevitable step in the project development process.
In our new article, we will talk about a smart device roadmap and how to make it stay up-to-date for years to come.
What Is It All about?
A smart device roadmap is an interactive document that outlines appliance’s vision and expected progress over time. A well-built product roadmap gives its potential readers a good understanding of your key strategy as well as goals and priorities both in short and long term perspectives. Moreover, an IoT device roadmap builds a bridge between people behind the product and external (or internal) stakeholders. Very often it also contributes to further discussions and scenario planning for your smart device. No wonder that successful companies spend sufficient amount of time composing a decent smart device map.
Complexity of an IoT Roadmap
As you may know, smart device technology stack consists of several complex layers, i.e. cloud apps, communications and marketing, hardware, software, cloud platform, etc. Thus, project implementation often relies on multiple dedicated teams focusing on a particular area of responsibility. It also means that your team consists of people with different backgrounds and mind-sets from technology-driven developers to creative designers and customer-oriented salesmen. Your roadmap should be written in a way reaches every team member. In such a diverse environment and a number of processes running simultaneously, it is important to make sure that the whole team has a holistic understanding of the product. In this case, the roadmap becomes a glue that brings the team together and communicates the full picture to everyone.
A well-designed smart device roadmap effectively balances a detailed vision of every layer of the technology stack with a more generalised vision of the final version of the product. Such visual summary will provide team members with sufficient level of information about the product and ensure that everyone clearly understands product key strategy and stages of development.
Industry Trends in Your Roadmap
These days, smart home market is one of the most rapidly growing industries in the world. Every year it introduces hundreds of appliances based on innovative algorithms and cutting-edge technologies. Thus, it is essential for your company to make sure that you stay up-to-date with the industry trends and use them for your device roadmap. Especially if you are new to smart home world, it is essential to keep an eye on the international consumer market and the latest trends introduced by well-recognized tech giants. In this case, tech exhibitions and industrial conferences regularly organized in different parts of the world are the best places to share ideas, present products, meet influencers and learn about the newest trends for the upcoming years. World Summit AI, Web Summit Lisbon, London Tech Week are just a few popular events attended by the most progressive companies and their CEOs. It is always a good idea for your company representatives to attend some of those events in order to get a clear idea of what is being discussed in tech circles nowadays.
Roadmap Building Tips
Before proceeding with the product roadmap building, it is worth reflecting on your key business goals and general strategy. A good understanding of your device priorities will determine the quality of the future product roadmap. Product vision should also be supported by details related to your customers and their needs. Creating great products is impossible without communication, feedback and transparency. That is why it is important to stay in touch with your team and regularly discuss where your product is moving. With the help of different product management software, you can easily share your roadmaps in order to get feedback and comments from your fellow colleagues and interested parties.
Story mapping is a great technique which helps to provide another level of detail across the Smart device technology stack. This technique effectively shows how product characteristics align to different elements of the end-to-end smart device. As a result, stakeholders get a more interactive summary of the product vision and priorities for various technology stack layers. Story mapping also helps teams to relate the expected functionality to the everyday tasks they will have to perform.
To illustrate how story mapping works in practice, we used the example of a smart device with the standard technology stack and three product releases. This digital summary shows that release #1 impacts all layers of the technology stack and as a result will require more time and human resources. It also explains what goals are expected to be achieved during each of the releases.
For all modern industries there is one big rule — a successful business is a business that grows exponentially. If you want to accept this sort of challenge and create an efficient case you should design you roadmap according to real customers needs. The problem is you can’t discover them in-depth at once. So prepare for some unexpected breakthroughs that can completely transform your outline right in the way.
At the beginning it’s quite a common approach to start the product development with building your own hypothesis how your device can cover user pain points and customer requests. Don’t keep everything in your mind. Search for experts of the industry to make sure you really move in the right direction. The true analysis begins only after you launch the first version of your device. Only at this moment you can properly check your hypothesis — you measure and comprehend the product fit via live customer surveys and update your primary roadmap regarding your insights.
Of course, roadmap is a plan of your product development you should follow to be coherent and logical in what your team does. But who says that it can’t change in course of time due to a new understanding of user demands? Roadmap is a flexible strategy which you improve little by little collecting more information on your customer actual preferences.
Communicating the full picture of the smart device throughout your company is the biggest challenge that product managers face. Despite the fact that building a well-thought product map requires a lot of time and dedication, it is probably one of the most important steps in the product development process. Advanced architecture of a smart device introduces additional complexity in conveying product goals and priorities to several teams responsible for different layers of the technology stack. Following all necessary steps outlined in this article will result in better communication, satisfied stakeholders and happy customers.