We frequently hear clients ask us to create a roadmap. Is the roadmap for a project or a product? Then there is often when we spend more time discussing the fundamentals of road mapping and what each one includes.
Project management differs significantly from product management, particularly in relation to roadmaps. While there are some similarities between product roadmaps and project roadmaps, there are also many significant differences. By beginning to recognize the difference between a project and a product, we can better comprehend them. So let’s dig into the matter of project and product, the differences, the components, and the process.
Product vs. Project
According to GanttPro, a good or service that is offered to a group of users is referred to as a product. Products can be anything that is supplied to an end user. It can be tangible objects, software programs, and services.
The lifetime of a product starts with an idea and ends with a product phase-out. When the product is no longer being used, the phase-out stage of the product comes to an end. For a physical product, the phase-out stage is when the company stops providing support for the product.
According to Aha!, a project is a series of plans or tasks that are carried out over a set period of time. The project is concluded when its goal is attained or goes into the maintenance stage. A project holds either a fixed scope or a fixed budget. After both are concluded, a project is either closed or extended with new scope and budget.
There are several connections between products and projects. The main bond is that a product often consists of many projects before launching or updating. There is a distinct timetable for each project. It's all complete from start to end dates. The end date marks the time at which the project is finished.
The Key Difference
An example of a product roadmap (source: ganttpro.com)
According to Aha!, product roadmaps commonly include high-level strategic initiatives, important upcoming releases, and features to achieve short-term and long-term goals. The product roadmap informs internal and external stakeholders of the general direction of the product. Besides, it is also used to establish priorities and assure the plans will support the business goals.
An example of a project roadmap (source: aha.io)
A project roadmap, in contrast, is a strategy to complete the project objectives by providing a clear timeline of specific tasks which must be achieved before the project is accomplished. Project roadmaps typically include project goals, key milestones, and a timeline to set the overall schedule.
A project roadmap has a set beginning and ending date. This enables stakeholders to have a thorough understanding of the schedule and goals so that everyone is aware of the project's scope.
The Key Components
Another difference between these two types of roadmaps is their key components. Product managers have different objectives than project managers. Therefore, it is common that a product roadmap has different content than a project roadmap.
Product roadmaps usually include these key components:
- Product goals
- Strategic initiatives
- Key releases and features
- Master features or Epics
- Major users' stories or features
- KPI definition
While project roadmaps commonly contain these key components:
- Project goals
- Resource allocation
- Potential risk
Every roadmap has a distinct area of focus. The product roadmap lays out the strategies for achieving the product goals. Product goals are frequently connected to business goals. The project roadmap also provides a plan for a specific project but is often focused more on the timeline.
There are typically two processes of the product and project roadmaps. What are they?
The Creation Process
The process of creating a roadmap is often led by a product manager. A product manager needs to collaborate with cross-functional teams, such as engineering, sales, and marketing, as well as the executive team. They will develop a strategy that will achieve important corporate goals and objectives. It is crucial for a product manager to approach their product with goals in mind from the start of this process. Once the roadmap is created, it will cover the high-level elements that will help the product succeed.
On the contrary, a project manager usually creates the project roadmap. Product goals are less important to the project manager due to their own objective. The goal is to complete the project by the deadline. Project roadmaps cover overall resources, team capacity, and the milestones that must be fulfilled to complete the project.
The Sharing Process
As for the sharing process, it is important to share both types of roadmaps with the internal and external teams. This allows the stakeholders to be informed of the product or project’s progress. Teams can work more efficiently if stakeholders are involved.
The purpose of sharing product roadmaps is to help teams understand the overall strategy of the product. This also enables teams to comprehend the details of features and to communicate key benefits to customers. In addition, sharing product roadmaps allows internal teams to stay focused. It helps them be aware of how new features will impact customers.
On the other side, internal teams can better grasp the schedule for certain project milestones by sharing project roadmaps. Projects often have constraints on resources or budget. Cross-functional teams may comprehend better on these matters by communicating the project plan.
Product and project roadmaps are both essential for business. They help teams stay on the same page while they work to create something long-lasting. Having a breakthrough concept and communicating your direction to the team will lead to great good.
Therefore, it is very important to create and communicate product and project roadmaps correctly and on target. This makes it possible to achieve product goals or execute projects correctly and on time. Using a cutting-edge project management tool like VirtualSpace allows your teams to stay on top of any deadlines while achieving your business goals. It helps your teams to be more productive by supporting effective collaboration.