Roadmaps are a valuable communication tool that needs to be shared. This chapter will focus on effective ways to collect input, build alignment, and distribute your roadmap.
Public vs. Private Roadmaps
Many teams maintain a customer-facing (i.e., public) roadmap as well as an internal (i.e., private) roadmap. There are some features on a roadmap that are important to internal stakeholders and not external clients. There are also some things that you are working on that may be private or sensitive (i.e., information that you might not want competitors to know).
For this reason, you may want to have two versions of your roadmap:
Internal - for stakeholders and all employees of your organization
External - for current and future clients to be able to see what product improvements they can expect
Trello has the following privacy settings for a Trello Board, which map nicely to the needs of public/private roadmaps!
What to share on a public roadmap
Share items that are:
High value to customers - things that customers have been requesting for a long time, are having challenges with, or that might convince a new customer to join.
Understandable by customers - often items that help internal stakeholders are not useful or important to external clients. Some development is for clients and some for the business itself. Only share the roadmap if customers will understand and appreciate it and it does not reveal any company weaknesses.
Not strategically sensitive - when you share themes on your roadmap rather than a list of features, the commercial sensitivity tends to be less of a problem. Sharing the areas of your future focus doesn't give much away to competitors. Having said that, if there is something you don't want competitors to know, then don't put it on your public roadmap. 😉
Creating a Public Roadmap in Trello
Here are some tips for creating a public roadmap in Trello:
Privacy Settings: Choose to make the roadmap visible on the public level.
Collecting Feedback: Choose whether to enable comments and votes.
Customization: Customize your board to reinforce your brand.
Show Done Items
One of the major benefits of public roadmaps is that customers can see what the team plans to work on in the future. It also allows them to see what has already been done. The team at Monzo (an online bank) does a nice job of highlighting its achievements by using a public roadmap to show completed items.
In addition to listing the items, they have a graphic image beside each one. The overall effect communicates that this is a team that gets things done and works to deliver for their customer.
Trello has their own public developer roadmap on their site. There is a column for each month of completed items so that you can see what has been done and when it was delivered.
The team at ReadMe.io has another interesting approach to helping customers stay informed. They put a Notify Me link beside each theme/feature on their roadmap. Customers can enter an email and get notified when that theme/feature has been worked on and a relevant update has been released. This is a way to keep customers engaged and looking forward to the improvements you are making.
Roadmaps can be beneficial for internal employees and for external clients.
The external (public) roadmap should not contain information on everything you are working on - just what clients care about.
Having a "Done" column in your public roadmap can let clients know when items are completed.
Buffer's reasons for having a public roadmap.
In the next chapter, we will talk about managing roadmap change.