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Top Product Roadmapping Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Krunal Shah

Jun 23, 2022

8 min readLast Updated Dec 05, 2022

The product roadmap is pivotal for any product and plays a crucial role in determining a product’s success. Product backlog roadmap mistakes are not only unwanted but affect a product’s possibility of being successful. Statistics say that nearly 95% of the products fail every year and product roadmapping mistakes are one of the prime reasons behind it.

Adopting product roadmap best practices can help you in this, but unless you have a proper idea of exactly what type of product backlog roadmap mistake you need to avoid, it is next to impossible to ensure that your product roadmap will lead you to success. Your product roadmap should be built in a way so that it is capable of communicating all the top-level product goals, outlines, and overall design and planning.

The main idea behind it is to offer a complete visual representation of your product strategies, solutions, and functionalities. So, it is of utmost importance to ensure that your product roadmap reflects the whole product purpose and idea and lets you align with your business goals properly.

No matter whether you are planning your product development or trying to reach your product goals, you must know how to make a product roadmap successfully. To let you nail making your product roadmap like a pro, in this blog, we will walk you through the top product roadmapping mistakes you must avoid to make your product roadmapping successful and let you achieve your overall product goals. So, let’s get started!

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What Is a Product Roadmap?

A product roadmap is defined as a well-defined outline of your product’s plan that lets you align with your product goals as well as the related business goals. It is basically a strategic plan to determine the process, resources, and relevant steps to turn your product idea into a successful reality.

A product roadmap is crucial for any product as it lets the stakeholders get a complete view of your product and the relevant strategic benefits they can get from it. Some of the most used product roadmaps are release plans, now-next-later roadmap, timeline roadmap, and sprint plan roadmap, to name a few.

This high-level document facilitates a strategic approach to ensure your product is as per your requirements, lets you reach your product and associated business goals, and is purposeful from a strategic point of view. To ensure that your product roadmap is highly successful in serving its purpose, you must know the product roadmap best practices.

But before all that, first, you need to know the most common product backlog roadmap mistakes to avoid. In the next part, we are going to discuss it in more detail.

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Top Common Mistakes in Product Roadmapping: What You Must Avoid

Just opting for the best tool for product roadmap is not sufficient unless you know how to avoid product backlog roadmap to ensure product roadmap best practices. And here we are listing out the top product backlog roadmap mistakes that you should avoid at any cost no matter whether you are in the product development phase or trying to align with your product goals. Let’s have a look!

1. Only Focusing on Product Features

One of the common product backlog roadmap mistakes is, assuming that the product roadmap is meant to include only your product features. But it is a completely wrong idea about product roadmapping.

A product’s success majorly depends on how efficiently it solves the specific problem or set of problems it is meant to. So unless you give a crystal clear view of the top solutions offered by your product, there is no way to estimate its potential or how it can benefit the stakeholders.

For instance, for a grocery delivery app, mentioning the feature ‘grocery delivery at your doorstep’ doesn’t make it clear in which way the app has competitive advantages over the other similar existing apps. But mentioning the solution ‘it delivers groceries in just 15 minutes irrespective of your location’ may give a better view of how it is solving a specific problem relevant to the market it is operating in. The same goes for any product. Always focus more on its feature-rich solutions and not just on a mere list of features.

2. Not Opting for a Product Strategy

One of the top purposes of product roadmapping is to convey the product strategy through the relevant details that can let you achieve your overall business goals better. Unless your product strategy is conveyed through your product roadmap, the majority of its purpose will be lost.

Also, it will make it extremely difficult for the stakeholders to align the product’s vision and goals with their strategic approach and aim. No matter whether you choose the best tool for a product roadmap or not, if your product strategy is not implemented in it, it will fail to become a strategic visual tool for your product which is the main purpose of creating it in the first place.

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3. Not Having the Required Data

Data is everything and when it comes to adopting product roadmap best practices, you must be ready with all the required data and utilize them in the best possible way. One of the common product backlog roadmap mistakes is not focusing enough on data.

This not just affects your whole product roadmap quality but often becomes a restraining factor in your product roadmap meetings where the stakeholders may need specific data to justify your specific actions or product functionalities mentioned in the product roadmap. To avoid this product backlog roadmap mistake, ensure that you collect, store and analyze the relevant data related to market research, competition analysis, user persona creation and mapping, product’s competitive features and functionality analysis, and others. This will only make your product roadmap much stronger and more efficient.

4. Lack of Alignment with the Company Goals

The ultimate goal of your product roadmap is to let you achieve success. If your product roadmap is not relevant to your business vision or your product goals are not properly aligned with your company goals, then it is going to be a major problem.

This is often considered one of the most common yet impactful product backlog roadmap mistakes that you must avoid. One of the product roadmap best practices in this scenario will be having a clear idea about your business vision, broader goals as well as the stakeholders’ strategic approaches and mission-relevant to your product. Keeping all these in your mind during your product roadmapping will help you ensure it is properly aligned with your business goals and not irrelevant to your company’s strategic mission.

5. Making a Rigid Roadmap

You can’t afford to make this product backlog roadmap mistake. Your product roadmap is not just a one-time document to create and dispose of later.

Rather it is needed to be continuously reviewed, analyzed, updated, and utilized. No matter whether you opt for the best tool for product roadmap or not, if your product roadmap is not flexible enough, then it will be too difficult to pace up with the dynamic market trends, stakeholders’ approach, present competition, and the current business objectives. Always review and analyze it systematically and timely to ensure it is up-to-date and is capable of serving real values to your business.

6. Not Prioritizing as per the Requirements

We often get too focused on adopting the best tool for the product roadmap, that we forget to prioritize what matters the most in product roadmapping. This is one of the most frequently occurred mistakes among the product backlog roadmap mistakes.

A product roadmap generally consists of a lot of components, levels, and elements, and you must prioritize them based on your prime product and business goals and the stakeholders’ expectations. For instance, if there are both features and solutions listed out in a product roadmap, then you must prioritize the list of solutions over the list of features, and so on. The purpose is, not to make your product roadmap unnecessarily crowded and focus on the key areas to optimize your product roadmap.

7. Lack of Collaboration

One of the product roadmap best practices is to make it collaborative. Your product roadmap is not just meant to list out your product features and functionalities, but you need to make it a visual strategic tool that is purposeful for your business and relevant stakeholders.

Your product roadmap is meant to be a joint effort from your teams or at least a few members from each of your teams who are related to your product. By incorporating the insights, visions, and goals of the stakeholders as well as the team members, you can make your product roadmap more efficient than ever.

8. Making it Too Detailed

Another common product backlog roadmap mistake is adding too much unnecessary detailing to your product roadmap. A product roadmap is meant to drive your product’s success and not just hold a pool of unwanted information.

This only makes your product roadmap more confusing and inefficient. One of the top product roadmap best practices is to make it a high-level and strategy-driven document that can guide you to the product’s success.

Your product roadmap is meant to fit the top strategies, business goals and mission. And cutting out irrelevant detailing can save you from another product backlog roadmap mistake.

9. Not Thinking from a Business Perspective

Just listening to your inner voice and not thinking from a business perspective is a serious product backlog roadmap that one can make. It is obvious that you will have your approach, motivation or thoughts behind developing a product, but how realistic and relevant are those from a business point of view?

Or, whether they are driven by any specific strategies or not? Always remember, your product roadmapping should be based on a highly strategic approach and not just your inner thoughts which don’t have any connection with the business goals.

So, to avoid this product backlog roadmap mistake, always ensure that your decisions, approach, and ideas are based on the relevant analysis and cater to your business growth. Ensuring your thoughts and ideas are not just theoretical but add real values to your product roadmap is one of the product roadmap best practices you can adopt.

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Product roadmapping is an unskippable part to ensure your product as well as your overall business’s success. Your focus should not just be on having the best tool for product roadmap or adopting the product roadmap best practices, but should also ensure that you are not doing any product backlog roadmap mistakes. The above guide will help you have a better understanding of the most common product backlog roadmap mistakes and avoid them beforehand to make your product roadmap a complete success.

If you are looking for a professional product development solution, Third Rock Techkno can be a perfect fit to accommodate all your requirements. From product roadmapping to product launching, we not only take care of every step but ensure a good market positioning for an optimized outcome. Take a look at our extensive portfolio and drop us a line to get started today.

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