Product roadmaps are strategic communication tools that enable product managers to effectively communicate deliverables and expectations surrounding the creation and launch of a new product or version.
These roadmaps are often created in applications such as spreadsheets and text documents. However, a more effective way is to use a visual planning and diagramming solution that makes it easier for you to create and share visually compelling product roadmaps.
Mind mapping software is one example of an application that can be used for visual roadmap planning. Mind maps provide a structured method to capture and organize concepts and ideas and then visualize them in a variety of ways, including timelines, tree diagrams, organizational charts, and mind maps.
MindManager® is a productivity, collaboration, and visual roadmap tool that uses mind mapping to help bring clarity and structure to projects and tasks by enabling users to create interactive diagrams, including product roadmaps.
In this article, we’ll outline some of the best practices to follow when creating a visual product roadmap in MindManager.
1. Visualize the big picture in addition to the details
With mind maps, you can use features such as filtering to focus on certain branches of your diagram and drill down into more detailed tasks or processes. This enables you to showcase the full picture of your roadmap by showing, hiding, or even fading details to highlight key areas of importance. You can also zoom in to view specific tasks and other details and connect related ideas to visually highlight key dependencies.
2. Gather and organize product requirements
You can capture all product requirements in a mind map using various functions such as notes and branches. This enables you to organize requirements into themes, epics, and user stories, all in a single diagram. From there, you can map out certain processes and workflows to further illustrate how various parts of your product roadmap fit together.
3. Collect, analyze, and assess data
Mind maps enable you to leverage quantitative analyses by using embedded spreadsheets, properties, and formulas.
Every item on your product roadmap can have its own customizable set of properties to capture and track the most important data. There’s also room to link to external resources such as documents, files, and websites by using the Notes feature.
4. Highlight relationships between ideas and projects
Mind maps enable you to show the clear relationships that exist between specific ideas by drawing relationship lines and adding task or project dependencies, links, and even attachments to connect any project or idea with related projects or additional information.
5. Encourage critical thinking and creative problem solving
Visualization can make it easier to spot missing information as well as connections that would otherwise be difficult to uncover. For example, you can leverage MindManager’s interactive visualization features to create decision trees, brainstorm solutions, and then organize these solutions into affinity diagrams.
Affinity diagrams organize several ideas into their natural relationships. It is the organized output from a brainstorming session. These diagrams are used to generate, organize, and consolidate information related to a product, process, complex issue, or problem.
6. Create roadmaps tailored for different stakeholders
Creating a product roadmap that’s easily understood by all key stakeholders is important, especially when looking for buy-in from various groups.
MindManager’s built-in and customizable maps, plans, and diagrams deliver a wide range of options to work with when looking to create different roadmaps for different stakeholders. Some of the templates include:
- Affinity diagrams
- Concept maps
- SWOT diagrams
- Decision tree diagrams
- Gantt charts
- and more!
7. Collect feedback and encourage cross-team collaboration
With MindManager, you can easily add branches, comments, or notes within projects while presenting your roadmap to various stakeholder groups. This enables you to document feedback in real-time and gather any new ideas that may influence the future direction of the product and the team.
Unlike other presentation tools, where it can be challenging to both present and take notes, MindManager enables users to co-edit roadmaps simultaneously in real time to easily gather feedback from both internal and external stakeholders and add it to your product roadmap right away.
MindManager for Microsoft Teams also enables team members to create and work on maps together in real time. This enables teams to facilitate dynamic planning, brainstorming, whiteboarding, and more, without ever leaving the app.
With MindManager, creating and organizing your visual roadmaps is fast and simple with powerful filtering and easy drag-and-drop capabilities that help you to organize your ideas into product initiatives, and initiatives into product releases.
This is the fourth article in a four-part series. Start at the beginning here!