Radically Honest Blog

Why You Needed an Outcome-Based Roadmap Yesterday

There comes a time when traditional roadmaps just won’t cut it anymore – they’ll consolidate the tasks and milestones that it’ll take to get to the end of the journey but not the value you’re getting past that conclusion.

Could there very well be a better way to energize your team and let that creativity loose?

We’ll be talking all about outcome-based roadmaps. Here’s the lowdown of what we’ll cover:

  • A quick roadmap boot camp to help you understand what outcome-based roadmaps are and the steps on how to make one
  • Whether they’re everything they’re made out to be or if they have flaws that make them more suitable in certain scenarios
  • How they stack up against traditional roadmaps and other variations of them

What is an Outcome-Based Roadmap?

If you’ve felt weighed down by traditional roadmaps because of their task-based nature, outcome-based roadmaps can help shift the focus from checking off boxes to envisioning what success looks like.

While typical roadmaps can narrow a project down to simply what the team needs to produce, it could be more productive to figure out what would happen once the product is delivered to the audience. 

All product managers know that the ‘after’ – the outcome and impact of rolling out that new product or feature – is just as important as the ‘before’ and ‘during.’ It connects the dots between the product, result, and vision, whether the outcome is to boost sales or improve quality.

Creating an Outcome-Based Roadmap in 6 Simple Steps

To create an outcome-based roadmap, you’ll work backwards, starting from what happens after the product is released.

  1. Define Clear Objectives: Outcome-driven roadmaps don’t revolve around finishing product features. They push past the outputs and inspire you and your team to focus on meaningful changes to your business. Every objective should then be a valuable outcome. A tech startup might say they want to increase app downloads by 250% by the end of the year, which is a goal that makes a real and measurable difference.
Outcome list in Fibery
Outcome list in Fibery
  1. List What Outputs Need To Be Achieved: It might sound ironic having to list outputs, but these smaller steps are still necessary items that your team needs to achieve your objectives. Following our previous example, those outputs could include crafting a great user interface, creating an engaging content strategy, and implementing a secure checkout process. These are the means to get to the big goal(s) from Step 1, and all serve their own independent and interdependent purpose.
A long list of initiative items
A long list of initiative items
  1. Outline the Path to Get There: You’ve got your outputs, you’ve got your objectives – now you need to bridge the gap between them and connect your creations to the impact they’ll bring. Rather than immediately going more micro and breaking down your outputs into smaller tasks, you’ll ask yourself how the output contributes to the desired outcome. For instance, putting that payment gateway in place will increase trust and the chances of a successful purchase. 
  2. Create Milestones: Finally, you’ll start to create those realistic mini-goals for a more manageable journey. If the sales goal is to increase by 50%, you can break that down into smaller milestones so you don’t have to jump from 0 to 100 right away. You could start with a modest increase of 10% three months after the website launch, then a larger 30% rise by six months. It’ll help your team monitor progress more closely and stay motivated.
  3. Pinpoint Any Dependencies: Any project, no matter how small or large, will have its potential hitches that could make things go off course – and it’s essential to plan for those. The way to go about it is to think of any elements that your roadmap needs to be successful. If we’re going with the website design example, those dependencies could include potential outsourcing, any technical infrastructure needs, budgets, and external factors like customer behavior. All these elements should be accounted for before you start the process.
  4. Regular Review: Evaluation is important, but going over things just once won’t be nearly as effective as continuous evaluation. If you’ve set a 10% increased sales target and only end up seeing a 5% outcome, you wouldn’t want to shrug it off and let things play out as they are. You’d want to figure out, using analytics, why that was the case. Are customers abandoning their carts because of a certain reason? Were there technical issues on your website? With that new information, you can revise your plan and make well-informed tweaks to improve the process.

The Pros and Cons of Having an Outcome-Based Roadmap

There are a variety of positive use cases for outcome-oriented roadmaps, including adopting a results-based focus. 

Instead of building different features as your main goals, you’d have specific and measurable outcomes such as “increase user retention by 20%” or “decrease churn rate by 10%.” With this focus, teams are awarded more flexibility, which is especially useful when you need to make changes to your strategy. There’s also a bigger emphasis on teamwork and creativity, where everyone comes together to think about how to achieve specific goals as one.

While these types of roadmaps are incredibly useful, they aren’t a catch-all solution for every project.

Those meaningful goals like “increase user retention by 20%” could prove more challenging than expected. It requires a lot more thought than simply saying a feature has been developed or completed. What defines user retention? What does user retention mean for your business?

Not every project would benefit from an outcome-based roadmap, either. Some projects might need everyone to focus more on a structured and linear plan, particularly those with an ordered task list. If you don’t have the time to dedicate upfront to an outcome-driven roadmap and understand your goals, customers, and other factors, it can also prove ineffective.

Outcome-Based Roadmaps: How They Compare with Others

To get a better idea, let’s size up the outcome-based roadmap against the popular traditional feature roadmap and the goal-oriented roadmap (which may sound too similar for comfort at first).

  • Outcome-Based Roadmap vs. Feature Roadmap: Feature roadmaps are all about the features and tasks that are tied to a product. It’s not about what happens after the fact – it’s about what teams have to do to finish up those tasks one by one in order to get to product delivery. Outcome-based roadmaps are more interested in the impact those features create in the long run and their purpose.
  • Outcome-Based Roadmap vs. Goal-Oriented Roadmap: Goals and outcomes might sound inherently similar, but there’s actually a huge difference. The goal-oriented roadmap is a more strategic version of the feature roadmap, making sure all those tasks align with broader goals. But that still doesn’t concern any of the post-deliver impacts. The outcome-oriented roadmap goes that step further and ties those tasks to measurable outcomes.

The PM’s Hot Take

Outcome-based roadmaps are the perfect tool when you want to stop simply “doing” things and start achieving. If you find your team is overly focused on getting tasks done and losing sight of the big picture, it’s probably a good time to change things up. Teams become more empowered and motivated when they go in with a perspective of “what goals are we hitting with these tasks.” It’s often too easy to get lost in a routine and lose focus, and that’s where the outcome-based roadmap moves beyond just a tool to a way to respark a renewed sense of purpose. 


An outcome-driven roadmap connects the doing and achieving – two things that matter most in product management. So, why just check off tasks when you can transform the entire process? With Fibery, you can reimagine roadmap building and other product management processes. Start a 14-day free trial today and make the most of our suite of highly useful PM tools. Curious about other PM strategies you’re missing out on? Read more insights on our blog.

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