Radically Honest Blog

Mastering the Journey: the Power of Product Design Roadmaps

Product managers are typically in continuous pursuit of executing projects. You’re constantly juggling multiple projects at once, and your careful planning extends far beyond completing them on time and pleasing stakeholders. Creating a successful product design roadmap, however, could be a missing skill in your product management toolkit.

In this article, we’ll look at:

  • Roadmapping 101: Strap in, and we’ll look into the fundamentals of product design roadmaps and what sets them apart.
  • Hitting the Jackpot: Discover how the right roadmap can unlock enormous project value faster than you can say “project completion.”
  • Mirror, Mirror: It’s not just about learning the roadmapping tools of the trade – we’ll also show you how to shape a roadmap that perfectly aligns with your product strategy. 

What is a Product Design Roadmap?

Product managers have many allies and best friends, but the one confidante that stands out among them is the product design roadmap. At its core, it’s a strategy that maps out how a product or solution will develop over time. 

Essentially, it helps to envision how things will pan out from its conception to realization, including all the supplemental details about incorporating features and why and when those were added in. Digging beneath the surface, roadmaps also spark a collaborative understanding between different departments. Developers, management, designers, and others can work in sync and work towards collective goals.

While this might all sound much like UI or UX, the product design roadmap takes on a distinct role within the product life cycle, just like the others. 

UI is fully engrossed in the look and feel of the product – the visual and interactive elements such as colors and typography. In juxtaposition, UX broadens that focus to the inherent experience the user has when using a product. It considers all the possible touch points on a user journey that could affect the overall experience.

The product design roadmap supplies strategy and direction to prevent teams from aimlessly churning through these design tasks. Rather than ticking off features one by one, the roadmap collates these activities and gives them all true value and purpose.

What Are the Different Types of Product Design Roadmaps?

As there are different types of products, processes, and individual product management styles, there are naturally a variety of product design roadmaps. Let’s take a look at them:

  • Feature-Based Roadmaps: Feature-based roadmaps are primarily data-motivated and focus on none other than product feature prioritization. Resources are allocated to product features that prove to be most valuable, based on things like KPIs and user data rather than hunches. For example, if a need for a user interface refresh has been established, teams can prioritize this high-impact feature for a better ROI.
  • Goal-Oriented Roadmaps: Before focusing on the ‘what’ or ‘how,’ goal-oriented roadmaps tune in to the final stop on the journey: the goals. These types of roadmaps are big-picture guys – they make sure each and every activity has a meaningful role to play in desired outcomes so you’re not getting bogged down in nonsensical tasks. This roadmap filters out the tasks and efforts that don’t serve an end goal, which is especially useful when you’ve got limited timelines or resources.
  • Audience-Based Roadmaps: Here’s where empathy and user personas take the reins. Using this user-centric roadmap, teams are able to tune into what truly drives and deters their target audience. With product improvements and features, the audience-based roadmap is the ultimate litmus test, ensuring that developments and features are what users are genuinely looking for.
  • Outcome-Driven Roadmaps: Want to take things a step further than goal-oriented roadmaps? The outcome-driven roadmap is synonymous with impact – a need fulfilled, a problem solved, and any other beneficial outcomes that are worthwhile to your audience and your business. For businesses that want to emphasize the value yielded by goal achievement, this results-focused approach is all about the long term.
  • Theme-Based Roadmaps: Theme-based roadmaps are akin to gathering all the pieces of a puzzle and putting them together. Rather than tinkering with timelines and specific features, tasks are grouped in cases where they share a common goal. Dealing with these broader, overarching themes is ideal for more flexibility in changing market dynamics or customer preferences.
  • Feature Release Roadmaps: Acutely focused on launches, the feature release roadmap is a proactive strategy at its finest. Mapping out precise timelines to roll out each feature ensures maximum impact and amplified momentum for each event. Just like how a story unfolds, your product unfolds with user interest and engagement at heart. 

The PM’s Hot Take

Designing a product without a product design roadmap might seem like a good way to give you and your team a chance to explore unfettered creativity, but it’s a quick way to get lost. Roadmaps won’t destroy or confine your creativity – rather, they give that creativity and other key aspects like resource allocation, prototyping, and market research a much more purposeful direction toward success. While this framework matches tasks and goals to timeframes, it ventures beyond pure organization and fosters some serious synergy for optimal product development.


Whether it’s goal-oriented, feature-based, or outcome-driven, product roadmaps give order to the creative chaos. They’re essentially reliable lighthouses that guide all our efforts, ideas, and resources toward a singular endpoint.

Looking to make product management simpler overall? Fibery offers a melange of everyday product management tools so you can build an effective company workspace. You can also dive into our radically honest blog for more tidbits and insights into product management or start a 14-day trial of Fibery for free! Here’s to your next great product.

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