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How to Choose a Roadmap Tool

How to Choose a Roadmap Tool

People often associate the word “roadmap” with “product”, but the reality is that everybody needs to create roadmaps. At the end of the day, a roadmap is a plan of action that defines what are the goals that we are trying to achieve, and how to achieve them.

A roadmap tool helps users create, manage and share roadmaps. There are many options available in the market, but how do you effectively choose a roadmap tool for your specific needs? Ultimately, the process of selecting a roadmap tool is really important because that tool will influence how you think, plan, communicate and work, and it should also help you maximize your business outcomes.

If you are trying to choose a great roadmap tool but don’t know how to do a proper evaluation, this quick guide will come in handy. So, what does the best product roadmapping tool deliver?  We’ve narrowed it down to 4 key areas and broken down a checklist for each:

1. Transforms Your Workflow to Outcome-Focused

  • Connects strategy to product delivery.
  • Creates, builds, and shares visual roadmaps based on data, allowing product managers to defend their plans easily.
  • Goes beyond planning by providing portfolio allocation that is seamlessly integrated.
  • Connects to execution tools (Jira, GitHub, Clubhouse, Asana), so you know where you are and whether you can deliver your roadmap.

2. Flexibility

  • Enables various roadmapping styles, such as OKR or outcome-based roadmaps.
  • Easy to use across all levels of the product org —  individual PMs, group managers, Chief Product Officers, and their stakeholders
  • Integrates with engineering, development, and communication tools.
  • Allows you to build various roadmaps in minutes — changing formats in a few clicks while using the same data.

3. Creates Visibility into Your Organization

  • Maintains tight alignment that’s loosely coupled for cross-functional teams.
  • Gains insights and analytics around requests.
  • Delivers one-click roadmap sharing in various formats, only showing the data you want and multiple levels of granularity depending on the audience.
  • Views roadmap roll-ups across multiple levels and hierarchies, giving your entire product team multiple lenses to view their efforts.
  • Goes beyond planning by providing automatic tracking and alerts with roll-up progress and predictive schedules.

4. Empowers Teams

  • Receives best practices and pre-set workflows designed specifically by former product leaders.
  • Provides best practice education, free product management, and product-ops webinars, and a community of product professionals willing to help you make better decisions that accelerate business outcomes.
  • Connects with a team of world-class team product consultants as your customer success manager.

Good vs. Great Product Roadmap Tools

Now that you know what to look for when choosing a product roadmap tool, let’s look at what sets a great tool apart from the rest.

OK Roadmap ToolGREAT Roadmap Tool
VisualizationVariety of formats such as board, list, and GanttVariety of formats while also laying in multiple perspectives: Goals or work, themes, strategies, time horizon
PlanningTimeline basedChoose the style that works for your team —timeline-based, lean roadmap, strategic plan — while connecting multiple horizons across various teams and dependency plans.
Prioritizing Supports RICE, MoSCoW, or simple scoring models Support RICE, MoSCow, simple scoring ROI-based prioritization, and target allocation models, in addition to dynamic prioritization models that connect shifting goals or strategies via MoAR
Portfolio Can group multiple teams for roll-upCan roadmap across multiple teams, and at individual team levels to support both top-down roadmaps and bottom-up roll-ups

A basic roadmap tool illustrates a wish list. A great roadmap tool should support a portfolio approach to building products while collaborating with product operations, engineering, go-to-market teams, customers, and external parties. And it should, ultimately, help you maximize your business outcomes. 

At Dragonboat we help teams practice outcome-focused and customer-obsessed product management.  Dragonboat is a complete roadmap tool for your outcome-focused product teams. Check it out via Dragonboat’s free trial today or schedule a demo with one of our product expert consultants. We’re here to help and get you on your way to accelerate outcomes.

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Bill Cushard

Bill Cushard

Bill Cushard is general manager of partner success at Dragonboat, the product portfolio management platform for outcome-driven product teams. Prior to joining Dragonboat, Bill held leadership roles in customer success, professional services, and marketing at ServiceRocket, Accenture, and E*TRADE Financial.
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