Roadmaps: The Do's & Dont's by Skyscanner Sr PM, Radu Prajisteanu

You probably work on a product team or with product teams, or you're a product manager. You know the difference between product management and project management, terms such as stakeholders, users, users vs. customers, vision, missions and the concept of strategy, which needs to be analyzed in more detail.
Strategy is one of the misunderstood concepts and is the foundation of a successful roadmap.
A good strategy is one that has a clear diagnosis, a guiding principle, and a concerted action.
Diagnostics are educated guesses about what is happening in a given situation. Diagnosis replaces the overwhelming complexity of the situation with a simple and short story that everyone can understand. This simplified model makes it possible to understand the situation and deal more with solving the problem. A good diagnosis does more than just explain the situation, it also defines the scope for action. When we define a policy, they describe a general approach to overcome the obstacles that are identified in the diagnostics. It is a guide because it directs energy and effort in one direction without defining exactly how it should be done.
Good politics is not about goals, visions or visions of the future. Instead, they determine the method of dealing with the situation and managing a huge range of possibilities.
Strategy means action. To close the cycle, we need sequential actions. It is not necessary to define exactly the whole set of actions, what exactly we do and when we do it, but it is enough to clarify the concepts that we are trying to do.
To be strong, actions must be coordinated and build on each other to focus organizational energy.
A bad strategy will lead to a bad result regardless of the quality of your roadmap and the quality of you as a product manager. A bad strategy can be recognized by some personality traits such as fluffiness, failure to face challenges, poor strategic goals. It is a mistake to think that the goal is a strategy, it is not. Strategizing is simply an expression of desire. Bad strategic goals fail to solve critical problems when they are not practical.

A product roadmap it's not a project plan!

The project plan does not recognize or focus on delivering value to clients and organizations. Roadmaps bring value first. In most cases, projects are concerned with maximizing, giving back, meeting deadlines, and pooling resources in the best possible way. It's not bad, but it's not a roadmap. We can supply many things and features, but they may not be of benefit to the customer.
Product roadmaps are plans to provide value.
Roadmaps are like a bridge between product strategy and product development.

A flawed roadmap will produce a product with technical debt, wasted resources, shady quality or strategic compromises (late to market, not meeting the market's demands, not delivering the expected value to partners or customers).

A good roadmap, besides delivering what was promised, it will be able to identify flaws in either on the strategy or development side.

What is a product roadmap?

A good product roadmap should be all of these three things: clear, visual and accessible.

Dos and DONT's

  • Don't assume that after one meeting your team and stakeholders understood the roadmap.

    Do a stakeholder map and interviews. Understand their time, objectives and needs. Adapt your story to your audience.

  • Don't fall into the output trap. Don't transform the roadmap into a project plan.

    Do your due diligence to deliver value and represent it clearly on your roadmap. Break larger problems in smaller ones.

    Adapt your roadmap to your organization needs and structure.

  • Don't get bogged down into design. Don't reinvent hot water. Don't use fluff.

    Do: Keep it short and sweet. It's about the story first, then think about design.

    Design needs to be consistent w / your organization to reduce cognitive load.

  • Don't omit research and learning on you roadmap.

    Do: Recognize that your product will get better only with discovery, and sometimes we discover that one path is not the right one. Fail fast, fail early.


  1. You are not alone.

  2. Create a behaviour of continous discovery.

  3. Treat your roadmap as a product.

Radu Prajisteanu, Skyscanner Sr PM