Top 10 Reasons Why SaaS Product Roadmaps Fail (and How to Get Yours Right)
What are the top ten reasons why a SaaS product roadmap fails to deliver its essence and how to fix it right? Read on to know more.
If you had to design your business website from scratch, there are lesser chances of things going wrong. And the reason behind that is simple – you have a clear-cut task and you exactly know what you have to accomplish. However, the same does not hold true for creating a SaaS product roadmap. Designing a roadmap for your product is not that straight and needs creative thinking, visualization, and planning that is subjective in nature. Let us now look at the top 10 reasons why SaaS product roadmaps fail and how to affix them right.
One of the biggest yet most common reasons why product roadmaps fail is because the product managers assume it to be a list of details and features they want to be included in the product. Instead, it is a strategic document designed to communicate a product’s plan and vision for better development. To affix this fail, try to keep it short and crisp. Put up information that adds value to your product. Do not make it too long and confusing, as this will only bore your readers.
The second you create and share your product roadmap as a static document, there is a fair chance that you are going to face a version-control mess and you would not want to be a part of that. It is quite easy for your product roadmap word file to fly around and even outside your organization. Sooner or later, you will find morphed versions that add to the confusion. To steer away from this, maintain a web-based roadmap application. It gives you the control to access, edit and share only with trusted members. They will see only the latest version updated by you.
It is a given that your roadmap should have all the details and information about the product. Wait a minute, but should it have all the information? Your roadmap should be a high-level strategic document. The best way to affix it is by keeping it to the point. The time for details will be later, and the places to capture and track these details will be documents other than the roadmap.
Know what constitutes an unrealistic demand. It could be possible that you have immense pressure to create a sophisticated document that your team might not have the requisite skill set for. Or maybe the demands are unrealistic because they force you to set a timetable that your team simply can’t meet. For this, set a plan in motion with your team and know what looks real and what does not.
Adding everything into your product roadmap will pull in unnecessary pressure on your team and will eventually dilute the essence of the pivotal priorities that you have set at first. Thing big, but at the same point, ensure acting small. To fix this, know what should be added to the list, and know what should be subtracted. Less is more.
Not knowing what comes first on your roadmap and what’s less relevant may lead to wasting your team’s time and effort on things that will have little to no impact. Additionally, it will lead to severe consequences that you don’t want to be a part of. To affix this, make sure that you bring out a stellar prioritization framework that will help you know your priorities straight.
While it is important to keep an eye on what your competitions are doing, you do not necessarily have to copy their steps and strategies. Own your missions and visions and create your own individuality in your industry. When you start to copy them, you lose out on authenticity and customers view this as a red flag. To fix this, stop relying on others and build your entire roadmap yourself without peeping into other’s businesses.
Loop in your marketing and sales team when you are drafting your product roadmap. If your marketing and sales teams don’t know what’s coming next, they won’t be able to build strong promotions, upsells, or cross-selling strategies. To fix this, run an all-hands meeting with all and align your strategies with theirs coupled with the next course of action.
This is a big-time killer and reason behind your roadmap’s failure. Do not draft a product roadmap out of thin air or one which is based on your gut feeling. You do need a clear strategy as well as data to come up with a roadmap that sustains. Know what kind of investment you need, its impacts, effects, and the other relevant information too.
We all know that you will find a countless stream of user requests. While that is a good thing in one way, it does not necessarily mean you have to include all these requests into your roadmap. That does not work that way. It’s unsustainable, and in most cases, these requests aren’t aligned with your overall product vision.
Follow these aforementioned points and you are halfway through a stellar product roadmap. When you do not get these straight, there is a good chance that your team will meet into chaos and things will not turn up as planned. The right product roadmap will reduce the uncertainty your team may experience and follow a strategic plan that is aligned with your overall vision.
Originally Published August 10th, 2021, Updated August 10th, 2021
Simran hails from the content marketing backdrop with extensive knowledge in blogs, articles, and technical whitepapers in the non-fictional domain. She uses her 'gift of the gab' to explore new possibilities on her way and to make an exquisite impact on her readers. In her spare time, she likes to read journals on artificial intelligence or play with her cute kittens.