Product developers should reshape their expectations about products to create a road map for the products after the initial launch
In the world of product development, end dates don’t exist. Launch day is definitely a great time to celebrate all the hard work put into the product, but developers would be foolish to think their job is done.
No team – not even with the most prolific developers on the globe – nails it on the first try.
Developers don’t know the truth about their product until it’s out there for people to use. Everything leading up to the first launch is projection; everything after is reality.
Once a product is live, consumer behavior and feedback will illuminate a whole new set of challenges to face.
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Further, because technology isn’t stagnant, the environment surrounding the product will continuously evolve, meaning the product will also have to evolve in order to remain relevant.
A product road map will guide a project team the same way an actual map guides travelers to a destination. It aligns every stakeholder in the process, helping them holistically understand the problem they are solving and how their individual contributions contribute to the big picture.
This road map should be created on day one – immediately after the first conversation with the client — and it should serve as the team’s guide for the project’s entire lifespan.
It should contain a high-level strategy for the product over time, taking into account both behavioral and environmental factors that could influence the product’s future.
As the development process progresses, the landscape can get hazy. Often, this is due to unexpected curveballs, communication breakdowns and differences in understanding.
For example, various teams across a project could interpret a client expectation completely differently. In this scenario, a centralised road map that everyone has access to serves as a central record of truth that contains universally agreed-upon directions, goals, and insights, removing guesswork and subjectivity from the equation.
Road maps present the big picture and keep it at the forefront of everyone’s mind.