Product Roadmap First Principles

It’s Product Roadmap Building Time Again!

The end of 2020 is nearing, and it’s product roadmap building time again—at least for those companies that are still dedicated to the old command-and-control model. In the next few weeks, executives and (key) stakeholders will come together and define new functionality that they believe will meet business demands in 2021.

While investing in product roadmaps can yield a reasonable return by creating a shared understanding between the “the business” and product teams, I also believe that product roadmaps need to be living artifacts requiring continuous attention by everyone involved. To make that process as worthwhile as possible, adhering to the following seven product roadmap first principles has proven beneficial in my experience.

Product Roadmap First Principles —
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Product Discovery Anti-Patterns Leading to Failure

TL;DR: Product Discovery Anti-Patterns

Scrum has proven to be an effective product delivery framework for digital products like applications or apps. However, Scrum is equally suited to build the wrong product efficiently as its Achilles heel has always been the product discovery part. What product discovery part, you may think now. And this is precisely the point: The product owner miraculously identifies what is the best way to proceed as a team by gating and prioritizing the product backlog. How that is supposed to happen is nowhere described in the Scrum Guide. Consequently, when everyone is for himself, product discovery anti-patterns emerge.

From sunk costs, HIPPO-ism, my-budget-my-features to self-fulfilling prophecies — learn more about the numerous product discovery anti-patterns that can manifest themselves when you try to fill Scrum’s product discovery void.

Age of Product: Product Discovery Anti-Patterns Leading to Failure
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Product Roadmap Failure: Stop Setting Them Up To Fail

TL;DR: Product Roadmap Failure: Stop Setting Them Up To Fail

When dealing with product roadmap failure, stop debating whether you are doing product roadmaps “right”, or whether roadmaps are evil. Look instead at the job you are hiring your roadmap to achieve. And then ask if the roadmap is the best tool for the job.


  • 14 Common Product Roadmap Failures
  • A Summary of Almost all Methodology Debates on Twitter
  • Roadmap Needs and Being Awesome

New to Product Management? What is a product roadmap? For a standard definition see here.

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