Saas Product Roadmap

September 16, 2022
8 mins read
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How to build a SAAS product roadmap? 

Have you ever tried to venture out into unknown territory without a map? Chances are that you will be lost several times on the way.

Similarly, when you decide to launch a product in the market, you have to navigate multiple stages of product development. Without a roadmap, there are high chances for you and your team to encounter chaos.

A SaaS product roadmap is an essential tool for product managers to navigate effectively through the stages of product development while communicating well with all stakeholders.

Let us learn more about it.

What is a SaaS product roadmap?

A SaaS product roadmap is the action plan or a layout designed to guide you in the process of product development. It is a detailed visual representation of your vision, timeline, strategies while allowing you to integrate and communicate effectively with all stakeholders involved. 

The product manager is at the helm of the SaaS product roadmap, responsible for taking inputs from other teams, integrating and coordinating them into the roadmap.  A SaaS product roadmap is not fixed or stagnant, but an evolving map, allowing you to update and include new inputs and strategies continuously.

What should a SaaS product map include?

While developing your product roadmap, you need to include all the basic and essential components listed below-

  • Vision- Your vision is the foundation of all your strategies. Your SaaS product roadmap must also revolve around its vision like all other plans.

  • Strategy - How can you realize your vision without a strategy? They are the pillars upon which all the activities will be defined. Without a strategy, you will base your work on arbitrary judgments, which will push you away from your goals.

  • Flexibility- Your SaaS product roadmap is not written in ink that you can’t erase. It should have the ability to be flexible and evolve continuously to fit in demands of the market and inputs from the stakeholders. 

  • Priority and timeframe- Prioritizing activities on the roadmap will help you to take action on urgent and important tasks. Scheduling tasks and activities according to their priorities will encourage your team to work on them actively and finish them within the time frame.

Here is a SaaS product roadmap template to help you understand better.

Source

Steps to create a product roadmap for your SaaS startup

To build a product road map, you must know the appropriate process for it. Here are the steps that will help you build an ideal road map.

Step 1: Defining product vision, strategy, and goals

Defining your vision is the first step towards building your SaaS product roadmap. Your strategies will be built around your vision. So you have to be careful while formulating your activities around it. 

For example, If you are building a recruitment tool, your vision is to become one of the industry's best and sought-after SaaS solutions. Your goals can be to achieve a defined annual revenue mark, the markets you want to capture, the brand image you want to build.

Strategies will allow you to build your activities to complement your goals and vision, like planning your sales quota, content, and marketing techniques, recruiting and training sales reps, etc.

Step 2: Collecting inputs and feedback from stakeholders

Collecting feedback from stakeholders and customers is crucial to determine the progress in the correct direction. For example, your marketing team will have different inputs, your design team may have other inputs, and there might be feedback from your customers too. 

Keeping track of all the inputs and addressing them can tend to be messy if you don’t have a defined system for it. Zeda.io has a portal to collect requests and feedback from external and internal sources and stakeholders. 

Step 3: Prioritizing the collected feedback and feature requests

Prioritizing and sorting out the essential requests is important to facilitate the product development process. 

As a product manager, you should be able to prioritize requests based on their urgency and importance. Zeda.io will allow you to format all the feedback and requests on a prioritized list and view the source and details to respond to them effectively.

Let us learn about some of the common types of prioritization frameworks -

RICE- The RICE framework derives its value from the 4 important factors:

  • Reach: The reach of the product or how many consumers will benefit from its use. For example, transactions per month.
  • Impact: The impact it will have on its users - low, medium, high.
  • Confidence: How confident are you about the reach and impact of your product?
  • Effort: Investment and resources you need to complete the feature. 

Kano model: This model weighs the customer’s satisfaction against the investments or cost to implement the features. With the help of this model, you can evaluate the customer satisfaction ratio for a specific feature of your product. A higher ratio means higher importance of the feature.

Value Vs Effort: It means weighing the value that the product will bring against the effort you have to put in and the difficulties you have to face while building the product. Calculating this ratio will help you to prioritize the important features over the less important ones.

Step 4: Set time frame and allocate resources

Setting your time frame is necessary to keep all the departments alert about their duties and responsibilities. A well-built SaaS product roadmap will allow you to effectively allocate resources and responsibilities to various internal stakeholders and keep a track of their activities within a defined time frame.

After the formulation of goals and prioritizing features, it is now time to carve out the initiatives and allocate them to the respective teams. They are the tasks performed by the different departments of your company to develop the features of the product. 

Maintaining a time frame is necessary to keep the stakeholders reminded of their goals so that they finish their tasks on time. Apart from these, you also have to allocate a budget for each task on the map, like design, marketing, research, etc.

Step 5: Pick the most-suitable roadmap templates 

It is now time to pick the SaaS product roadmap templates that best suit you. A well-defined roadmap should include a template that clearly defines the tasks and responsibilities of stakeholders according to timeframes.

To suit the needs and requirements of all the stakeholders, you should be able to format the map accordingly. For example, a release-based roadmap is the best fit to deliver information to existing customers and prospects, a theme base roadmap is suitable for the internal executives, and the most ideal one for an investor is the goal-based roadmap.

Zeda.io will help you to build and customize each of the roadmaps according to the suitability of the different stakeholders. You can either choose from the existing template available or build your own map according to your needs and specifications.

Step 6: Update your roadmap continuously

There are multiple reasons why a SaaS product roadmap should be dynamic. There are changing market trends, inputs, and feedback flooding in every day. As a product manager, you have to make sure that you continuously review and update your strategy every now and then to cater to the volatility of the market and its demands.

As a product manager, you have a vision on your mind to launch your product successfully in the market, and choosing the right kind of tool is crucial to support your vision. Zeda.io provides you with a product management tool to support your vision the way you want. It will help you build and customize your product roadmap, sort and cater to all the feedback and requests and communicate effectively with all the stakeholders.

SaaS product roadmap best practices

The ideal SaaS product roadmap should be concise, clear, and comprehensive. Here are some tips and best practices you should consider while creating the roadmap of your SaaS product.

  • Alignment and transparency - With the involvement of multiple stakeholders, it is important that their activities align and complement each other. The sales team should be aware of the functions of the marketing team and vice versa.

 

The Saas product roadmap should offer transparency, as the progress, changes, and modifications of the features are available to all the stakeholders. The roadmap should be able to adapt to the changes and progress accordingly.

  • Customer centricity-  All your plans and strategies should be developed keeping in mind the demands and needs of the customers. This can be done by working on the feedback provided by your customers and researching the market.

Also, you have to ensure that the features that you are developing are appealing well to the customers. We have discussed the prioritization framework earlier, where each of them defined the value of the features with regard to customer satisfaction and the reach of the product. Therefore, it is necessary that your roadmap complements the needs and desires of your customers.

  • Keep it flexible- Flexibility is one of the core components of an ideal SaaS product roadmap. It should have the ability to change and update continuously to fit all the inputs and insights from various stakeholders and cater to the market's changing demands.

An ideal SaaS product roadmap is dynamic and adapts effectively to fit the needs and requirements of all the stakeholders.

  • Don’t clutter the map - Including too many elements on the map will only add to confusion and chaos. Ensure to keep only the pointers that are necessary and important. Stuffing the map can cause its important elements to merge with the ordinary ones. This can contribute to the risk of overlooking the important points and can delay your progress in product development.

How should you tailor your product roadmap for different functions in the SAAS organization?

Amongst the chaos and confusion of daily changes in the market, a SaaS product roadmap is necessary to keep your sanity intact. As a product manager, you are on the top of the chain, responsible for maintaining and coordinating the activities between the departments. 

To simplify your operations, you can create specific roadmaps relating to departments like sales, marketing, web design, and stakeholders like C-suite executives and customers.

Let us try to understand the ideal product roadmap of different stakeholders in the organization.

C-suite Executives

The product road map for executives should have strategic aspects of the products as it is for the highest officials and decision-makers of the company.  The map should be detailed and include the long-term and short-term goals. How the goals are distributed among the departments and their impact.

Development team

The product roadmap for the development team should focus on details and information about technical specifications. The focus should be on including themes, designs, priorities, and other specifications of the product. The timeframes are much more important and specific here.

Sales team

The sales team is all about customers and their pain points and the strategies relating to them. This roadmap should include the monetary and feature-based goals of the product. The details are of a generic nature than being too technical or strategic.

External users

External users relate to the investors and customers (existing and potential). Some companies make their roadmaps available to the public to attract attention and investment. With Zeda.io, you can do the same by effectively releasing your product map to external users.

SaaS product roadmap templates

Here are some of the common SaaS product roadmap examples for you for a better understanding.

Marketing Roadmap

The different stages of marketing functions include research, product, distribution, management, and sales promotion. Now there will be a set of activities involved in each function. To make the planning process easier and more comprehensible, you have to divide your roadmap into stages, responsibilities, and timelines as shown in the figure below. Here, all the important marketing stages are defined separately on a monthly progression basis.

Six months SaaS product marketing channel roadmap

Product development roadmap

A Saas product development roadmap is generally presented in a sequential form of features and enhancements and is based on timeframes. It usually has the shortest timeframe that usually lasts a couple of months. This roadmap is built for the teams who are responsible for specific projects. The objective of this map is to ensure alignment between the projects and timely completion of targets

Product development roadmap template 1

Design Roadmap

A design roadmap is developed for capturing the design’s team creative process. It includes the important pointers of research, design, creative approach, implementation, and delivery in a detailed timeframe.  

Product development roadmap template 2

Release plan roadmap

A release plan is developed for the purpose of highlighting new features of the products that include bug fixes, improvements, upcoming launches, and release cycles. They have a shorter time frame which is typically between 3 to 6  months.

Release plan roadmap

Product launch roadmap

The product launch road map has cross-sectional users from various teams who are invested in the launch of the product. It includes the marketing, sales, product, and development teams. This map represents the plan for launching a product in the market and outlines all the tasks relating to pre-launch, launch, and post-launch. 

Product launch roadmap

Conclusion

We have discussed all the major aspects relating to the features and development of an ideal SaaS product roadmap. You must be already looking out to explore options in the market.

But wait, Zeda.io is here. Encompassing all the essential features of an ideal product management tool, Zeda.io is user-friendly with an excellent user interface, built-in templates, seamless integrations to drive productivity for product managers while ensuring effortless co-ordination and communication.

With the help of Zeda.io, you can customize your product roadmap, attend to feedback to various internal and external stakeholders, build user-specific roadmaps, integrate with third-party applications, and more. And the best part? You get to test our claims with a 30-day free trial!

Join the waitlist now for early access to resources

Jacob Koshy
Product Marketer at Zeda.io
A marketer in love with SaaS products. When away from work, I'm either spending time with my cats or adding miles on my motorcycle.
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