Unlocking Product Success with Public Roadmaps
Business transparency is not an end. It is a mean. And it’s harder than ever to consider it as just an option.
Around 94% of consumers reveal that they are more likely to be loyal to a business that offers complete transparency. This includes being open regarding your company ongoing efforts, and focus area.
This is where sharing your plans on a high level with your stakeholders through a public roadmap comes handy.
As a company, you can decide to publish a roadmap on your website so that your clients can view and even comment on your recent and upcoming product evolutions.
And a number of companies already adopted such a tool, to share planned product updates or show progresses of current projects. With, in most cases, a very positive impact on the product adoption and company growth.
Today we are going to take a closer look at 3 public roadmap examples from companies that tackled it pretty well despite not using a specialized tool.
Ok, enough small talks.
Let’s dive right in.
Here are 4 Public Roadmap Examples You Can Follow
1. ProdCamp Public Roadmap
If you are a Prodcamp customer, you probably know we offer a public roadmap functionality.
And shameless brag, yes this is probably the best public roadmap example you can find ;-)
One thing you should always keep in mind while sharing your public roadmap is that you should never commit to a specific release date.
A public roadmap isn’t a Gantt chart or any type of timeline. It should stay agile and give perspective to your stakeholders.
Not making any promises you might break.
We suggest keeping it simple with an “In progress, Soon and Future” segmentation. And we identify users to trigger what we like to call a feedback loop to channel additional feedback and inform users on the status of specific features they want to follow.
Ok, now let’s move on to the other examples.
2. Microsoft Public Roadmap Example
Microsoft does have a public roadmap.
And it’s easy to see why.
Microsoft has always wanted to have to do as little support as possible, and clearly prefers interacting with customers only via its product.
Since their roadmap includes a list of all the product features they're team is currently building, as well as the ones they are considering for the future or the ones that can be led to postpone. Customers have fewer reasons to come and ask.
Now this year, they've launched a new page on their public roadmap for Microsoft Edge: “What’s Next.”
The Roadmap gives clients more information regarding their consumer-focused and business-focused features for Edge.
Overall, Microsoft's shared roadmap is a perfect public roadmap example of what is probably one of the first product-led company sharing its roadmap with the hope of increasing Upsell and Cross-sell opportunities by informing users without additional human effort.
3. GitHub Public Roadmap Example
In 2020, GitHub launched its own public roadmap functionality. The date only says a lot about the current state of product management.
And the roadmap obviously includes information regarding the new features of the GitHub code repository and products.
Their SVP of Products is probably the best to explain why Github chose to share it’s public roadmap. Shanku Niyogi, stated that this product roadmap allows customers to build the company, since it allows their audience to give feedback and collaborate with GitHub.
Quite a controversial way of introducing this new channel. Even if it has the benefit of bringing the customer back into the product, a public product roadmap isn’t meant to allow customers to become product managers.
The company share remains a very interesting public roadmap example because they provide news about upcoming products so that their customer base can voice out their opinions.
Niyogi also points out that this allows GitHub to adjust its products based on what customers want. Which is not a surprise coming from an open source company like Gitlab who has transparency as a core component of the company’s culture by definition.
4. Buffer Public Roadmap Example
Transparency is also one of Buffer’s main business values. And they embody this by sharing their public roadmap on Trello.
The company use it to interact with their clients on a wide range of items, and Buffer’s public roadmap allows customers to comment and vote for the improvements that they want to see.
Thanks to this strategy, the company was able to turn operations into a more organized and creative process, leading its products to an increasing success. Today, about $25M in Annual Recurring revenue.
As a roadmap, Trello isn’t exactly giving the most comprehensive roadmap UX (but that’s not Trello specialty, so no surprise here) and it’s probably not the most functional roadmap on the market today.
But it definitely does the job for many companies to a certain extent.
Ok, so now that we’ve seen all this outstanding public roadmap examples, what ?
We still need to have a clear understanding of how can it influence your company, unless it’s already written in your org DNA, just like for Buffer or Gitlab.
So here are 3 great benefits of sharing a roadmap to help you build a good business case. Even if it becomes easier to build one in a word were, The Growing Importance of Customer Retention is Changing Product Management.
A. Showcase your current business plans, projects, focus with your stakeholders.
You don’t want one of your ideal customer to drop off just 2 months before you will release this critical feature they were waiting since last year. In order to do that, they need to know this functionality is already in progress or at least planned.
You want your clients to know that you are a dynamic and innovative team working on many new exciting solutions and products improvements.
And you want to do that not only with your existing customers or internal team, but also with your prospective customers or partners.
Because it also gives you a better feel of which features or products you should build to keep growing and increasing revenue.
And it also sets you apart from the competition who may not do it (yet).
B. Increasing your audience engagement.
Yes, sharing a well crafted public roadmap will certainly set you apart from for your competitors, and it will also allow you to engage with your audience and community on their own agenda.
It has another touch than scheduling customer's interview or sending over a survey every once in a while. With a public roadmap, customer know you care about keeping them up to date and about their opinion all the time. Not only 3 or 4 times a year.
Allowing consumers to interact with your public roadmap makes them feel more closely connected to your brand.
And this is a huge boost to customer satisfaction and retention.
C. Constant reality checks and structure feedback collection.
You decided to ship this feature or product. Do you stop asking yourself and your customers if it is as helpful and easy to use as you wanted it to be?
If you take the public roadmap example we shared above, you will see that in Prodcamp case we also keep asking feedback on the items that were released.
Because we want to make sure it matches users’ expectations.
Going beyond the public roadmap
So yes, your public roadmap is a direct source of feedback, but it also comes with many other benefits we shared here.
And we need to accept that sometimes, our user may not like what we’ve released.
That’s ok. The main is to give easy ways for them to let us know.
It’s really about gaining actionable insights to point out the area of interest, and then turning user feedback into revenue and operational efficiency. Not using a public roadmap to try turning customers into Product Managers.
Plus, not everyone will give insights even on a public roadmap, so sharing one can only be a segment of an impactful feedback management strategy.
Someone needs to leverage and manage the different user's feedback channels with the problem in mind if companies want to increase product growth and adoption.
To be honest, sharing your Public Roadmap might not be the easiest way to getting started.
There are a collection of other entry points. Starting with an embeddable feedback widget inside your app or product.
But whatever you decide, you now have various public roadmap examples to communicate with your stakeholders, help your users voice out their opinions regarding your product plan, and enable your Product management team to centralize and easily listen/analyze the customer’s voice to build better products.
And remember, when you make a process easy and useful. It will always meet it's a public.
With a public roadmap, your clients can vote and tell you which products/features work as expected, solve the right problem, and which ones don’t.
This already gives many companies valuable customer data, which makes it easier to constantly optimize their products and keep up with client's ever evolving needs.
We hope the great public roadmap examples we shared will be useful and will give you some ideas to roll out a similar approach in your organization.
What is certain is that public roadmaps have a great future to help organization looking to adopt a product-led approach, and turn user feedback into a productivity and revenue booster.