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What do you think of a public product roadmap for the customers as part of product marketing?

Stacey Wang
Stacey Wang
Ironclad Director of Product MarketingDecember 16

I like the idea and intent behind increasing transparency and visibility, as well as communications efficiency—but the answer to this question totally depends on your market and customers. 

There may be really valid strategic reasons (you may be in a hyper-competitive market, for example, where your competitors can gain an edge looking at your roadmap) for not wanting to publish a roadmap. 

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Priya Kotak
Priya Kotak
Figma Product MarketingFebruary 23

I’m generally in favor of being transparent with customers when it comes to the product roadmap. It can be a great opportunity for Account Managers to engage with customers ahead of renewals and expansion conversations. There are a few things to keep in mind when doing so:

  • Include a safe harbor. If you’re going to share future plans, it’s important that you include a safe harbor stating that nothing shared is 100% certain and that your product plans may change. Your friends in legal will thank you :)
  • No more than 6 months ahead. We all know that product roadmaps change. A rough guideline I like to follow is only including features we expect to launch in the next ~6 months. This gives us greater confidence in the features we’re including. It also gives us an opportunity to engage customers twice a year with this content.
  • Sales can share, but not leave behind. A product roadmap is a great resource for your sales team, but you want to avoid it getting in the wrong hands (like your competitors). We advise our sales team to reserve roadmap decks for live walk-throughs rather than leave behinds.
  • Consider keeping a few things under wraps. Depending on the timing, we might decide to exclude a feature from the roadmap. Typically these are features we plan to announce soon where we want to retain the element of surprise.
  • Transparency when things slip. When we’ve publicly shared launch dates (e.g. announcement at our annual conference), we proactively share an update to let users know if things have changed (explaining why when we can).
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Vishal Naik
Vishal Naik
Google Product Marketing LeadDecember 6

I dont really have a strong "pro" for why to do this, so I personally wouldnt put too much time and effort into it. But it may make sense for your business challenges. I think something to be aware of is that when you document your roadmap publicly, it puts more pressure to ensure dates dont slip. If you're trying to brand yourself as an innovator by having all these new ideas, it may help, but you run the risk of causing customer to delay their purchase until a later date until a feature they want is live--which doesnt really matter if you have a freemium GTM; so I guess that's how I'd look at it. If you have a bottom-up go-to-market and you want users to get on board as fast as possible and show them whats coming soon, may make sense. But if you have a sales or partner led GTM, you might be creating more cost than benefit. 

540 Views
Alina Fu
Alina Fu
Microsoft Director, Copilot for Microsoft 365June 6

I think it’s great to share a public roadmap if your company is able to meet timelines and expectations. We provide public roadmaps for our customers on our external website. This helps establish rapport with the admins, give them enough time to prepare and signals our product direction.  It would not be a good idea to share a public roadmap if the dates slip often or if features get removed suddenly as that can be very disruptive to your customers.

1068 Views
Kavya Nath
Kavya Nath
Meta Product Marketing, Reality LabsApril 3

I think an external-facing roadmap is pretty much a requirement these days. I have always advocated for and will always advocate for this to be a part of our sales toolkit. Product Marketing is uniquely positioned to own this because we can take a roadmap that is being created internally and tell our product story around why we're building what we're building, who it's for, and the value they will get from it.

It's a great way to elevate your product positioning and continue to validate it by what the company is prioritizing to build as part the value it aims to deliver to customers.

415 Views
Ajit Ghuman
Ajit Ghuman
Twilio Director of Product Management - Pricing & Packaging, CXPMay 21

I love this question. 

Let me start with an example. What is a demo? Is it a demonstration of a product's features and capabilities? or Is it an excuse to get on a call with a prosepct, talk about the product but spend most of call doing discovery and tailoring the features exactly to what the prospect wants? 

It's both and more often the latter. 

Similarly, a product roadmap maybe be helpful for the product team to stick to a schedule. But that doesn't have to be the public facing product roadmap. 

The job of the public product roadmap is to paint a vision of your company's leadership and how it's going to solve customer problems. Its job is to engender confidence that you are thinking deeply about their problems, its job is to keep your competition on its heels always thinking what your next move might be. Its an amazing communication tool.

So many policitians get up on stage and make promises. That's their roadmap. Done well, it brings their audience together. You can do the same.

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