You’re at your desk, looking at a product roadmap. You may or may not have had part in creating it, but buy-in has been won. The strategic vision, path forward, and rough timelines–set. All signs point to GO.

Now it’s your turn. It’s up to you to create a project plan to execute against the product roadmap. In its simplest form, such a plan would come to life by creating an outline and then mapping roadmap elements to that outline. As a result, you’ll end up with a tactical plan and timeline.

But things are never so simple. As project manager, you are like an orchestral director who’s been given music for the upcoming production. Your job is to bring that music to life by managing performers, equipment, schedule, and communications, and it all must come together by opening day.

That’s where this post comes in: with guidance for turning a product roadmap into a successful project plan.

1. Understand the product roadmap you’re working with

Understand the product roadmap

Photo by Jean-Frederic Fortier on Unsplash

A typical product roadmap outlines the scope and value of the product related to business goals.

The roadmap you’re working from is your input. It might resemble SlideShop’s Engineering Roadmap, designed especially for engineering, product, and data science leaders. The deck includes slides to visually convey methodology, as well as process and challenges.

The roadmap you’ve been given may be simpler, or more complex. Either way, spend time with it. Conduct additional research if necessary. And, if you have tough questions, schedule interviews to get answers.

2. Outline the project plan

Outline the project plan

Photo by from Pexels

The product roadmap communicates the product’s strategic path and is tied directly to business goals. The project plan includes a comprehensive timeline and is more tactical. It describes how you’ll create the product and who’s managing which elements. Depending on your organization, the plan may be detailed or summarized.

Although your outline may vary, typical project plans include:

  • Goals and objectives
  • Key milestones and tasks
  • Potential risks
  • Resource management
  • Process management
  • Communication management
  • A timeline

3. Work the plan, and keep it updated

Keep the project plan updated

Image: Burgan, S. C. & Burgan, D. S. (2014). One size does not fit all: Choosing the right project approach. Paper presented at PMI® Global Congress 2014—North America, Phoenix, AZ. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute.

Projects have distinct beginning and end points; yours will as well. As you work towards completion—or that magical point of product launch—keep the plan and stakeholders updated on progress and changes.

In the end, you’ll have been responsible for bringing diverse groups, people, skills, and other resources together for a resounding performance. One that allows your company to innovate and introduce its newest product to the world faster.

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