Published on December 14, 2015 by Antti Hietala
Should you publish a product roadmap or keep it internal? In this post I argue that public is better. I compare vendor roadmaps in the content management industry to show that public is the norm. Once you decide to go public there are a couple of pitfalls to avoid.
Public is better
Public or private? Surprisingly, you may have little choice regarding this decision. Do your competitors have public roadmaps? If yes, you are pretty much expected to show yours. Other players in your field may already have set the expectation.
It is rather difficult to explain to a prospect why you don’t have a public roadmap if all your competitors have one. The prospect will think that you are weird. Not the cool kind of weird like Apple that uses secrecy to build up hype. The other kind.
By not publishing a roadmap you may think you are sending a message that your product is at the cutting edge and requires stealth. But prospects and clients interpret secrecy differently. They conclude that you either don’t have a roadmap or don’t know what to do next. The latter is worse because by sharing a roadmap you would get feedback and would have a better chance of working on the right things.
Let’s compare some vendor roadmaps in the content management industry. There’s a lot of open-source software in this field. Open communication often goes hand in hand with open source. Sharing a roadmap is more or less the norm. But not every company makes their roadmap equally easy to find.
The CMS industry has a huge number of vendors, way more than is listed above. But even this small selection is indicative: publishing and communicating a roadmap is the norm.
Decided to go public? Great! Look out for my next post Pitfalls of public roadmaps to avoid two common mistakes.
Antti Hietala is a product manager at Magnolia. He is tasked with articulating Magnolia's value proposition to sales and professional services. In constant contact with users, he feeds the product roadmap with front-line input. Antti's key responsibilities include internal communication, product roadmap and feature specifications. Follow him on Twitter @antarctic74.
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