Product Roadmap and Project Roadmap: What Are the Similarities and Differences?

Product and project roadmaps are often confused with one another but have unique similarities and differences. If you want to design the most effective roadmap for your team, you must know the differences between a product roadmap and a project roadmap. This article will outline the similarities and differences between a product and project roadmap and outline where they are most applicable. 

What Is a Product Roadmap? 

A product manager creates a product roadmap as a plan of action. It helps align an organization and its people around the goal for a product and breaks down the steps required to reach that goal. The goal can be on a short-term or long-term basis. In other words, this plan or blueprint highlights the vision, priorities, direction, and progress of a product over time. 

To be more specific, this action plan has:

  • Well-defined short-term and long-term goals for the product
  • Plans and strategies that will drive the direction and useful initiatives
  • Proposed release date of the product and what are the main attributes in the product
  • A well-planned and realistic timeline to create the product

Once the product roadmap is created, the product manager will monitor and ensure that the plan is followed correctly.

What Is a Project Roadmap? 

A project roadmap is like a to-do list within a specific timeline to ensure the successful completion of a project. This roadmap is excellent for sharing the objectives, necessary actions, and task deadlines with the entire team. 

It also prioritizes the efforts needed during the different phases of the project lifecycle. In simpler words, it keeps the team in the loop regarding the initiation, strategy making, execution, and closing of a project. Also, it includes planning the internal events. Furthermore, it aligns team progress against the short-term and long-term goals of a project.

In a nutshell, a project roadmap has:

  • The short and long term goals of a project
  • The required tasks for all team members
  • Allocation of resources
  • Overall project timeline with various deadlines
  • Probable risks and challenges
  • Plan B for overcoming setbacks

A project manager is responsible for making a project roadmap and seeing its proper execution. 

Product Roadmap and Project Roadmap Similarities 

There will be an equilibrium if you weigh the importance of a product roadmap and project roadmap. So, creating and executing both of these plans are essential for realizing the business goals of a company. Especially when it comes to the development and release of a product, both of these roadmaps are crucial. 

Both Roadmaps are Detailed and Informative

Both these roadmaps should be informative and detailed. They need to have absolute clarity in everything they discuss so that all the relevant people are in the loop. Also, all the people of an organization, internal or external, need to know what they are working for and what is expected of them.

The Sharing Process is Same for Both Roadmaps

The executives and stakeholders should know the process of creating and releasing the product, and for this reason, it is easy to share these roadmaps with anyone. They are also essential to understand where the product creation process stands on the project timeline. Further, it is important to share both the roadmaps internally and externally. 

Now, you know about the similarities of these roadmaps. Read on the next section to understand the differences. 

Differences Between a Product Roadmap and a Project Roadmap

A product is a good or service created for the end-users or customers. It can be anything from a physical object to a software application. A project is like a cumulation of tasks completed within a given timeframe. So, naturally, the roadmaps for them will be different. 

The Overall Purpose of the Roadmaps is Different

In simple words, a product roadmap will discuss the overall process of creating and releasing the product. Besides, it will highlight the best strategic path for achieving business goals. 

On the other hand, a project roadmap will include the things a team needs to do to finish a project on time. 

The Components and Goals are Different

Product managers and project managers work with different goals in their minds. So, naturally, the components in the roadmaps are different. The focus area of a product roadmap is achieving the product goals aligned with business goals. On the contrary, the main focus area of a project roadmap is the timeline for the tasks to be done. 

The Creation Process is Different

Product managers create product roadmaps – they work with cross-functional teams. These cross-functional teams can be the core engineering team, marketing team, or sales team. Then, they will develop a roadmap that aligns with the product’s goal or the business goal in a larger sense. 

On the other hand, project managers create project roadmaps to ensure that the projects are done within a set timeline and appropriately managed tasks. The roadmaps are made considering the team capacity, available resources, and the milestones to achieve. 

Both Plays Different Roles for Internal and External Facets of an Organization

Project roadmaps help the organization know about the strategy of the product. The team also knows how to implement the required features in a product. Further, the team understands how to communicate the unique features to the customers. So, the team also gets the pulse about how the changes in the components will impact the customers’ feedback. 

Conclusion

An organization must know to create and use the best product and project roadmaps to launch a great product. Both, in different ways, keep the teams of an organization aligned with the business goal. If you liked this article, make sure you check out our other posts about product roadmap advantages and using them collaboratively with your team.

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