Why Is User Feedback More Than Just A Checkbox On Product Roadmap?

The other day, our team was having a brainstorming session. And here’s what the topic on the table was:

“What makes a product an absolute winner?”

There were many answers. Some were a good team, a clear idea, flawless execution, etc.
Yet, one question changed our entire perspective. ‘Will the product be successful if the customers don’t accept it?’

And now, it all made sense. If users don’t resonate with a product, it doesn’t matter how precise we are. But, when we create something that solves user problems, we get our product market fit. That means it is the users that decide the winner.

Hence, while making a product, feedback is crucial. Another essential component for success is the product roadmap. It is a strategic tool that outlines the vision and timeline for product development. It keeps the product manager on the right path.

Product management and user feedback go hand-in-hand. And product roadmap is an indispensable part of the product journey.

Today let us understand how product management, feedback, and product roadmap connect together.

But first, it is necessary to understand the role and importance of the product roadmap.

Table of content:

Building a roadmap

A product roadmap is a valuable tool. But, its effectiveness depends on how well we can use the product roadmap tools. Let us look at how and why we can use product roadmaps.

How to use the product roadmap tool?

For anyone to use a product roadmap tool well, it is crucial to know how to leverage it. And to leverage it, it is crucial for product managers to know

Know what comes after the next big thing

Usually, with big goals like launching a new version or feature launch, everyone is immersed in it. And a product roadmap will definitely help in execution. It will assist in making the process smooth and reach the target. But, what comes after that?

The roadmap will take us to the end of the target. It cannot tell us what comes after that. It is upon product managers to decide what is the next accomplishment.

Knowing the bigger picture and what will be the next tangible goal to apply is essential. Hence, without knowing what lies ahead, roadmaps can create a false sense of clarity. It tells us how to reach a goal, but there still remains confusion about the next steps.

Both product management and user feedback play an important role here.

Clear idea about the target audience and their needs

A product roadmap is useful when we know what we want to accomplish. Moreover, understanding the target audience is the basis for product development. Finding out what your target users need becomes the foundation for development goals.

If we do not know what the right goals are what is the use of a roadmap? Roadmaps form clear pathways to reach a destination. Yet, if we are unclear about where we want to reach, we cannot chalk out a path for the same.

A clear product vision and strategy statement.

Product vision and strategy statements are indispensable. They fuel the basis of the bigger picture. Understanding and having a clear product vision is essential for creating long-term goals.

These long-term goals break down to make smaller tangible steps. And, not having a clear vision trickles down into poor tangible steps. So, if the direction set for the product is not right, a roadmap won’t make a difference.

KPI

Measurable KPIs

A product roadmap creates a pathway to ease product management. It is just as crucial to know whether the strategies in place are working or not. KPIs and measurable results help in keeping track of the roadmap and whether it is effective.

Roadmaps give the team a template which aims at increasing execution and efficiency.

And KPIs will help in determining whether the team is going in the right direction or not. Moreover, they will help in refining the roadmap and making changes to it when necessary.

It's as good as not having a roadmap if there are no KPIs. Not including KPIs makes the roadmap a mere set of steps that may or may not reach the goal.

Hence, product management and feedback are essential for using product roadmap tools. Measurable KPIs, and clear vision come from sound product management. Moreover, knowing what to work on next and understanding users comes from feedback.

Now, let us move on to how a product roadmap benefits the team.

Benefits of having a product roadmap

A product roadmap is a visual representation of a product's strategic direction. It outlines the goals, objectives, and key features that the team plans to deliver over a period. Here are some benefits of using a product roadmap:

Aligns the Team

Aligns the team

A product roadmap provides a shared understanding of the product vision and priorities. It helps align the team toward a common goal. As a result, everyone is working towards the same objectives.

Communicates with stakeholders

A product roadmap helps communicate the product's strategic direction with stakeholders. This includes, customers, executives, investors, and other teams. It provides visibility into the product's planned features and expected delivery dates. Furthermore, it helps in managing expectations.

Prioritizes features

A roadmap helps focus on features based on their value, impact, and feasibility. It provides a framework for making informed decisions about what to build and when.

Facilitates planning and scheduling

A product roadmap provides a timeline for product development. This helps plan and schedule releases and iterations. Moreover, it keeps the team on track and delivers the product on time.

Supports product strategy

A roadmap supports the product strategy with a high-level overview of goals and objectives. It ensures that the team stays focused on the product's strategic direction.

Now, in this section, we have figured out what is the importance of a product roadmap and how to use it well. Furthermore, let us understand how product management and customer feedback connect with the roadmap.

How to connect the product roadmap with product management and customer feedback?

We have many times heard that product management and feedback go hand-in-hand. In fact, we said so in the beginning. Moreover, we also said both of them are connected to the product roadmap. But, how exactly?

Including requests from customers

For any successful product, customer satisfaction is crucial. We can even say that customer satisfaction is the prime goal for any business to achieve. In the end, it is all about providing users with solutions to their pain points. And who better to tell us what users want than users themselves?

So, requests from customers actually become actionable to-dos to include in a roadmap. Moreover, managers can prioritize the requests based on the impact and previous goals.

Targeting new user personas

User personas are essential for a clear product roadmap. One of the ways to increase the number of users is to include a new target audience. And, to understand which new target audience we can use, we can turn to feedback.

And once we know which new user personas we are aiming for, we can make clear roadmaps.

Pricing your Product

Pricing your product

Sometimes, we are charging less than how much we can actually get for the product. Moreover, the only way to know is to get feedback. The feedback will help you understand

  • Your users,
  • Their ability to pay,
  • Their willingness to spend, and
  • Your usefulness to them

This information will be helpful in setting the right pricing.

Upgrading the product

The product version we launch is many times a starter pack. There are many more changes, features, and improvements we can add. A challenge in product management is deciding what to work on first.

In the ideal case scenario, there would be infinite resources, and we could work on everything at once. But, since that is not the case prioritization based on impact is crucial. And for that product managers can consider feedback from customers.

Best ways to combine product management and feedback with product roadmap

Here are some effective ways to ensure that we are incorporating feedback in the right way.

Collect from many places and store in one

Take feedback from various places. Conduct surveys, feedback, and more to get a comprehensive understanding of customers' needs. Once we have gathered feedback from various places, storing it in one place is essential.

It facilitates analysis and also helps in avoiding miscommunication. Instead of playing a game of Chinese whispers, let the feedback be the source of information. Make the feedback accessible to everyone on the team. It makes incorporating accurate feedback possible.

Focus on the user profile than the user

Users are without a doubt important for any business. Even so, to provide a better product knowing their name is not much helpful. Rather understanding their business, their use case, and their requirements is important.

So, wherever the feedback is stored, we can add all the above details. That provides the feedback with more context. It also gives a broader understanding of the product and customer requirements.

Build trust

Build trust

Trust forges long-lasting relations between a business and a user. Wherever possible, keep them in the loop about your progress. Share your solutions with them. Knowing that they are heard will build trust.

Focus on impact

There will be many feedbacks. And if we take all the feedback and try to incorporate it as we get it, it becomes too much work for too less output. Additionally, more impact for less effort is a sign of successful product management.

All these pointers will make combining feedback in the product roadmap easy. Even so, feedback can seem futile if not utilized well with the product roadmap.

Now, a product roadmap is as effective as a product manager can make it. There are some instances where a roadmap can fail to provide value to development.

Pitfalls to look for while using the product roadmap tool

There are some possible downsides to having a product roadmap. But, with proper product management, we can overcome these challenges.

Over-reliance on the roadmap

Teams can become too focused on the roadmap. It can lead to missing changes and opportunities for growth. Furthermore, these roadmaps may become too focused on internal operations.

It can lead to a lack of focus on customer needs and feedback. Businesses may end up prioritizing features over what their customers want.

Lack of flexibility

Roadmaps can become too rigid. Adjusting to changing marketing conditions and customer needs is tough. Even so, the teams have to stay flexible. This will help them change with the roadmap as managers adjust it to the current needs.

False sense of certainty

Roadmaps can give a false sense of certainty. And this can lead to unrealistic expectations about product delivery and timelines. Having a set plan can make the team feel like everything is on-track when it might not be.

Product managers have to have KPIs and an eye on the bigger picture to see beyond the roadmap.

Lack of alignment

Without clear communication, the roadmap can become disconnected from the actual development process. Stakeholders can misinterpret the roadmap. It can lead to unnecessary confusion and frustration.

Thus, proper communication is a crucial pillar of successful roadmaps.

In conclusion

Product management and customer feedback are indispensable pillars of product development. A roadmap provides a clear pathway for product development. And user feedback plays a crucial role in paving this pathway. Moreover, it combines and streamlines the efforts of the team with users and their needs. Thus, interconnecting all these aspects becomes the solution for creating an amazing product.

FAQs

Good product survey questions are those that provide relevant and useful insights into customers' opinions and preferences about a particular product or service. The key to creating effective survey questions is to make sure they are clear, concise, and relevant to your target audience. Try avoiding leading or biased questions that could influence the answers.

Typically, a product roadmap document includes the following elements like product vision, goals and objectives, market analysis, features, timeline, resource allocation, risks, KPIs. For a successful product roadmap, it is important to update as per customer feedback, market changes, and evolving business needs.

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