Mistakes you must avoid when planning your product roadmap

The development of your project is documented in a software product roadmap. This documentation assists in your decision-making over how to include your vision in the features and functionalities and how to present your concept to all stakeholders. Even though it might appear fine, for some startup owners and software developers, jotting down their objectives and software functionalities on paper can be challenging. Delays, issues, disagreements, money and time spent, and in exceptional cases, a failed product can result from errors committed during the product road mapping phase.
startup failure
So, here are some common product roadmap mistakes you should avoid for a successful software launch.

What is a Product Roadmap?

A roadmap is an elevated, visual overview of your software’s objectives and development cycle. A roadmap outlines your goals and the small details you’re creating. Roadmaps act both as blueprints for carrying out a product strategy and guidelines. The following are the main objectives of the product roadmap:
  • Explain the plan and the goal.
  • Offer a manual for executing the approach.
  • Win the support of stakeholders.
  • Encouraging discussion of ideas and situation planning
  • help in communication with outsiders, like customers.

Benefits of Having a Product Roadmap

Now that you know the multiple advantages of having a product roadmap, let’s see all the major mistakes you should avoid while creating one.

Major Mistakes You Should Avoid with Product Roadmap

Not having realistic expectations

Usually, product managers gather product specifications from many resources before creating a product roadmap. They communicate with necessary parties, evaluate client input, develop fresh concepts, and do industry & competitor research. However, cross-functional groups sometimes need to be more involved in discussions regarding the ideas and capabilities prioritized on the roadmap. So, get input on the work involved for functionality and its effect from cross-functional departments when conveying your roadmap.

Roadmap without any goal

Product managers frequently add recommendations from the most demanding stakeholders before determining whether they’re relevant when creating a roadmap. They may be under stress due to their engagement with critical stakeholders. As an outcome, the requests of a significant stakeholder may be favored in a biased product plan. So, it is essential to have outlined KPIs that align with the project goals if you’ve got a well-established product with a specified product goal and plan. Explain how well a roadmap will help accomplish the specified KPIs while developing it. If a product plan fails to achieve this, it just lists features motivated by market demand. Roman Pichler, in his podcast about 10 product roadmapping mistakes to avoid, said, “ While goal-oriented roadmaps can be very beneficial, they are not always applied effectively. A common mistake I see product people make is to use product goals that are features in disguise. …they describe product capabilities or features, and they characterize the solution. They do not state why it is worthwhile to progress the product. Therefore, reiterating that it’s essential to a roadmap with a goal in mind, and that don’t disguise goals as product features. Product goals capture the desired outcome, not a feature of the product.

Keeping a local copy of the roadmap

Product roadmaps are frequently created in PowerPoint or MS Excel by project leaders. As a result, updating the latest versions locally becomes challenging. A roadmap needs to be shared with numerous stakeholders and team members, so it needs to be located in a place that is always accessible. Team members and stakeholders should also have access to real-time versions. Keeping local versions isn’t advised and, therefore, can result in severe issues if not shared with everybody promptly.

Leaving out constraints and assumptions

You often provide the concepts or high-level objectives needed when developing a product plan for JTBD. You might still need to get all the details about functionality still being scoped at that stage. You might mention that launch dates are uncertain or include other constraints like awaiting additional information from a supplier. Any assumptions you make in your roadmap should be marked with an asterisk. It is required to make sure that everybody is informed of the presumptions and limitations that could prolong the process or lead to the descope of an element afterward.

Maintaining a static roadmap

The team could become so preoccupied with the specifics of the capabilities being produced that they lose focus on the big vision when they start developing capabilities and carrying out the processes described in the roadmap. So when staff or anybody associated has a query, they must always refer to the Roadmap as one authoritative source. This document must be regularly updated to guarantee that the roadmap can fulfill its role and is trustworthy enough to lead everybody in the proper direction. After the plan has been established and presented, adjustments to the industry, customer expectations, or startup objectives may be necessary. So, examine the roadmap weekly or as frequently as your stakeholder interactions demand. Additionally, ensure that it is being modified in response to changing conditions, requirements from essential stakeholders, consumer expectations, or other circumstances.

Not observing the stakeholders.

Product Roadmap
To maintain high performance, managers want to concentrate on significant elements and ideas that complement the entire corporate plan. Even though you provide the same roadmap, some demonstrations should be different. The essential components of your roadmap should stay the same depending on whom you’re conveying it to, but you must modify your emphasis & focus to fit the audience. As an example,
  • Salespeople are interested in learning about the newest software they might share with prospects.
  • While people in advertising want to understand how well the software relates to the industry and what types of content and external efforts they may create around upcoming releases.
  • The development team will concentrate on the technological aspects.
Therefore, remember whom you are speaking to and make their dilemmas the main subject of your conversation. You may even reformat the roadmap’s content for the target group to prevent information overload and distractions.

Considering a roadmap as a list

The strategy for implementing the features and the list of bug patches should be excluded from the roadmap. While taking care of these is crucial, you might do this on a particular database and add those to your sprints or release cycles when they arise. Now that you know what you shouldn’t do, let’s see what you should do.
Road mapping


Always remember that a roadmap is just a snapshot of the future offered at a specific time and will likely become outdated soon. This isn’t engraved in stone and should not be interpreted as an agreement between you and your consumers. Employing qualifiers carefully, keeping presentations engaging, and getting audience input to emphasize that changes are possible can all help to reduce the inclination for people to see them as unchangeable plans. Remember to include the date the roadmap was created. Doing this will prevent outdated versions from being confused with the one you’re presently giving. But we understand that handling everything at once can be overwhelming as an entrepreneur. And we are here to help. Over our 20+ years of supporting startups, Netsmartz has perfected the art of MVP IT Development, Scaling operations, and flexible staff augmentation for 200 startups and counting. We offer complete services to power businesses online through cloud-ready infrastructure and agile workflows.
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Mistakes you must avoid when planning your product roadmap
Anup Mehrotra
Published on
June 17, 2022

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