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March 06, 2024

How to create an amazing product portfolio roadmap

Agile Roadmapping Portfolio-level Management
Jerzy Żurawiecki Content Specialist @BigPicture

Managing multiple products comes with its own set of challenges. Each product develops at its own pace, complicating the task of syncing them with broader business goals.

But what if there was a way to visualize the plan of all your products in one place? That’s where a product portfolio roadmap comes in.

Let’s dive into how to create one with six clear steps, ensuring you cover all the bases for your product portfolio.

What is a product portfolio roadmap?

A product portfolio roadmap provides a visual snapshot of all your products. It outlines the direction each product takes and illustrates how it ties into the strategic objectives of the organization.

Your portfolio roadmap should include the following elements:

  • Timeline
  • Organizational objectives
  • Initiatives for each product
  • Dependencies
  • Milestones

The roadmap’s purpose is to gather high-level information in a single space. It makes it easier to communicate plans to everyone in the organization.

Benefits of using a product portfolio roadmap

Alignment between objectives and products

The product’s direction must match strategic objectives for maximum business impact. A roadmap bridges the strategy with product plans across your portfolio, which helps foster alignment across your organization.

Better prioritization

With multiple initiatives across products, it’s important to identify which ones drive the most value. A roadmap can help you organize the initiatives by importance, streamlining planning toward achieving business goals.

Improved communication across the organization

Often, teams focus solely on their own products and are unaware of broader initiatives. Roadmaps share upcoming plans with the whole organization, creating opportunities for team-to-team dialogue and collaboration that can enhance outcomes.

Streamlined tracking of performance and progress

A single source of truth for all product initiatives simplifies tracking progress for decision-makers, which offers a clearer picture than navigating multiple individual roadmaps.

Build a product portfolio roadmap in 6 steps

1. Define objectives

Begin by pinpointing your business goals. These goals will guide the entire roadmap process, from product development to management.

There are three main types of objectives you can use:

  • Business-driven: Increase revenue, save costs.
  • Market-driven: Increase the market share in your industry or niche, outperform the competition, and expand into new markets.
  • Customer-driven: Deliver more value to customers and increase their satisfaction.

The specific goals will depend on the needs and priorities of the organization, and there can be multiple types of goals. Business objectives should be easily accessible to all employees.

If your organization uses Jira to manage work, an app like OKR for Jira can let you connect issues and epics to relevant objectives and track their progress.

2. List products and initiatives

Now, it’s time to gather all your products and create a structured catalog with corresponding initiatives. Each initiative should contribute to the completion of strategic goals.

In most organizations, products are managed in separate spaces. (For example, you might have a Jira project for a given product and epics representing the scope of the next release.) But for a product portfolio roadmap, it’s all about bringing the information across products together. Good news: You don’t have to create this list from scratch.

Each product team should have a list of upcoming features they want to release in the near future. Reach out to product managers and ask them to share their product roadmaps with you. These smaller roadmaps will provide you with details for future plans.

If your organization uses Jira for product management, you can create a cross-project list of initiatives with BigPicture. Create a box (a flexible data container for portfolios, projects, tasks, etc) and synchronize Jira projects that represent products so that product hierarchy, dates, and scope flow into a single source of information.

Updates made in a project will be reflected in your bird’s eye view, so you won’t have to worry about data reliability.

An example of a box containing multiple products in BigPicture.

3. Prioritize initiatives

Not all product initiatives are created equal, and your portfolio roadmap should reflect that. Use business goals as a guide for establishing priorities. For example, if your main strategic goal is to generate more revenue, the initiatives that support it should have a higher priority.

How do you measure the level of priority of initiatives? Those who manage work in Jira Software can use their built-in priority fields (Highest, High, Medium, etc.). But if you prioritize initiatives according to a specific model, it’s better to use an app like Foxly. It enables you to prioritize based on models such as WSJF, RICE, Value vs Effort, and more.

4. Identify resources and distribute the workload

Define who will be involved in each initiative and in what capacity. But to do this, you’ll need to know if the right people have enough time to contribute to the initiatives.

Getting a full view of the workload across teams is a tall order, but you can get a head start by collaborating with product managers to get capacity planning data.

An example of capacity details across multiple Sprints and teams in BigPicture.

 

The right software can be a game-changer here. For example, in BigPicture, Agile managers can set and monitor capacities of each team member and entire teams. And they can compare allocation data with capacity limits to see if any team has too much on their plate.

The exclamation mark next to allocation data will warn you if the team is overallocated.

 

If product teams keep track of capacity and workload data, gathering all the information is easier. Then, it’s all about aggregating the data on a portfolio level.

And BigPicture can also help you with capacity and workload data. The Resources module can display workload information across multiple projects and teams in one place. That way, you can plan the work with a complete set of information for the entire enterprise.

Visualize and manage the workload across multiple projects in BigPicture.

5. Establish timeframes for initiatives

After completing step four, you’ll know who’s available to work on your initiatives and when they have enough time to focus on them. Based on that information, you can set timeframes for the product portfolio roadmap.

Product managers should be involved in setting deadlines and durations of initiatives. Their insight can help you keep the timeframes realistic.

But even with the help of product managers, it can be difficult to accurately schedule the initiatives. And if you consider the number of products in a portfolio, it’s even more complicated. Luckily, PPM software can make scheduling easier.

With BigPicture’s scheduling modes, you can automatically match the duration of parent and related child tasks, ensuring all tasks in a given initiative are scheduled and fit within the initiative’s due date.

For Agile initiatives, there’s the “precise alignment” option. It automatically adjusts task start and end dates in an Iteration or a Program Increment as soon as you assign them.

See how all the user stories match the duration of an iteration. Precise alignment adjusts them automatically.

 

A lot of organizations use markers to mark a significant event in the life cycle of a project or product.

6. Visualize the roadmap

The final step is illustrating the portfolio roadmap. It’s the final product of your hard work, when all the key pieces of the portfolio fall into place.

It should include a hierarchy of products, target dates, initiatives, and key tasks. Don’t forget about project-level and cross-project dependencies, which will help you map out connections between tasks.

Visualization is the easiest part of the whole process — with the right software. For instance, if you use Jira to manage products, BigPicture allows you to aggregate data from multiple initiatives and visualize it on a timeline.

How to build a product portfolio roadmap in 6 steps

Summary

Creating a product portfolio roadmap is no easy feat. But if you combine objectives, priorities, timeframes, resource availability, and products, you’ll get a full view of your initiatives. Once you have all those ducks in a row, you can visualize and communicate the roadmap across your organization.

Software plays a major role in effective portfolio roadmap creation and management. If you manage work in Jira, a PPM app like BigPicture will visualize multiple projects or products with a neat timeline view that can serve as your portfolio roadmap. Gather, aggregate, and structure data from multiple projects and group programs in one place.

Whether it’s planning, execution tracking, resource management, or reporting, BigPicture has everything you need to manage a complex portfolio of projects and products in a clear and standardized way, letting you create a single source of truth for all your initiatives.