5 roadmap tools for smart PMs
Roadmaps that work for you and your team. #SmartToolsForYou
Every project needs a roadmap. And, for a long time, I used Excel, PowerPoint or Word (in that order) to create these roadmaps. No, seriously.
An ex-boss once told me, “Microsoft Excel can do everything!”. I think I took it rather seriously — I perspired, persevered, and picked up a few skills in Excel. But at the same time, I never got over why I had to use spreadsheets and presentations for roadmaps.
Skip forward to a year ago when I saw a colleague do something amazing. He listened to everyone in the strategy meeting for 45 minutes, picked up his laptop and started tapping away on the keyboard. 15 minutes later, he showed us a visual map of everything we’d just discussed. I was blown away; it’d have taken me an hour or two to do the same thing in a spreadsheet!
So, I looked high and low for better tools to create visual roadmaps for projects and product development. After a year of research, I’ve managed to shortlist a few good ones, listed here in no particular order.
Made by product managers for product managers, Aha! is a fantastic solution if you want to create a product roadmap. It covers the why, what, and when of your product development — giving your engineering team a clear understanding before they start developing the next big thing. It also integrates with bug tracking systems such as Jira to help you monitor how your product development is progressing.
ProductPlan is a beautiful way to show off your project plans and roadmaps. It does exactly one thing and does it really well — roadmaps for your next project. You can lay out your product strategy in a format that shows the big picture to your boss while also allowing your development team to work on the little details that matter for every project milestone.
Roadmunk makes visualizing product roadmaps easier for everyone. With a wealth of options that include timeline (straight and simple) and swimlane (for agile teams) views, Roadmunk works for every use case under the sun. You can also import data from CSV files, drag and drop things to change/update your product roadmap, and even attach files and notes to collaborate with your team.
Craft brings your product features, milestones, epics, and user stories together into one roadmap. Prioritize tasks, assign them to your team, and turn your product management into a collaborative effort. Of course, you can also share your product roadmap with the management team in a visual format that works everywhere.
No task lists, no Gantt timelines, and no Kanban boards. Casual is a different kind of roadmapping tool. It focuses on simplicity and being intuitive using a flow chart-like UI. To be honest, this makes Casual a breeze to work with. Plan your project (or product development) as a series of steps and then assign tasks to your team. In its own words, Casual allows you to “organize tasks and ideas the way they look in your mind” and I like it.
As a project or product manager, have you tried any of these tools? Do you use a fantastic roadmap tool that I haven’t covered? Let me know in the comments below.
Create visual, easy to understand roadmaps for your development efforts, and get your team on Flock so you can share, communicate, and collaborate — faster.
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