What does a product roadmap have in common with an elephant?

No, this is not the beginning of a PJ.

It is something you can actually put to use.

An elephant has two types of teeth: the external facing tusks and the internal ones.

The tusks are often big and add a certain pizazz.

The internal ones are functional and do the grind.

Literally. 🙂

Startups and product managers can use the same idea when building a roadmap.

There is an external facing roadmap that is used to work with external stakeholders – customers, partners, analysts, investors and…

There is an internal roadmap that is used to work with executives, development, sales, marketing, support, etc.

Sometimes you may use the external roadmap with external facing functions as well.

The internal roadmap has near term items that are defined in great detail. It also has longer term items, which could be still in R&D or simply exploration.

The external facing roadmap usually limits the details and often contains elements of innovation and vision but usually comes with a disclaimer about changes in timelines. It also contains key announcements about upcoming capabilities that have strong demand.

If you are a founder you can use this to your advantage when pitching to early adopters or investors.

We will be talking about these and more such tools for product startups as part of our Firestarter program starting in July.