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9 tips to create compelling product roadmap presentations

A crystal-clear roadmap is the best strategic communication tool for a product manager. When properly presented and shared across an organization, a product roadmap sheds light on what’s happening today, tomorrow, and in the future—and motivates teams to achieve more.

Last updated

5 Oct 2022

A great product roadmap presentation helps you build trust with your team and stakeholders—letting them all see how you’re creating real value for the company. How you present a roadmap to your internal team can also inform how you should present it to your customers and get them on board with what’s to come.

This chapter dives into the best tips for roadmap presentations to keep every stakeholder invested and engaged before, during, and after you’re done presenting.

Boost your product roadmap presentation with product experience insights

Heatmaps, Recordings, Surveys, and Feedback tools help you build your product roadmap presentation on a solid, user-centric foundation.

Why your product roadmap presentation matters

When it comes to keeping product strategy, business objectives, and execution aligned, the product roadmap is your key point of reference. Your work as a product manager (PM) involves working with internal teams and stakeholders to build a crystal-clear roadmap that clearly communicates deliverables, and the expectations for where the product is going and why.

Next, you need to get everyone else involved with the product on board and on the same page. The first step to evangelizing your product roadmaps across your organization is to get them out there for all to see with a product roadmap presentation.

Presenting your roadmap to key stakeholders is a great opportunity to tell a compelling story about where your product is going. 

A well-thought-out roadmap presentation will help you:

  • Align and validate your team’s roadmap

  • Reduce the risk of eleventh-hour surprises stopping you in your tracks

  • Smoothly deliver against your product strategy

  • Avoid stakeholder confusion or dissatisfaction on where the product is going

  • Make sure your goals stay customer-centric and align with both your users’ needs and wants, as well as your business objectives

How the product roadmap presentation helps you achieve your goals

Your goal with the product roadmap presentation is to gain alignment around the set of priorities you’ve arrived at. That includes:

Getting approval from business leaders

A good product roadmap presentation shows stakeholders everything they need to know about new products or iterations.

They’ll see how your themes feed into the business strategy, how initiatives help customers experience a better product, and whether it’s a viable product for the market.

Creating a release plan

Creating a product roadmap presentation gives customers and business partners an idea of what to expect in the future.

This keeps everyone in the loop and builds anticipation and excitement for new product developments, integrations, release dates, and milestones.

Bringing your team on the same page

A product roadmap presentation is a perfect opportunity to get your product development team (and anyone else involved in the product roadmap) aligned around the same expectations and goals, right from the get-go.

5 components of a great product roadmap presentation

Every product roadmap presentation is different. In fact, to address every stakeholder’s needs, you may need to first create and present a general strategic product roadmap template, and then move on to discuss lower-level field roadmaps. 

However, there are some components that most product roadmap presentations have in common:

  1. An introduction/agenda: this tells your audience what to expect, what the presentation is about, and how long it’ll last

  2. Your purpose and product vision: the reasoning behind the new product (or new iterations) to give your audience some context and help them see the rationale behind your product direction

  3. The product’s target audience: who are you trying to target with your new product/features? It could be your existing audience, or you might want to reach a new audience in a different market.

  4. Your product roadmap: a top-level view of what you’ve outlined in your product roadmap. For example, you can showcase the anticipated timeline, but don't go into detail about each deliverable along the way.

  5. Feedback and questions: at the end of the presentation, leave space for your audience to ask questions and provide feedback

💡 Pro tip: keep your presentation user-focused with a data-informed strategy and roadmap.

Use Hotjar to gather a rich mix of quantitative and qualitative product experience data for a user-centric approach. 

By providing a steady inflow of user data, Hotjar’s tools can help you ensure your product strategy and roadmap are always relevant.

9 tips to ace your product roadmap presentation

Before you go ahead with your product roadmap presentation, think about how you communicate your roadmap at these stages:

Before

What to keep in mind when you’re creating your presentation

During

What to do during your presentation to keep your audience engaged and ensure buy-in

After

How to tie up any loose ends and check-in for feedback

Before the presentation

When you’re working on your product roadmap presentation, your main goal is to set it up for the best results. To do that, get to know your stakeholders’ needs and motivations, and try to anticipate questions and feedback that might come up in the presentation.

1. Know your audience

As you build your product roadmap presentation, focus on sharing the most relevant information with your audience. 

For example, the C-Suite and the Sales team care about different aspects of the product strategy, while customers and engineers are likely invested in different aspects of the product's direction. Every one of these groups has a varying degree of understanding around the inner workings of the product—and different ways of relating to you as the PM.

To tailor your presentation to the interests of the audience involved, you need to get to know them: their motivations, their deadlines, their pressures, what’s keeping them up at night. This will help you empathize with your stakeholders and create trust.

💡 Pro tip: if you don’t know your stakeholders, set up interviews so you can begin to understand them and their interests. Stakeholder interviews can be informal, simple conversations to get to know their motivations and challenges. They’ll also provide you with some less-obvious opportunities to influence your project’s chances of success.

Once you know your audience, you can tailor your product roadmap presentation to address what they care about and communicate your roadmap for successful buy-in. For example:

  • Engineering: they want to understand the value of their effort to the business, to customers, and towards improving the product. Keep it short-term and focus on developer-oriented themes—like scalability, usability, quality, performance, infrastructure, and product features.

  • Executives: these stakeholders care about the company's vision and goals, and how the plan depicted by the roadmap will help the company achieve them. Make sure your roadmap ties each initiative to customer value and business goals. Explain what features you’re adding, and more importantly, how the initiatives will help the product capture the market.

  • Customer-facing teams: these include Sales and Customer Success and Support teams that mainly care about what they can promise customers, when it will be ready, how it affects pricing, building trust and loyalty, and ways to reduce churn. Give them a transparent timeline they can communicate to customers and users, and show how the roadmap will introduce ways to reduce churn and improve conversion.

2. Channel your inner PANDA 

Building an effective and engaging presentation is all about product roadmap prioritization in the wild. As a PM, that can mean dealing with some pretty dangerous animals. 

From HiPPOs (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion) to ZEBRAs (Zero Evidence But Really Arrogant) to RHINOs (Really Here In Name Only), these types of stakeholders can hold up the product development process or force you to focus resources on the wrong priorities.

PANDAs (Prioritizes Amazingly and Needs Data Always) make the best product managers because they prioritize strategically and take a data-informed approach. 

When it comes to developing a stellar product roadmap presentation, channeling your inner PANDA helps you:

  • Communicate convincing product narratives

  • Share user and business data that keeps team members aligned

  • Manage your backlog effectively

  • Highlight clear, measurable metrics that let you know you’re on the right track 

  • Keep the product team aligned on shared priorities and initiatives

  • Build trust with stakeholders who can see that you’re creating real value for the company

Product managers who Prioritize Amazingly and Need Data Always can confidently show that their product decisions will benefit their team, their organization, and most importantly, their users. This is the basis for cross-functional communication and buy-in from execs and other stakeholders.

💡 Pro tip: sharpen your user data to make better decisions for your product roadmap.

The best product managers use research for product prioritization, and Hotjar gives you the user data you need to prioritize brilliantly. 

  • Ask users direct questions and gather information on what’s important to them by using Hotjar’s non-invasive survey tools—like Feedback widgets.

  • Use Heatmaps and Session Recordings to spot issues and determine which bug fixes and product optimizations should be top of your list.  

When you’re guided by how your users experience your product and what their needs are, you can stop your priorities from being hijacked by loud-mouthed HiPPOs, arrogant ZEBRAs, or unfocused WOLF types.

A session recording captured using Hotjar

3. Structure the roadmap in themes, not features

Theme-based roadmaps are one of the best ways to give your product roadmap a memorable and meaningful narrative. As they highlight the big picture, themes show the broader objectives at play and make it easier for you to sell your product strategy.

High-level themes are great for structuring the roadmap and setting up your audience for the context you’re presenting in. To anticipate needs and questions during the presentation, make sure you can provide details into what’s behind each high-level item. 

For example, if you've called a theme 'essential services', break it down into key initiatives and epics that will be required to deliver the theme.

During the presentation

To get everyone on board during product roadmap presentations, your goal is to communicate clearly with your stakeholders and ensure everyone is on the same page.

4. Focus on the why 

Whether it’s a traditional feature roadmap or a problem-focused set of objectives and key results (OKRs), why you want to do these things matters. Is it to explore a new business opportunity? To increase satisfaction among a key segment of users? Something else?

If you expect your team to own building solutions—as well as defining and measuring their success—they need to understand why these initiatives matter to your users and the business as a whole. 

As you present, highlight the context for why you are including something on a roadmap, and remember to tailor your message depending on the audience. Technical teams need to see evidence for why you see demand for a feature. Executives want to see a strong connection between the development initiatives and the priorities of the business.

Remember to address different stakeholders' needs, which you may have uncovered in earlier stakeholder interviews or catch-ups. Be clear on the trade-offs you’ve had to make so stakeholders understand the different considerations you and your team have made.

💡 Pro tip: the data speaks for itself, but you can also tell a powerful story from the perspective of your users. 

Include user insights to prove the value of your ideas, and talk about some alternatives that you've excluded—and why.

Use Hotjar's product experience tools to Observe and Ask for user feedback that helps your audience understand the ‘why’ as much as the ‘what’.

The Hotjar Feedback widget

The Hotjar Feedback widget

5. Communicate a convincing product narrative

Great product storytelling can get powerful exec HiPPOs on board, motivate disconnected RHINOs, and convince arrogant ZEBRAs and distractible WOLF (Working On Latest Fire) personas to get behind your product plans. 

As you tell the story of how your roadmap came together, use it as a tool to keep your audience engaged and rally their support around the plan. Include details like customer requests that inspired a new feature, features and functionalities that help push you closer to the product’s vision, or any particularly difficult prioritization decisions you can share.

Use simple and clear language and avoid industry jargon, especially if you're trying to align a wide variety of stakeholders. This will help communicate your product roadmap.

6. Engage your audience with visual aids

People need to see how all the components of your product strategy fit together, so invest time in making sure your product roadmap presentation template is well-designed.

Whether it’s dedicated product roadmapping or project management tools, PowerPoint presentations, infographics, Gantt charts, or Excel spreadsheets, every type of product roadmap presentation template uses graphic elements to help stakeholders visualize your overall product strategy, and help you chart the development and release of specific iterations.

#Some of PowerPoint’s free roadmap templates
Some of PowerPoint’s free roadmap templates

A few key points to keep in mind: 

  • Vary your versions: present different versions of your roadmap for different audiences. A good way to do this can be to filter your roadmap content by epics or outcomes, and only show the ones relevant to the departments or teams you're presenting to.

  • Colormap: use color to distinguish between different themes, objectives, or categories on your roadmap. Don’t forget to include a legend outlining what each color signifies.

  • Keep it relevant: don’t overwhelm your audience with too many details. Your visual product roadmap should contain only the most relevant insights and graphics. When in doubt, take it out.

After the presentation

It’s time to tie up any loose ends and check in with your audience. As you do so, continue to request feedback and iterate on your roadmap presentation.

7. Tie in metrics

If you’re having a difficult time rallying the audience around your roadmap, remember that metrics are a great arbitrator. They are a powerful tool for selling your product strategy and getting buy-in across your organization.

Metrics related to the success of your product help you make objective decisions and not rely on intuition alone. You likely used these product metrics to make your roadmap decisions in the first place, so put them back to work for you when presenting your product strategy.

Your visual roadmap should present how initiatives influence key business metrics or a 'north star metric'. They’re an important part of the narrative around your product roadmap, so put these numbers front and center in your presentation. 

8. Leave room for questions and feedback

Make sure you give participants the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback on your product roadmap presentation. This will help you improve and have better ongoing communication around your roadmap.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to act on every single piece of feedback. Instead, actively listen and hear people out and make sure stakeholders feel heard and understood.

Some areas you can seek feedback on are:

  • Is the meeting cadence working for stakeholders?

  • Do they understand your product team’s priorities and trade-offs?

  • Do they understand the roadmap’s impact on them?

Then, follow up on any feedback shared during the presentation. After all, alignment isn’t one-sided—it’s an exercise in negotiating different views and opinions.

9. Keep the product roadmap updated and accessible

Once you’ve done a good job selling your product strategy, don’t hide it away. Make sure you follow up your roadmap presentation with thorough meeting notes and the updated roadmap. 

By now it’s clear that roadmaps can’t just be static documents—like an Excel spreadsheet or a PowerPoint template. This also means the roadmapping lifecycle doesn’t simply end with a presentation. You need to follow up on KPIs and progress, as well as keep your stakeholders and customers informed.

Continue to communicate updates and changes to your roadmap outside of meetings. Create a concrete, editable, and accessible space where stakeholders can continuously check-in, provide feedback, and keep up-to-date on changes. 

Some ideas of how to do this include:

  • A product roadmapping tool

  • A shared document

  • A dedicated space in your company’s knowledge sharing tool

  • A dedicated channel in your company’s messaging platform

  • A dedicated space for feedback in the roadmap artifact itself

#A product roadmap presentation template from Miro
A product roadmap presentation template from Miro

Next steps for product roadmap presentations

Roadmap alignment is a continuous, ongoing process. And the way you approach your roadmap presentations can be decisive in how your product moves forward toward success. 

As you gear up to present your product strategy and the specific iterations it involves, consider what you do before, during, and after the roadmap presentation to build alignment. 

Understanding why certain product initiatives matter to your users and the business will allow your team, stakeholders, and customers to rally behind them much more than just being told they need to happen.

Boost your product roadmap presentation with product experience insights

Heatmaps, Recordings, Surveys, and Feedback tools help you build your product roadmap presentation on a solid, user-centric foundation.

FAQs about product roadmap presentations