Introducing timeline roadmaps
Is there anything more closely associated with the role of the product manager than the product roadmap?
The roadmap is a visualization that supports planning as well as communicating the plan to get everyone aligned. And once shared, it becomes a living resource, a single source of truth, that anyone can access at any time to understand the product team’s latest priorities and drill in to access the right level of context.
One of the most effective styles of roadmap is organized around objectives. That’s because they keep the focus on the why — for the product manager who’s planning what to build next, as well as everyone who’s consuming the plan.
With the new timeline-based roadmap, product managers can plan objectives with even more precision.
Benefits of planning objectives on a timeline
In more established Agile organizations, product managers must often plan backwards from date-based milestones like company announcements, analyst briefings, major conferences, industry events, and marketing launches. They acknowledge the possibility they'll need to adapt to changes and learnings along the way, but starting with a plan to tackle objectives over certain time horizons maximizes their chances of success.
And by planning when their teams might start and finish working on each objective, and what might be worked on sequentially or in parallel (or even where there may be dependencies — coming soon!), product managers can better evaluate what they have capacity to work on and communicate that to leadership.
Creating a timeline roadmap with objectives
You can now start planning your next quarter, half-year, or year by identifying the product objectives you’ll be driving towards straight on your roadmap!
Add existing objectives directly to your roadmap or create new ones on the fly.
Drag and drop objectives to adjust their order or sequence in time. Adjust their endpoints to signify their duration or when they might be worked on.
Optionally, configure your roadmap to show features beneath objectives.
- When enabled, you can easily add new/existing features to planned objectives directly on the roadmap.
- When features are hidden, the list of features in an objective can be accessed by opening its details in the side pane.
Note that features span their entire parent objective on the timeline rather than being associated with specific dates themselves. It will soon be possible to plan more granular releases on a timeline roadmap.
Configuring the timeline
Define a primary interval (year, quarter, month) and secondary interval (quarter, month, week) for the divisions along your timeline, as well as a start and end date.
Tip: Create one saved view of your high-level roadmap showing objectives spanning the entire year. Duplicate the view and adjust it to focus on just the upcoming quarter, serving as a more granular plan. When an objective’s timeframe is modified (start/end/duration) it will automatically be updated on all views.
You can add upcoming milestones to your timeline. This can be useful for backwards-planning from events/deadlines, or to communicate major product milestones (product launches, demo days, marketing events) to your organization.
Tip: Our teams like to use emojis in milestone names to easily differentiate them.
Group Objectives into swimlanes
You can group your releases into custom swimlanes representing team, platform, product, theme, or some other form of categorization.
Limitation: At the moment any swimlanes you create must be manually recreated in each view you'd like them to appear on.
Saving views with timeline roadmaps
Saved views work a bit differently with timeline roadmaps. Any updates you make will automatically be saved as part of the current view, no action required.
You can also duplicate the existing view:
Or start again from a blank slate by clicking Add new view.
Changes that are automatically updated on all views
If you have the same objective on multiple views and update its timeframe (start/end/duration), status, or details, that change will automatically be propagated across all views where that objective appears. (In some cases you may be prompted to confirm, as seen below.)
However, other attributes of objectives, like the vertical order in which they appear on a view, are local to each view.
Changes that require saving to update a given view
If you change the roadmap configurations on a given view, you'll need to save your changes to the view if you'd like them to be preserved.
Configurations that require saving include:
- Hiding objectives/features
- Updates to timeline settings (primary time, secondary time, start date, end date)
- Updates to roadmap configurations (show features under objectives, show hidden cards.
You can now filter the features appearing on your timeline roadmap. Filters impact which features appear but not the swimlanes or objective groupings.