Data Product Roadmap: How To Conduct Data-Driven Product Planning

Userpilot Team
10 min readFeb 20, 2024

What is a data product roadmap? How do you build one? What roadmap metrics should you be tracking?

Are these questions getting the best of you? This article provides detailed answers. We also share software products you can use to create a foolproof product roadmap and drive product-led growth.

TL;DR

  • A data product roadmap is a product development strategy where the product manager and their team use insights from various data sources to inform decisions.
  • The difference between a data product roadmap and the traditional approach is the former relies heavily on data.

A data-driven, agile product roadmap helps you:

Metrics to use during product roadmap planning include:

Step-by-step roadmapping process for data-driven product teams:

  1. Define your product strategy and business objectives
  2. Collect feedback with user surveys
  3. Ideate the features your product needs
  4. Prioritize feature development based on value and effort
  5. Create a timeline for your roadmap
  6. Share the roadmap with your internal teams for a review
  7. Optimize the roadmap as you go

Best product roadmap tools for product managers

Ready to build a product roadmap that drives results? Book a demo now to begin.

What is a data product roadmap?

A data product roadmap is a product development strategy that uses insights from various data sources to inform decisions about which features to prioritize, how to design them, and what the potential business impact will be.

This approach to product management reduces bias and guesswork, ensuring every new product or feature released aligns with user needs and the ever-evolving market demands.

Data product roadmaps vs product roadmaps: What’s the difference?

A product roadmap is a general term for a plan that highlights the direction, vision, priorities, and progress of a product’s development over time. Here, the product manager mainly makes decisions based on intuition, customer feedback or (requests), and market trends.

How is a data product roadmap different? Unlike the traditional roadmap explained above, a data product roadmap is heavily backed by data and designed by taking several quantitative and qualitative data sources into account. Thus, it has a higher chance of ensuring user satisfaction and retention.

If you’re interested in learning how to build a product roadmap that’s backed by data, Lusine covers all of it in this value-packed webinar. Register now to access all the key insights.

Product-Roadmap-Prioritization-with-Behavioral-Analytics_data-product-roadmap
Register to watch the webinar.

Key benefits of creating a data-driven product roadmap

Data-driven roadmapping requires extra effort because you need to synthesize data from many sources, but the benefits are worth it. This approach allows you to:

  • Create a dependable overall business strategy: Adding data to all aspects of your business plan gives internal teams clarity, making it easy for them to crush critical goals.
  • Find product-market fit: By analyzing user interactions, feedback, and needs, you’re better positioned to tailor your product to meet those demands more precisely, enhancing product-market fit.
  • Increase product adoption: Since data-led product roadmaps focus on building features that users love, it naturally leads to increased engagement and adoption.
  • Optimize resource allocation: Data-driven insights help prioritize development efforts for product design that offer the highest return on investment, ensuring you don’t waste resources on low-impact initiatives.
  • Reduce churn: Products aligned with user needs and interests receive better engagement. As users interact with the product and consistently derive value, they find reasons to stick around and continue renewing or expanding their accounts.

Metrics to use during product roadmap planning

Here’s a breakdown of what you should consider:

  • Conversion rate: This is the percentage of users that complete a desired action (signing up, trying a feature, making a purchase, etc.). It helps assess the effectiveness of your marketing, onboarding, or sales funnels.
  • Product adoption rate: This metric tracks the rate at which new users incorporate your product into their workflows over a certain period. It helps gauge the initial success of your product in the market and the effectiveness of your onboarding process.
  • Feature adoption rate: This is a granular metric that tracks the number of new users who successfully start deriving value from your features. It helps evaluate whether the features you roll out meet user needs.
  • Feature engagement rate: This measures how actively users engage with specific features, providing insights into which features are most valuable to your users and which may need improvement or removal.
  • Customer satisfaction score: This metric is a direct measure of customer satisfaction with your product or service, typically obtained through surveys. CSAT scores help you understand overall customer sentiment and areas for improvement.
  • Customer lifetime value: This measures the total revenue your company expects to generate from a single customer account throughout the relationship. High CLV indicates strong customer relationship and product stickiness.
  • Retention rate: This metric is the percentage of users who remain active over a given period. Products that evolve with user needs tend to enjoy better retention rates.
  • Churn rate: This is the opposite of the retention rate. It measures the percentage of users who abandon your product over time. A high churn rate can identify pain points needing your roadmap’s attention.

Step-by-step roadmapping process for data-driven product teams

This section shows you actionable steps to build and continuously refine your data product roadmap.

1. Define your product strategy and business objectives

Analyze customer needs, market trends, and competitors, then use the data to clearly articulate the long-term vision for your product.

Your product strategy should cover:

  • The problem: Write a clear statement of the specific pain points or unmet needs your product will address.
  • The target audience: Provide a detailed description of the different personas you’re targeting.
  • The product solution: Describe how your product addresses the problem identified.
  • The competitive advantage: There are similar products already in the market. What positions yours as a better solution?
  • Key benefits: List the specific outcomes users can expect from using your product. Quantify them when possible (e.g.: saves X hours, increases revenue by Y%).
  • Metrics: Clearly define the KPIs that will allow you to measure the product’s success against business goals.

Once you’ve settled the above elements, it’s time to define your business objectives — note that the sequence isn’t set in stone. You can begin with your objectives, then the strategy, or the other way around. Whatever works for you.

Your business objective is simply a statement of what you intend to achieve in terms of revenue growth, market share, user growth, or what have you.

Examples:

2. Collect customer feedback with user surveys

Trigger qualitative and quantitative surveys to understand user needs, pain points, preferences, and opinions.

Share your surveys across various channels where your users are most active — email, social media, or within the product itself. Ensure to phrase your questions in a way that prompts users to provide insightful feedback.

Open-ended-customer-survey
Build customer feedback surveys code-free with Userpilot.

3. Ideate on the features your product needs

Encourage your team to think creatively and broadly about potential features.

Cross-reference each promising idea with user feedback, market trends, and your business strategy to ensure it addresses real user needs and the opportunities identified in your data analysis.

4. Prioritize feature development based on value and effort

Use the Value vs. Effort framework below to prioritize the features you ideated.

the-value-vs-effort-framework-data-product-roadmap
The Value vs. Effort framework.

Here’s the guide in text, in the order of their importance:

  1. High value-Low effort — quick wins
  2. High value-High effort — big projects
  3. Low value-Low effort — fill-ins
  4. Low value-High effort — time sinks

You want to begin with quick wins because they deliver immediate value to your business and users with minimum effort. While you do that, try to spread your big project across weeks or months.

Tread carefully with fill-ins; only do them if you have enough bandwidth. Their impact is minimal, but they may offer minor improvements if there’s nothing more pressing on the roadmap. As a rule of thumb, always avoid time sinks.

Here’s an example of how a company does its value and effort scoring.

productplan_value_scoring
Prioritizing features based on the value vs effort framework.

5. Create a timeline for your roadmap

Based on the prioritization and effort estimates, assign realistic timeframes to each feature or initiative in your data product roadmap.

Consider dependencies between tasks to ensure a logical sequence.

You can choose specific timelines or keep them broad, depending on what works best for your team.

product-timeline_data-product-roadmap
Product roadmap with specific timelines.

6. Share the roadmap with your internal teams for a review

As part of your release planning, present the roadmap to all relevant stakeholders across the company.

Use this as an opportunity to align everyone on the product vision and plan. Encourage stakeholders to share their honest feedback on the roadmap and leverage their expertise to make changes where necessary.

7. Optimize the roadmap as you go

Create a feedback loop that allows you to gather data, iterate on your product roadmap, and keep customers informed.

Here are three ideas to make it easy:

  • Continuously monitor changing market trends.
  • Regularly collect customer feedback to understand how they feel about the current product.
  • Use funnel analysis to measure the impact of the user journeys you build.
funnel-analysis_data-product-roadmap
Generate funnel analysis and measure performance with Userpilot.

Best product roadmap tools for product managers

Below are four of the best product roadmap tools and how they can help you.

1. Userpilot — best for user research

Userpilot is a product growth tool built to help SaaS teams design product experiences that are data-driven and user-centric.

Key features:

  • User feedback widgets: From NPS to CSAT and CES surveys, access to survey templates to customize as desired. Userpilot’s survey analytics lets you quickly analyze user feedback and generate actionable insights.
Access survey templates and gather feedback easily with Userpilot
Access survey templates and gather feedback easily with Userpilot.
  • Funnel analysis: Monitor how users progress through important processes. Note areas of friction and find ways to address them.
funnel-analysis_data-product-roadmap_Userpilot
Funnel analysis report generated with Userpilot.
  • Trend analysis: Interested in tracking how user behavior changes based on the updates you’re making? This feature provides the reports you need.
trend-analysis_data-product-roadmap
Track task completion trends with Userpilot.
  • Product usage dashboard: This dashboard allows you to see all your engagement and product usage metrics in one place, simplifying decision-making.
product-usage-dashboard-data-product-roadmap
Userpilot’s product usage dashboard.

2. Dragonboat — best overall for customized roadmaps

Dragonboat is an outcome-focused roadmap platform designed primarily for product managers with large product portfolios.

Key features:

  • Built-in prioritization support: Implement the Value vs. Effort framework along with many others to determine what to focus on.
  • Boards: Access Kanban-inspired boards with swimlanes to group initiatives by themes or departments.
  • Collaboration: Share roadmaps and brainstorm ideas with stakeholders easily.
dragonboat_data-product-roadmap
Dragonboat dashboard.

3. Productplan — best for creating high-impact roadmaps for key stakeholders

Productplan balances visual presentation with prioritization and progress-tracking features. These help enable teams to perform effective product management.

Key features:

  • View options: Productplan provides flexible layouts for roadmaps, including Timeline and List views, enhancing the visualization of your product strategy.
  • Prioritization: The platform provides weighted scoring systems and allows easy drag-and-drop organization.
  • Sharing: You can generate links and share them with stakeholders, make your product roadmap public, export your ideas to third-party platforms like Slack, and so on.
productplan_data-product-roadmaps
Productplan dashboard.

4. Trello — best for easy product roadmapping for new PMs

Trello is a project management tool that’s adaptable for simple product roadmapping.

Key features:

  • Boards, Lists, and Cards: These are the core of Trello’s functionality, allowing for a clear visual representation of tasks and project stages.
  • Automation: Trello’s AI tool, Butler, helps streamline repetitive tasks and workflows.
  • Templates: The platform offers pre-made templates for quick setup, including product management and roadmap templates.
trello_dashboard
Project management on Trello.

Conclusion

Your roadmap should align your team and inform strategic decisions. However, be flexible enough to always adapt your strategy when you notice a shift in user needs and market demands.

Ready to build or refine your data product roadmap? Book a demo and see how Userpilot can help you conduct proper research and gather the qualitative and quantitative data you need.

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Userpilot Team

Userpilot is a Product Growth Platform designed to help product teams improve product metrics through in-app experiences without code. Check out userpilot.com