Quick start guide: New roadmaps

This guide will help you set up clear and tailored roadmaps. Each section below outlines key concepts and contains links to other articles in case you need more details. The guide assumes you know what Productboard is and have an understanding of how navigation, board creation, and data structures work.

In this article:

Relevant to new boards only

Introduction: Columns and timelines

In Productboard, columns boards and timeline boards are specialized for communicating plans to internal audiences. We'll refer to both board types as roadmaps throughout this article unless otherwise noted.

You can create roadmaps based on different Productboard elements:

  • Objectives: Strategic business goals and associate key results.
  • Initiatives: High-level deliverables or projects.
  • Features: Specific deliverables or functionalities.
  • Releases: Milestones, launch phases, or abstract time measurements (like Now-Next-Later).

The data you see on roadmaps are the same data you see on other boards, so changing data in one place will change it in the other. It's usually better to edit and organize your data on grid boards, then use roadmaps for visualization and alignment. 

Note: Roadmaps aren't designed for external communication, but portals are. See Use the Portal to share your plans and collect feedback at scale for details.

Common roadmap elements

The header at the top of a roadmap contains several toolsets you'll see across roadmap types.

  • Items (A): Choose your main entity and any secondary entities to be displayed.
  • Columns (B): Choose which entities should organize your columns (depending on board type). 
  • Group by (C): Swimlaning and item nesting options.
  • Filter (D): Restrict item visibility based on data values. 
Note: The presence and contents of each toolset may change depending on the roadmap's type and your Productboard plan level. For example, timelines don't have column tools. 

Step 1: Discover your audience's needs

A roadmap built for your executives won't be very useful for your engineering team, and vice versa. If you try to build a roadmap to satisfy everyone, it won't satisfy anyone. There are two questions you should ask yourself before building a roadmap:

  1. Who is this roadmap built for? It should be for a specific group of people. Product Team A, Sales, GTM, Executives—whatever, as long as the group's expectations are roughly uniform. 
  2. What will they want to learn from it? Learn what they want by asking them. It's always best to check with the audience before and after you give them a roadmap to make sure it's actually useful.
  3. How much detail do they need? For example, executive roadmaps can probably stay high-level, while a release plan for engineers will need to be more granular. But ask, don't assume. 

Step 2: Choose the appropriate roadmap type

Columns boards are better for comparing entities against each other and for visualizing them in abstract blocks of time. Read more about configuring them here. 

Timeline boards are better for contextualizing your entities within specific dates or date ranges. Read more about configuring them here. 

Step 3: Share the roadmap

Once you're satisfied with your roadmap, make sure it's in a place where the intended audience can access it.

Roadmaps inherit access controls from their parent teamspace, so don't put your executive roadmap in your GTM teamspace, and certainly don't keep it hidden away in your Private section. 

See Teamspace types and member access levels for details. 

See also

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