A roadmap is exactly as it sounds, it offers the same as a roadmap of a country. It details the relative position of cities (or in your case, features) to each other and the routes that can be taken to get from city A to city B, or feature X and feature Z. It doesn’t tell you which route you should take, or how you should get there. It doesn’t tell you which mode of transport to use, but it might illustrate options to take the highway or the train.
In a city, there are many roads, buildings, parks, services, and facilities. All features of a city. This is also true of the roadmap for your product. At this level, your roadmap shows major goals or milestones to be achieved. A goal is a logical grouping of themes, features, and user stories rolled up in a consumable view that demonstrates tangible value. The roadmap of a software product shares this view and communicates your intent. It doesn’t necessarily show you how or when features will be delivered; only the relative value of the goals and features to you and your business.
One great way to demonstrate a roadmap is to generate a story map. This tool indicates customer valued prioritization. It lays out the backbone, or essential building blocks of your product. The walking skeleton hangs off the backbone and illustrates the features that make it an MVP. All the other features are what add further value and importance to the system. The story map lays features in relative position to each other and is an awesome visual tool.
It’s worth noting that after carrying out a story mapping exercise, your backlog may need to be refined. This will be apparent where stories have been split into multiple stories, identified as redundant, newly created, or as a higher or lower priority than previously thought. The story map is another artifact that is continually revisited and revised.
The Initiation phase is typically performed once in the life of your project. However, many of the tools and documents you created will be revisited and revised throughout the project.