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Free product roadmap for your SaaS


#1

Hi everyone,

I’d like to introduce Roadmap - a SaaS I’m working on for the last 1.5 years. It allow users to publish public/private product roadmaps and keep their users in the loop from capturing feedback to product releases.

The free plan now includes a fully functional public product roadmap, so I thought that it might be useful to fellow entrepreneurs that are building a product with users.

Since feedback is such critical on early stage (later as well), having a nice central place to handle feedback is something you might want to start using from day 1.

In any case, I hope this is valuable to some of you. Do not hesitate to ask questions and honest feedback is always welcome.

Thanks,
Dominic


#2

Dominic,

Congrats!
I’ve built over 20 commercial sw products so I know how hard it is!

Caveat: I would probably not have much need for this. I’ve not found any benefits to public road maps. Our customers don’t care about “what’s coming next” :slight_smile:

My first thought is that I’d love to see an existing roadmap. I did find YOUR roadmap so I’ll comment on that.

  1. Wasn’t clear that the Columns were sort of a Kanban chart (in progress, etc.) with Cards (1 year old checkpoint, etc.).
  2. I highly recommend doing some free demos and WATCHING people (even just via screen share).
  3. Looks very professional.
  4. I’d like to be able to make a copy of a sample and play with it. How about if you had a few Samples that someone could copy, where the Content sort of leads you through it.
  5. I did signup and create my own Roadmap but it was a bit overwhelming. (maybe someone who already uses a Roadmap would have found it clearer. See #2 above :slight_smile:

#3

I’m curious as to your motivation and how you decided on this particular product.

  1. Did you do any customer discovery/research?
    If so, how many customers did you contact?
  2. I assume your primary motivation was to generate revenue, correct?
  3. What was your background before you worked on this? (SW engineering, I assume, but were you an independent Contractor, or an employee, or something else)

If you prefer you can DM me with answers as well.


#4

I’m not sold on the wisdom of publishing a public roadmap that your customers and potential customers can read.

I’ve released six commercial products over the past 10 years, and one lesson I’ve learned the hard way is to never make your roadmap or detailed future plans about a product public. I generalise about what I’m working on or what my long term plans for a product are, but detail leads to problems.

Example 1: The roadmap says feature X will be in the next release in two months time. For whatever reason, that release is 3 months late and feature x did not make the cut, for technical reasons or because I’ve changed my mind about its value to the product. Customers are unhappy because a promised release is late, or they’re unhappy because a feature some of them wanted is not in that release.

Example 2: “I only bought your software because you said feature X would be in it in August.” I’ve had this happen many times in early products.

Public roadmaps are hard to change, as customers have made purchase decisions on the back of what you’ve printed in that roadmap. It leads to raised expectations that are almost never met. Better to set low expectations and surpass them than high expectations that you’re unlikely to meet.


#5

+1 to @DarrenZ

Speaking as an app creator, there’s no upside to public roadmap.

If feature is done on time, no-one notices so there’s no value to me.

If feature is late or cancelled, users will get mad. The more users you have, the more mad users you get. It’s bad for me.

There might be some creators that don’t understand that, but we all inevitably learn that lesson.


#6

Thanks for your replies @Clay_Nichols :slight_smile:

  1. Yes of course, to be clear, Roadmap was launched in September 2016 and already have paying customers. I was just offering here the fact that the free plan includes a fully working product roadmap for interested SaaS that see value in having transparency with their customers.
  2. My main motivation was to answer the question: “What should we do next?” as product people. To make sure teams are all aligned with the next release etc. Roadmap is WAY more than just a product roadmap tool. It ensures all stakeholders (everyone interested in your product) are kept in the loop about what’s happening with your product from their own feedback up to product releases.
  3. I’ve built and launched SaaS for 10 years, I was previously CTO at LeadFuze where I built everything from zero to where they were able to take angel investments. I’m a technical founder if you will. Previous to that I was a team lead / software engineer.

#7

re: @DarrenZ and @kjk this is something some companies says, but I must disagree.

First because you are confusing a product roadmap with a dev plans. A product roadmap does not display features it communicates theme based changes for your product. You do not say “Add a button to do X” you say things like “Increase flexibility with new exporters”.

Of course your roadmap will change and that’s the main point of using my product. Things that get to your roadmap has been promoted from the bottom up to the top passing from your user submitting a feedback. That feedback was discussed internally with your team(s) and than turned into an idea. More of you users could have showed their interests in that idea overtime.

At some point you are accumulating data around this idea to take a solid decision and not just go implement feature X because you talked with a potential customer that said: “I will buy if you add this”.

That’s exactly why I built Roadmap. I wanted a more organize and solid way to decide what to work on next and not just go BOOM one lead required that, we must do it.

In any case, I hope it give a better explanation of why I’m not agreeing with both of your comments :slight_smile:

Have a great day


#8

how many customers did you contact?


#9

We’ve had in-person meeting with Intercom, Slack and some smaller SaaS last year while the V1 was being built.

I will admit that I built the MVP without talking to anyone, but the version we launched on ProductHunt was a result of talking with lots of different SaaS product teams.