Product Roadmap must be Self-Evident

I'm currently working on putting together the product roadmap for the next iteration of our product that we will start executing in early October and should last until end of November. Even though I'm doing it for the third time now in my capacity as a head of product development at Zemanta, it didn't get any easier. It still requires an enormous amount of discussions and back-and-forth with various stakeholders as we try to come to agreement what are the most important things that we should be doing next. My idea of a roadmap is that the roadmap shouldn't be something for everybody but it should instead represent a commitment of the whole team to go in one direction and then to walk there together.

Today I presented the roadmap proposal to Todd, our CEO, and he made a great remark. He said that roadmap should be so well researched and presented that conclusions become self-evident. While we might differ on implementation details, the general direction taken must be accepted by everybody wholeheartedly or you risk having people pulling in different directions. To achieve the team's commitment it's not necessary for everybody to agree with the direction taken; it suffices that everybody's concerns are being heard and addressed. And that takes a lot of time and effort.