Creating an Effective Roadmap for Your SaaS Product: A Step-by-Step Guide, Examples, and Template

A US roadmap, representing a SaaS product roadmap

It’s the SaaS life for me. I’ve been leading Product for over 20 years. Savio is my third SaaS product and company, so I’m steeped in the world of SaaS product development.

Launching a successful SaaS product requires a ton of planning and coordination—it’s critical to get your roadmap right.

That doesn’t mean, necessarily, that your roadmap is *complicated—*or even nice-looking. I know lots of you are out there using Google Sheets. (And not even including border lines. It’s insane.) That can totally work, even if I’ll judge a little.

But what you do need is some plan. And ideally, that plan is based on what you know about your customers’ needs.

In this article, I’ll break down product roadmaps for SaaS companies and make the case that while there’s no right way to do them, the more you tie them to customer feedback, the better.


  • A SaaS product roadmap is a visual representation of your plans for your SaaS product.
  • There are lots of ways to build them and no single way is “right”—what matters is that it effectively communicates how you’re planning to build your product and when.
  • Product roadmapping should be built on top of your product vision and rough strategy.
  • Ideally, you’ll use customer feedback to make better product decisions and also to justify those decisions to your stakeholders.


What is a roadmap and why does your SaaS product need one?

A product roadmap is a high-level, strategic plan that outlines the vision and direction of a product over time. It communicates the why, what, and how of what a product team is building.

Here’s how a roadmap benefits your SaaS (software as a service) product:

  1. Product vision and strategy alignment. The product roadmap helps to align your teams with the product's strategic goals. It provides a sense of direction, helping everyone understand how their work contributes to the broader business objectives.

  2. Prioritization. There will always be a long list of potential features or improvements. A roadmap helps teams prioritize what features to build next based on strategic goals, customer value, and the estimated effort.

  3. Communication with stakeholders. Your roadmap is a tool for communicating the product plan to stakeholders, including executives, Sales teams, Marketing, Customer Support, the Development team, and even to customers or prospects. It sets expectations about what features or improvements are coming and when.

  4. Customer retention and acquisition. For customers, a product roadmap can show the continuous commitment to improving the product, which can support customer retention. Potential customers can also be attracted to your commitment to future developments.

  5. Coordination and planning. Roadmaps help different departments plan their work. For instance, Marketing can prepare their campaigns for a new product feature, Sales can understand when they can start selling a new functionality, and Support can prepare help articles or training about upcoming changes.

  6. Resource management. A roadmap helps to manage resources effectively. It gives an overview of the development process and work pipeline, which can help in making decisions about hiring, budgeting, and other resource allocations.

SaaS product roadmap examples

SaaS roadmaps can take a number of different forms. Here are some popular types.

Example 1: Feature-based Kanban roadmap

Here’s a simple roadmap that places the features you’re going to build into simple Now/Next/Later timeframes. This helps you quickly visualize the initiatives and features that are planned and gives a rough sense of when they’re coming. The vague time frames help ensure your team members understand the features are plans rather than commitments.

screenshot9A SaaS product roadmap built in Savio.

This roadmap is:

  • Feature-based. Its focus is on displaying the features you’re planning to build.
  • Kanban-style. It’s built using a Kanban-style board with columns and cards.
  • Next/Now/Later. The roadmap uses large general time frames of Next/Now/Later.
  • Evidence-based. The roadmap displays user feedback data—number of requests, MRR, opportunity revenue, and priority—so that you can see why you’re building some product features over others.

Start now: Sign up for a free trial to start building your first product roadmap in Savio.

Example 2: Outcome-based roadmap based on OKRs

The next example comes from Jeff Gothelf. It displays longer-term strategic themes as well as quarterly objectives and key results (OKRs) for customer behavior. Then it also displays the features that you could build to achieve those OKRs.

*An example of an outcome-based roadmap described by Jeff Gothelf. *Source.

This roadmap is:

  • Outcome-based. It orients your plans around OKRs for customer behaviour outcomes.
  • Agile. This roadmap is designed to be flexible and organized by priority rather than committed to specific features.

Example 3: Gantt chart roadmap

Gantt charts are another popular style of roadmap. They are horizontal bar graphs that indicate when you plan to start building a feature and when you plan to release it.

*An example of a Gantt chart roadmap. *Source (and template) here.

Gantt chart roadmaps are:

  • Feature-based. They typically display features or tasks and their dependencies.
  • Timeline-oriented. They provide specific due dates or narrow time frames.

How to make a SaaS roadmap

We’ve got a full guide on how to create a product roadmap for SaaS products. Here, we’ll give you the stripped-down version.

Step 1: Establish your product vision and strategy

A good roadmap should be based on a clear understanding of what you're trying to achieve with your product—why are you building it? Start by defining your product vision and mission statement to ensure you're staying aligned with your overall goals.

Your product vision should be a concise statement that describes the problem your product is solving and the value it will provide to your customers.

At this stage, you can also work to define your product strategy—the long-term goals for the product and how you plan to achieve them.

Learn more: Product vision and strategy guide

Step 2: Define your business goals for the life of the roadmap

As part of that exercise, create a set of specific business goals you’re hoping to achieve. For example:

  • Reducing monthly churn rate by 5%
  • Increasing trial-to-paid conversion rate to 10%
  • Expanding seats from current customers by 5%

And so on. Those goals help tell you how to evaluate potential features and which ones to prioritize.

Tip: Make sure that there are clear metrics that you can use to measure progress toward each outcome.

Step 3: Collect feedback and feature requests

This is key—you need to collect feature requests and product feedback from your customers. Feedback helps you know what your customers want from your product and how to improve it.

Related: Why collect customer product feedback?

That means creating a feedback management system. All your customer-facing teams (customer success, sales, customer support, etc.) need to be able to easily centralize the feedback they get into one place where your product team can access it.

***Related: *What’s the role of customer success in logging product feedback?

When you systematically collect feature requests, you also give yourself a list of new features to consider building. It’s an easy way to get new feature ideas.

Guide: Where to get new feature ideas

Tip: Create a system to attach customer attributes to feature requests and product feedback. For example, make sure you can tell which features active customers want, which features churned customers want, etc.

Step 4: Identify features to achieve your outcomes

Now, for each outcome, identify the features or improvements that will help you achieve it. For example, if you're trying to reduce churn, figure out what actions you can take to move the needle on your churn rate.

In practice, this list will look a lot like your product backlog or feature request vault. And if you use a product roadmap tool like Savio, you’ll be able to look at each feature request and see how many churned customers, current customers, and others are requesting the feature.

Step 5: Prioritize the features to your roadmap.

Now decide which to build first.

This is the hard part. It’s hard because there are lots of ways to go about trying to prioritize, and, no matter which you choose, it’s rare to feel confident that you’ve made the very best decisions possible.

Still, there are better and worse ways to prioritize. Here’s some guidance that can help you:

Tip: Make your prioritization decisions using your customer feedback: Your decisions will be better and they’ll be easier to justify to your stakeholders.

Step 6: Allocate resources and set timelines

Your priorities are set. They’re aligned with your goals. Now just make sure they’re doable.

Think about your development hour budget and assign rough dates for when you think they’ll be done.

Tip: Roadmaps are planning documents and they are uncertain. That means that you (and your stakeholders!) should be prepared for them to change.

Step 7: Decide how to display the information

In SaaS, your roadmaps may serve several purposes. They may help clarify your own plans. They help your team know what to expect. They may be useful to your executives for resource planning. And you may even want to show them to your customers to help them know which features are coming down the pipe.

All of those purposes might require different information. So choose the best way to visually organize the information you need on your roadmap.

There are lots of ways to do this. Here are some of the different roadmap types you might want to consider:

Roadmap types by what information is displayed

Roadmap types by workflow framework:

Roadmap type by design style

It’s up to you. Think about the best way to display the information you want to communicate and what design elements can help make it clearer.

That decision is also connected to the roadmapping tool you decide to use—Powerpoint, Google Sheets, a purpose-built roadmapping tool, or something else.

Make all those decisions at this step.

Step 8: Communicate the roadmap to all stakeholders

At this point, you just need to share your roadmap with your stakeholders.

Get feedback from internal stakeholders. Make any changes necessary. Then publish and share with the rest of your internal and external stakeholders.


Tips for creating an effective SaaS roadmap

Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Define your business goals: Before you start creating your roadmap, make sure you have a clear understanding of your business goals. This will help ensure that your roadmap is aligned with your overall strategy.
  • Keep it simple: A roadmap doesn't need to be overly complicated to be effective. Focus on the key milestones and tasks that will help you achieve your goals.
  • Make it visible: Your roadmap should be shared with everyone involved in the project. Make sure it's easy to access, and everyone understands how to read it.
  • Update it regularly: Your roadmap should be updated regularly to reflect changes in your timeline, resources, or objectives.
  • Use data to make decisions: Your roadmap should be data-driven wherever possible. Use metrics and feedback to make informed decisions about your product.

SaaS product roadmap templates

Want to get up and running with your roadmap quickly? Sign up for Savio—you can build a product roadmap (that connects to your feature request list and customer feedback) in minutes.

Sign up here. Or, schedule a demo.

Or, get started with our SaaS product roadmap template in Trello.

SaaS product roadmap FAQ

Still curious? Here are some common questions I get about SaaS roadmaps.

Should a roadmap have dates?

Usually no. Roadmaps should be flexible. Including dates makes it easy for stakeholders—especially customers—to feel like a roadmap is a commitment rather than a guiding document. Save dates for release plans.

How long should a roadmap be for?

There aren’t any hard and fast rules, but we like the following rules of thumb:

  • Product visions should be built to last about 10 years
  • Product strategies should be designed to last several years
  • A product roadmap usually offers a snapshot of a year. And then, we update ours roughly every 3 months.

How specific should I be on delivery dates?

Roadmaps typically don’t need a ton of precision about dates. You can give rough target date windows of about 2 to 4 weeks. Or even a quarter.

If your stakeholders are pressing you for more specific dates, err on the conservative side so that you don’t over-promise and underdeliver.

Should I share my roadmap with customers?

Big question. It’s your call.

Advantages: You show them what’s coming, which might help acquisition and retention.

Disadvantages: Customers often understand roadmaps as a commitment to build features, not as a flexible planning tool. If you change or get it wrong, you might create issues.

In general, we don’t love sharing roadmaps with customers. One exception is for enterprise products that have big customers—with them, you might want to give lots of information and context about what’s coming down the pipeline.

Tips: If you’re going to share your roadmap with customers:

  • Make it general, including only the features you think they need to see.
  • Be conservative with dates or timelines
  • Give any disclaimers you need to

Note: With the Savio roadmap, you can easily include as much or as little on your roadmap as you need to so that your customers stay happy.

Up next: Product roadmapping 101: The complete guide

Last Updated: 2023-06-17

Kareem Mayan

Kareem is a co-founder at Savio. He's been prioritizing customer feedback professionally since 2001. He likes tea and tea snacks, and dislikes refraining from eating lots of tea snacks.

Want more articles like this?

Product Leaders from Slack, Zapier, and Appcues read our newsletter to delight customers, lower churn, and grow revenue.

Prioritize high-value Feature Requests

Centralize customer feedback from HubSpot, Intercom, and Slack.

Prioritize high-value features sorted by churned revenue or MRR.

Close the loop for Sales and CS by automating status updates from JIRA.

Learn more


Use HubSpot CRM? Collect and Prioritize Feature Requests

Get a central hub of customer feedback sorted by HubSpot attributes like churn or MRR.