10 Steps to Build a SaaS Product Roadmap (W/ Tips & Examples)

April 20, 2023

As a SaaS product owner, you know that a SaaS product roadmap is crucial for guiding your team and ensuring that your product aligns with your business goals.

However, creating a roadmap from scratch can be daunting, especially when you consider your customers' constantly evolving needs and preferences.

The problem is compounded when you factor in the growing competition in the SaaS industry.

Without a well-planned and executed roadmap, your product may lose its relevance and fail to meet the expectations of your customers.

In this article, we will guide you through ten essential steps to build a SaaS product roadmap, along with tips and examples to help you create a roadmap that is flexible, customer-centric, and goal-oriented.

What Is a SaaS Product Roadmap?

A SaaS product roadmap is a multi-level plan that outlines a SaaS product's features, goals, improvements, and milestones. 

This strategic document can also include timelines for the entire SaaS app development, release, and marketing processes. It will clearly communicate what actions should be taken on the app and at what time.

You can think of a SaaS product roadmap as a blueprint. It gives you a clear vision of how you and your team plan to develop and improve the SaaS product over time.

The SaaS product roadmap is also a communication tool to align development, sales, finance, and marketing teams toward the product's short and long-term goals. This shared understanding helps ensure transparency among team members.

Why Build a SaaS Product Roadmap?

A SaaS product roadmap is essential for any company that provides software-based products or services.

Here are some key reasons why building a SaaS product roadmap is important:

  • Strategic Planning: A product roadmap helps the development team to align their efforts with the company's objectives and market trends.
  • Clear Communication: With a SaaS product roadmap, developers can clearly communicate the product vision and timeline to all stakeholders, including executives, investors, customers, and the product, marketing, and sales teams.
  • Prioritization and Resource Allocation: A roadmap enables software developers to prioritize the most critical features of the app and allocate resources accordingly.
  • Continuous Improvement: By setting goals, tracking progress, and getting customer feedback, your development team can make data-driven decisions to improve the product over time.
  • Risk Management: By planning, the team can anticipate potential challenges and proactively address them before they become significant problems.

10 Steps to Create a SaaS Product Roadmap

Creating a SaaS product roadmap is challenging, but not if you know the right steps to take.

For this reason, we have put together ten steps to help you create an actionable SaaS product roadmap to take strategic decisions and stay ahead of your competitors:

#1. Set Short & Long-Term Goals

Before you begin creating your SaaS product roadmap, you should define its vision. 

To do that, answer the following questions in as much detail as possible:

  • What problems will this SaaS product solve?
  • How does it help small businesses run more efficiently?
  • What pain points does the SaaS software address?

Once you've defined your vision, write down your short-term and long-term goals to help achieve it. To do that, start by setting your long-term goals first and breaking them down into short-term ones.

For example, suppose you want to build a cloud-based Human Resource (HR) management platform. Your long-term vision can include developing a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) within the first six months.

To achieve the long-term goal, you can then create short-term goals like:

  • Creating a target audience persona in the first couple of weeks.
  • Interviewing HRs and stakeholders to plan the product within two months.
  • Building the right team for SaaS product development within three months and defining your MVP's cost.
  • Deciding on the SaaS app development framework and other technology stack details within three months and 15 days.
  • Starting work on the MVP within the third month.

#2. Take Inputs From Stakeholders

As you start to put together your roadmap, it's important to consider the stakeholders' inputs. Stakeholders can be anyone associated with the SaaS product you are about to build, like potential customers, investors, and the board of directors.

These people are vested in your product or service and can provide valuable insight into what to include in your roadmap.

If you skip this step, you might design a product that may not work. One such example of SaaS product failure is Ink, a SaaS app for digital signatures. According to one of the co-founders, their biggest mistake was that they were too focused on building the product and spent less time talking to the customers and other stakeholders.

Take stakeholders' input regularly if you don't want to make a similar mistake.

#3. Implement a Feature Prioritization Framework

Feature prioritization is deciding which SaaS product features are most important, which need to be included in your product roadmap, and when to release them. This step is important because it helps you determine the order in which you will build your product roadmap.

If you don't prioritize features, you may get confused about resource allocation. For example, you may end up giving more resources to less-required features.

There are multiple feature prioritization frameworks you can use. Some of the most common and solid frameworks are:

MoSCoW Framework

The MoSCoW Framework is a prioritization technique that categorizes features based on their importance. MoSCoW stands for Must-have, Should-have, Could-have, and Won't-have.

  • Must-have: These are critical features necessary for the product to function. Without them, the product would not be viable.
  • Should-have: These features are important but not essential for the product to function. You can add them later if resources allow.
  • Could-have: These are nice-to-have features that enhance the product but are not essential.
  • Won't-have: These features won’t get included in the current release but you can consider them for future releases.

Kano Model

The Kano Model is a technique that categorizes features based on how they impact customer satisfaction. In the Kano Model, the project manager compiles a list of questionnaires and surveys to collect answers from potential end users.

The project manager then creates a customer satisfaction chart based on the answers. 

They then categorize the SaaS product features into basic, excitement, performance, indifferent, and dissatisfaction. The features that fall into the first three categories are the ones the development team will include.

RICE Framework

The RICE framework is a prioritization technique that combines four factors: reach, impact, confidence, and effort.

  • Reach: The number of people who will benefit from the feature within a given time.
  • Impact: The extent to which the feature will impact users. Score the impact using a scale from 1 to 5.
  • Confidence: The team's confidence in the feature's reach and impact scores. Score this using percentages where 50% is low, 80% is medium, and 100% is high confidence.
  • Effort: The amount of time and resources required to develop the feature.

You can then use this formula to calculate the RICE score and prioritize accordingly.

RICE Score = (Reach x Impact x Confidence) / Effort

Weighted Scoring Model

The Weighted Scoring Model is a prioritization technique that assigns a score to each feature based on predefined criteria.

  • Criteria: The factors used to evaluate each feature, such as customer impact, strategic alignment, technical feasibility, and revenue potential.
  • Weight: The importance or weight assigned to each criterion.

Story Mapping

Story Mapping is a technique that helps product teams visualize and prioritize features and user stories more holistically and sequentially.

  • User Journey: A user's journey in the product, from their initial interaction with the product to when they complete the task they are using the app for.
  • Features: The functionality or capability required to achieve a user's goal.
  • User Stories: The specific needs or requirements of the user that a feature must meet.

#4. Ideate on the Features

Once you prioritize features based on their importance and value, it is time to start planning your strategy on how to bring them to life. 

You can use several brainstorming techniques to generate ideas for the features. Mind mapping is one of the most popular methods, which involves visually organizing your thoughts on a whiteboard or paper.

Another approach is free association. Just write down anything that comes to mind when you think about what makes a good feature for your product.

You must also decide whether you only want a SaaS platform or a SaaS mobile app and what different features each will have. This will help you determine the human resources you will need.

Once you know the resources and team requirements for developing your SaaS product, you can also decide if you want an in-house team or would want to outsource some parts of its development to a software development company.

#5. Set Project Completion Timeframes

Now that you've defined your product roadmap, it's time to set the project completion goals. The first step in this process is defining the project’s timeline.

You can do this by breaking down your roadmap into different phases. This will help you understand how long each phase should take, as well as what deliverables are expected at each stage of development.

Once you've done this, set a specific date and milestone against all the phases on your timeline before adding the resources needed for those tasks. Your general aim should be to accelerate your product's time to market to a gain competitive advantage in the market.

#6. Select the Right Tools for Creating SaaS Product Roadmaps

There are many different tools for creating roadmaps. You can use a spreadsheet, pen and paper, or a whiteboard. But investing in the right software is essential if you're working with a team of people to create your SaaS product roadmap.

You'll want to use a tool that is easy to learn so that everyone on your team understands how it works and can contribute their ideas without getting bogged down by technical obstacles. In addition, make sure that whatever tools you choose fit all the needs of your business model.

Here are some tools you can use for creating SaaS product roadmaps:

  • Jira: This is a popular tool software development teams use to plan and track projects. It is easy to integrate with existing IT infrastructures for quick setup.
  • Aha!: This product management tool includes customizable templates, prioritization tools, and roadmap visualization. That's why it is an excellent option for companies creating simple roadmaps.
  • Roadmunk: This is another tool specializing in creating and managing roadmaps. It includes timeline visualization, customizable templates, and collaboration tools.
  • ProdPad: ProdPad includes features such as prioritization tools, customer feedback management, and idea management.
  • Airfocus: This is a product management tool that helps you prioritize your roadmap based on various criteria, such as customer feedback, market trends, and team capacity. Airfocus includes customizable scoring, priority charts, and integrations with popular project management tools.

#7. Draft & Design the SaaS Product Roadmap

You may already know the importance of clean design. 

But if you don't, here's a stat to help you get a clear idea: according to recent data, 84.6% of web designers believe that building a crowded web design is a common mistake small businesses make. 

The same is true for a SaaS product roadmap. The more crowded the roadmap, the harder it is to understand.

This means the roadmap should be created in a way that effectively communicates what needs to be done. For starters, it should use color and font styles that are clear and reader-friendly. For example, use different colors for tasks depending on their status (e.g., green for complete) or their priority (e.g., red for top priority).

The bar fill level of each task can also indicate progress. Full bars mean you've completed the task, half-full bars indicate partial completion and empty bars mean you have not started working on the task.

Additionally, you should use arrows between different steps of the process flowchart to help other team members or stakeholders see how one step leads to another. 

This can help them understand where they're going next! You can do many such things to make your SaaS product roadmap easy to understand.

#8. Monitor Outcomes and Key Results

Monitoring outcomes and key results is an effective way to assess your product’s development progress by measuring how well it meets the roadmap’s objectives. 

For example, if one of your goals was “we want to build and release the MVP within six months," then you would use this metric as part of your outcome monitoring process.

#9. Make the Roadmap Accessible to Other Relevant Teams and Stakeholders

You can make the roadmap accessible to relevant teams and stakeholders by using a tool like Kanban. Kanban is a visual tool that allows you to create different stages for your product. You can then add tasks into each stage as relevant teams complete them so everyone knows what's being worked on at any given time.

This transparency is essential to ensure everyone is aligned with the project's objectives. If not, this can lead to failures. For example, Ansaro, an HR-related SaaS, failed after two years. According to one of the co-founders of the SaaS product, lack of transparency and expertise were at the core of failure.

The responsibility of the product roadmap was on the co-founder. And when the core product idea turned out to be wrong, it took several months for others to question it due to a lack of transparency.

#10. Update the Roadmap Regularly

The roadmap is a dynamic document that should be updated regularly. It's important to ensure the roadmap is up-to-date with current priorities, goals, and setbacks, so you can make decisions quickly when needed.

If you're working on multiple products simultaneously, consider creating separate roadmaps for each one. This helps keep things organized and makes it easier for people who aren't involved in both projects.

8 Things to Include in a SaaS Product Roadmap

A well-structured roadmap helps SaaS product team members align their priorities. But for the team to understand the roadmap’s priorities and the product’s vision, the SaaS product roadmap should be as detailed and clear as possible. 

This does not mean you should make the roadmap overly complex by adding every detail possible. Instead, try to add relevant details in a precise manner by including the right elements in your roadmap and visualizing them. 

Here are eight things to include in a SaaS product roadmap:

  1. List of prioritized features to add to the SaaS app
  2. Timeline
  3. Milestones
  4. Business goals of the SaaS production process
  5. Competitive analysis
  6. Progress tracking system
  7. Risks and assumptions
  8. Informative descriptions of each phase

8 Types of SaaS Product Roadmaps

Roadmaps are a key component of successful SaaS companies. However, not all roadmaps are created equal. In fact, there are different types of roadmaps used for different purposes.

Let's explore the eight types of SaaS product roadmaps that relevant teams involved in the development process can use:

#1. Technology Roadmap

A technology roadmap shows the evolution of a product's technical architecture. It can include technology stack details along with timeframes. 

This is usually meant for web development teams.

You can also include a scope for identifying emerging technologies and potential market opportunities. For example, you can include timeframes for analyzing tech trends and the most useful technologies for your specific use case.

#2. Feature-Based Roadmap

A SaaS feature-based roadmap shows feature prioritization. A good feature roadmap will also show how the product should evolve, what's being prioritized, and why. 

This can help track each feature's development and the resources required.

In addition, the feature-based roadmap should also show the relationship between different features as well as the company's overall strategy. This helps avoid redundant work by reducing the chances of building similar or overlapping features.

#3. Goal-Oriented and Theme-Based Roadmaps

These are roadmaps that focus on themes and goals. They are ideal for teams who are looking to communicate their product strategy in a way that's easy to understand. 

A goal-oriented roadmap focuses on the key objectives you want to achieve over time and then breaks those down into smaller, more digestible chunks.

For example:

  • We want to increase our monthly recurring revenue (MRR).
  • By 2024, we'll have 1 million active users across our SaaS platform, and they'll be spending $30 per month each on our service!

#4. Now-Next-Later Roadmap

The Now-Next-Later roadmap is a framework that helps you understand your product's current state and what it needs to succeed in the market. 

You can then prioritize the product feature based on how ready they are, how important they are to customers, and the risk involved in delivering them.

You can think of this roadmap as a goal-oriented roadmap but with prioritization. The Now-Next-Later roadmap consists of three columns:

  • Now: This column includes tasks and goals your project team must try to achieve within the next few days.
  • Next: The Next column involves tasks and goals for the next few weeks.
  • Later: The last column of this roadmap includes long-term tasks and goals that should be completed over the next few months.

#5. Strategy Roadmap

This type of roadmap is more strategic. It focuses on the company's strategic goals and shows how the product aligns with them. 

The strategy roadmap should be flexible enough to allow for changes in strategy, but it should also show how the business can maintain its goals in light of those changes.

This type of roadmap is helpful because it helps you decide where your product needs to go next based on what's essential for your company.

#6. Portfolio Roadmap

A portfolio roadmap is a high-level view of the company's product portfolio. 

It helps to define and communicate multiple product strategies while also serving as an internal communication tool to share this information with stakeholders.

For example, portfolio roadmaps can be a valuable tool for the sales team in a SaaS company. The sales team can use it as a source of information when interacting with potential customers. 

By understanding the customer's needs and goals, the sales team can tailor their pitch and suggest the most relevant products to the customer.

#7. Market Roadmap

A SaaS market roadmap is a strategic plan that outlines the steps a company will take to develop, launch, and scale its SaaS product in the market. 

It includes a detailed analysis of:

  • Market and competition
  • Identification of target customers
  • Definition of the value proposition
  • Development and launch of the product
  • Ongoing growth and expansion strategies.

#8. Release Roadmap

A SaaS product release roadmap is a high-level view of the product's releases. It outlines the timeline for the launch of the SaaS product. The roadmap is further divided into releasing new features, updates, and improvements to the SaaS product.

This roadmap typically includes details about the features that will be released, the timeline for each release, and any dependencies or prerequisites your team should address before the release can occur.

You must update the release roadmap regularly as new information becomes available or changes occur in an agile environment.

Internal SaaS Roadmaps Vs. External SaaS Roadmap

Both internal and external SaaS roadmaps are important for SaaS companies but serve different purposes.

Internal roadmaps help ensure the development team focuses on building the right features and capabilities into its product. 

External roadmaps, on the other hand, help build customer trust by providing transparency into the company's plans.

For example, let’s say a software company is developing a new SaaS-based project management tool. Internal roadmaps for developers and marketers can have information like what features will go inside the tool, when will they be released, and how and when your marketing team will create a marketing strategy for the tool.

On the other hand, an external roadmap will have information like future plans for the SaaS app, subscription model planning, etc.

Here's how internal and external SaaS roadmaps differ based on who uses them:

Internal SaaS Roadmaps

Companies use internal SaaS roadmaps to guide their internal product development efforts.

Some examples of internal SaaS roadmaps include:

  • Roadmaps for Developers: This roadmap is task-oriented and includes information such as timeframes, feature prioritization list, technology stack, and all other technical information.
  • Roadmaps for C-Suite Executives: This roadmap is objective-oriented. It includes analytical information, long-term project goals, ongoing efforts to achieve long-term goals, and other useful information for C-suite executives.
  • Roadmaps for Marketers: This roadmap is purely for informing the marketing and sales team about the product, what pain points it will solve, what is the target audience, etc. This information is valuable for developing a robust marketing strategy for the marketing team.

External SaaS Roadmaps

An external SaaS roadmap is a public-facing document that a company shares with its customers and investors.

It provides a high-level overview of the company's vision, highlights major upcoming product releases, and outlines the key features and enhancements customers can expect to see in future product updates.

External SaaS roadmaps are also useful as a marketing tool. You can use them to generate traction around your SaaS product and give customers a sense of the company's direction.

5 Tips to Maintain Your SaaS Product Roadmap

Creating a SaaS product roadmap is just the start of the process. As we already mentioned, you need to maintain and regularly update your SaaS product roadmap once it’s ready. 

Here are some tips to simplify SaaS product roadmap maintenance:

  • Keep it Simple: Your SaaS product roadmap should be easy to understand and communicate to different audiences, such as your team, investors, or executives. As such, you should avoid using complex language or jargon.
  • Make it Flexible: Make your SaaS product roadmap flexible and adaptable to changing market conditions, resources, and customer needs. The more flexible it is, the easier it will be to adapt to changes.
  • Communicate Regularly: Ensure you communicate with your team so that everyone’s on the same page regarding the roadmap and is working towards achieving the same goals.
  • Keep an Eye on Industry Trends: Keep an eye on industry trends and emerging technologies that may impact your product roadmap. This will help you stay ahead of the curve and ensure your product remains competitive.
  • Adapt for Different Audiences: Your team might need a more detailed roadmap with timelines and technical specifications, while investors might be more interested in high-level goals and metrics. So keep your roadmap adaptable for different audiences.

7 SaaS Product Roadmap Templates to Use

Here are some SaaS product roadmap templates that you can use to plan and communicate your product development roadmap:

  • Product Roadmap: This template outlines the product's overall strategy and the goals the team wants to achieve. You can think of it as the base roadmap that includes details for everything from features to timelines to resources needed.
  • Product Development Roadmap: This roadmap focuses on the product's development phase and outlines the specific tasks the development team needs to complete for each feature. It may include development milestones, testing phases, and release dates.
  • UX/UI Roadmap: This template outlines the user experience and user interface design goals for the product. It may include wireframes, mockups, prototypes, usability testing, and iteration cycles.
  • Quarterly Release Plan Roadmap: This roadmap outlines the planned releases for the product over a specific quarter. It may include feature updates, bug fixes, and any other changes to the product.
  • Marketing Strategy Roadmap: This template outlines the marketing goals and strategies for the product. It may include target customer segments, promotional campaigns, and metrics for measuring success.
  • Epic Roadmap: This template tracks the progress of large, cross-functional projects, also known as "epics." It may include multiple phases, dependencies, and timelines.
  • Swimlane Roadmap Template: This template divides the product development process into different swimlanes, each representing a specific team or functional area. This template helps highlight dependencies and potential bottlenecks in the development process.


Building a comprehensive SaaS product roadmap is essential for your business’s success.

By following the ten steps outlined in this guide and incorporating the tips and examples provided, you can create a roadmap that sets you on the path toward achieving your business objectives.

Make IT Simple is a web development company with an extensive experience in SaaS product development. Our experts can help you not only navigate the process of creating a roadmap but also with the next steps of the SaaS development process: web design and bespoke SaaS software development.

Contact our team today to learn how we can assist you in building a roadmap that drives your business forward.

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