We’ve recently written about some of the major benefits of using roadmaps for your product development. While they do take some additional time to create and maintain, they are a great platform for communicating with your customers.
However, creating product roadmaps on your own requires quite a bit of work on the development side. For this reason, many product teams decide to use dedicated roadmapping software instead of building something from scratch.
Here are the best product roadmapping tools for creating public roadmaps. But before that…
Why you should have a public roadmap in the first place
You may be thinking that public roadmaps are nice to have but not something worth your time and effort. After all, building and maintaining one requires you to work on it all year round. Having said that, a public roadmap has certain advantages that cannot be denied. For example:
Transparency - you’re sharing your plans with your customer base instead of keeping them for yourself
Trust - your customers can trust you since you’re sharing what you’re about to do and even your competition can see it too
Open channel for feedback - with great roadmap tools such as FeedBear, customers can leave comments and vote on features in your roadmap, encouraging feedback
Setting expectations - both your existing and potential customers know what to expect in the upcoming months and years, encouraging them to either stay or sign up and wait out the new features
When it comes to the disadvantages, there is only one - your competitors can see your roadmap. While this can be a drawback, in reality, it’s not that much of an issue. Your product roadmap is based on your customers’ feedback and needs and not theirs and if they try to build similar features, they probably won’t “steal” any of your customers. They will just build features that their own customers don’t need.
What makes public roadmaps different
The fact that they are public, of course. This means that you share them with your entire customer base, as well as anyone else interested in becoming a customer, as opposed to sharing internally with your team.
This means several things.
First of all, you need an easy way to share the roadmap with the world. This means being able to generate a quick link to the roadmap or embed it within your own website.
Second, permissions. Your team should be able to create features and update them while visitors should not be able to make any edits. Otherwise, you’ll get a case of Wikipedia edits very quickly.
Third, specific options for visitors. To get the most out of your roadmap, your visitors should be able to leave comments and votes.
The rest of the considerations are pretty much the same for public and private roadmaps. The last one we want to mention is the ability for customers who interacted with your roadmap (comments, upvotes) to get notified immediately when a change happens with a certain feature request.
Once you know all of this, let’s get into the best tools for public roadmaps.
Creating a roadmap in FeedBear is as simple as a few quicks. Our app offers a turnkey solution for all businesses that want to collect feedback, manage and categorize it, turn it into a roadmap, and engage with their customers.
Once you collect feedback from your customers and organize it in a way that makes sense for you, you can create feature requests. On your feedback board, customers can vote for the features they find most useful and you can add those immediately to your public roadmap.
You can change the way the board looks for your customers to match your brand colors. The public roadmap can be shown on your own custom domain, such as this: www.roadmap.markuphero.com
Most of our customers link to the product roadmap from the footer of their SaaS product. However, you can share it anywhere you want - just give your customers (or the world) a simple link.
Once your public roadmap is live, both your team and your customers can interact with it. Customers can leave comments and have threaded discussions within the feature requests and leave upvotes for the ones they like best. Once a change happens in the request, everyone who participated (commented, upvoted), gets an email notification.
Overall, FeedBear offers a functional public roadmap that looks great and allows you to easily engage with your (potential) customers. Want to give it a try? Sign up for free today!
One of the best-known project management tools out there, Trello has stood the test of time in this competitive market. It’s good for many things, and one of those things is building a product roadmap. Simply create a Trello board and organize it the way you would organize a roadmap, it’s that easy.
The biggest convenience of Trello is the ease of use. If you’re already using it for project and product management, then creating a roadmap will be a matter of a few clicks.
That’s about it when it comes to the pros of this software for public roadmaps. The biggest issue it has is the fact that when a roadmap is public, everyone can tinker with all the elements on the roadmap. In other words, anyone can come in and change your feature requests to lyrics of Never Gonna Give you Up by Rick Astley.
If you can live with that and you trust your customers, good on you! There’s a free trial available and the paid plans start at $5 per user.
This feedback tool is well-known for its good overall package. Some of its features include collecting and analyzing feedback, sharing updates, and of course, creating roadmaps.
Canny allows you to create private and public roadmaps and prioritize them. You can create your own prioritization system based on a number of different factors, including customer votes and the impact the potential feature has on your overall product.
Once a new feature is on the roadmap, customers can vote and they’ll get updates each time it changes status. That way, you can notify everyone who requested it that you’re working on it or that it’s done and launched.
If you use tools such as Github or Jira, you can easily connect them with Canny to make sure all your product updates are communicated in real-time.
You can get Canny.io for $400 per month, which will give you 5 seats for "owners" or "managers". You also get unlimited contributors, boards and roadmaps. You can get a discount for startups but it won't move you too much fro the high starting price.
In summary, it’s an intuitive tool that looks great and offers all the bells and whistles but costs too much compared to the competition.
Unlike the previously mentioned FeedBear and Trello, this tool is made for roadmaps only. This means that you’re on your own while adding feature requests to a roadmap, as opposed to importing them from a feedback board or a project management board.
The good news is, you can create a roadmap fairly quickly. Even before you sign up, you’ll see a wide variety of roadmap templates to choose from. Once you register, you can just pick from a list of readily available templates (such as a marketing roadmap, for example) and you’re ready to go.
The first issue with Roadmunk is that you’re bound to do a lot of manual work, as you need to add feature requests yourself without an immediate integration. The second issue is a bit more severe.
While the roadmaps look good and they’re fairly easy to create, the public roadmaps aren’t ideal. Namely, customers can’t leave comments or upvotes or interact in any way with your public roadmap. It’s about as static as any other page you would put up on your website.
You can try it for free for 14 days or sign up for the cheapest plan for $19 per user per month. However, if you want the feature to collaborate with your team in a roadmap, that will set you back $49 per user per month.
So, Roadmunk does have good roadmapping software, but it’s not ideal for public roadmaps. If you need to use your roadmaps internally only, this is a good choice. Last but not least, it’s pretty pricey compared to the other contenders on this list.
Let’s preface this short write-up by saying that Aha! claims to be the world’s #1 product roadmap software, which is a pretty big promise to make. It has been around for a while and it’s gained quite a bit of an audience over the years.
When it comes to the roadmaps, this tool can be pretty complex if that is your main and only use. The learning curve can be quite steep as it was built for more experienced product teams rather than a one-man show running a SaaS product. Private or public roadmaps, you’ll have everything you need in one place.
Now here is the tricky part. You can just choose to use roadmaps on their own, if that’s all you need. Just pay for the Roadmaps part of Aha! You’ll have to manually add all your feedback and feature requests though.
Want to have a more streamlined operation and run a feedback board before you create a roadmap? You’ll have to sign up for Aha! Ideas, which is a separate product, and then connect that to Roadmaps.
The end result? Ideas will set you back $39 per user per month and Roadmaps $79 per user per month. That’s a minimum of $118 per user per month for a set of features that you most likely won’t end up using.
In short, it’s a great tool for advanced users who have a bigger budget. If you’re just looking to build a public roadmap, not a great choice.
One of the more popular options in the game, Productboard is a great solution for teams of all sizes looking to collect feedback and build roadmaps.
It all starts with the Insights board, where you collect feedback from your customers before adding anything to a roadmap. You can add all your feedback manually or pull it from a source such as Slack or one of the integrations that Productboard has.
Once that is done, feedback can be sorted into different feature requests. From that point on, it’s quite easy to create a product roadmap. Productboard makes it pretty easy to give access to different groups of users, so you can easily switch between private and public roadmaps.
Within the private roadmaps, you can decide to give access to your internal team, or only a certain group of customers rather than making a roadmap fully public.
You can start with Productboard for as little as $20 per maker per month. Here’s the thing though - that won’t be enough. If you want to use the feedback portal and the Insights board, you have to opt for the Pro plan at $50 per maker per month.
Couple that with the sometimes unnecessarily complex user interface, and this makes Productboard a great tool, but not for beginners and not for anyone looking for an easy-to-use public roadmapping tool.
Creating and maintaining a public roadmap can seem like a pretty tedious task. However, all it takes is great preparation (with a feedback board) and the right public roadmap functionalities. Want to get started with your public roadmap today? Sign up for FeedBear for free! We have all it takes to get your roadmap up and running within minutes - and your customers will love you for it.