A product roadmap is an overview of what the company plans on producing and introducing in the future. To push through with this, you need to present it to the higher-ups first.
As such, it’s essential to prepare well for an executive-level product roadmap presentation. To get the bosses on board, it will help to follow these seven tips:
1. Get in the SOAPBOX
As a product manager, you don’t want to miss anything in your executive-level roadmap presentation. Make sure that all the bases covered by following the SOAPBOX strategy:
- Subject – what is the topic of your roadmap?
- Occasion or the context – when or where will it occur?
- Audience – who will be there, apart from the executives?
- Purpose – what are your goals? For example, informing the stakeholders or asking for feedback
- Before – what do you need to do to make the presentation seamless
- Objection handling – what concerns or protests can you expect?
- eXecute – how can you create an engaging roadmap presentation?
2. Mastery is Key
Being the product manager doesn’t automatically make you a roadmap expert. So if you want to convince the executives to get on board your plan, you need to master the presentation like it’s the back of your hand.
To do this, you need to:
- Master the subject – the product and its market, as well as its consumers
- Get ready with relevant data such as feature requests or client feedback
- Create a list of possible solutions that appeal to both sides
3. Study the Circumstances of Your Presentation
A well-prepared roadmap is nothing if you’re oblivious to the circumstances of your presentation. Case in point: you prepared an hour-long pitch when you only have 20 minutes to present.
To avoid any issues that can lead to a failed presentation, you need to research the following:
- The required format/s – Just a presentation, or do you need to distribute handouts?
- Date and time of your presentation, plus any events/meetings that come before or after it
- The agenda of the meeting (if the presentation is included in one) and where you place in this meeting
- The set-up – will you be standing, sitting, on a stage?
- ‘Privacy’ of the meeting – will it be recorded and streamed?
4. Target Your Audience
Roadmaps are not ‘one size fits all’ presentations. Since you’re meeting with executives, you need to design your presentation according to their interests.
For example, you can forego the technical aspects of the new smartphone because they’re just ‘nice to know’ facts for executives. If you’re meeting with the engineering department, however, then you need to showcase all these.
Higher-ups are more interested in how much the company needs to spend – and if it’s actually worth the investment. As such, your pitch should tie with the business goals. You have better chances of having a buy-in by presenting your roadmap this way.
5. Be One Step Ahead
Even if you have a solid, well-designed roadmap, you won’t be immune to any questions or objections. You have to nip it in the bud by preparing for this pushback in advance.
That means arming yourself with all the documents or materials that support your claim/proposal.
By anticipating these objections, you don’t have to second-guess any answer you give. You will sound more confident (even if you already are), which is vital if you’re looking to get approval.
6. Create an Engaging Roadmap Presentation
Apart from mastering your roadmap, you need to present it engagingly and compellingly. You don’t want the executives to get bored – or worse, confused – with your slides. You can try professionally designed Roadmap PPT templates, this will not only save your time and efforts but also help you create an impressive presentation.
As always, good presentation design is critical. To achieve this, you need to:
- Focus on a theme. This design is the best way to keep yourself on track – and promote stakeholder buy-in. It shows top-down planning with its three main components: the theme, the epics/smaller tasks, and the stories.
- Use color. This can help the viewers differentiate the themes and objectives in your roadmap. You can also use color to denote certainty – from low to high.
- Keep it slim. You don’t want to bombard your audience with unnecessary information. Just include the essential facts. Keep the rest in your script or presentation notes.
7. Be a Master Storyteller – Not a Slide Reader
Figures and statistics are important, but stories are more compelling.
When you tell a story, executives are more likely to listen.
It’s good to keep it conversational, just like you’re out with friends. That said, you still need to keep a respectful tone.
More importantly, fight the urge to read from your slides. The executives will feel like you haven’t mastered the roadmap at all. They’ll tend to have more questions (and doubts), which can reduce your roadmap’s chances of being approved.
Presenting a roadmap to executives can be daunting. To earn their approval – and remain the superstar product manager you are – always keep these seven presentation tips in mind.