Outcome-Based Roadmap: Step-By-Step Guide on Creating One (+Best Practices)

Outcome-Based Roadmap: Step-By-Step Guide on Creating One (+Best Practices) cover

What is an outcome-based roadmap? How is it different from a feature-drive roadmap? What are its advantages?

These are a few questions this article explores. More importantly, we give product managers a step-by-step guide on how to create outcome-based roadmaps and share the best outcome-based roadmapping practices.


  • An outcome-based roadmap is a tactical product development plan. Unlike feature-driven roadmaps, it’s organized around outcomes or positive changes you want to bring to your customers’s lives and your business.
  • The main advantage of such roadmaps is that they prioritize solving customer problems and delivering genuine value, not shipping features. This gives teams the freedom to look for innovative solutions.
  • Companies should switch to outcome-based roadmaps if they’re failing to make a true impact or are still looking for their PMF.
  • The process of creating an outcome-based roadmap starts by defining the product vision, developing the product strategy, and crystalizing the business objectives. These are all high-level goals.
  • Next, you break them down into specific outcomes, measurable and time-bound. For example, “improve user retention by 10% in 3 months.”
  • To choose meaningful outcomes, use surveys and product analytics for customer research.
  • Prioritize the outcomes based on their impact using a framework that reflects your business needs and values. Only then start looking for solutions.
  • When adding new outcomes to the roadmap, pay attention to their interdependencies. Identify milestones, allocate adequate resources, and set realistic time goals.
  • To improve alignment, share the roadmap with key stakeholders. Inviting other teams to collaborate on the roadmap increases collaboration and ownership.
  • Make sure to review and amend the roadmap to reflect changes in product strategy.
  • Want to make better-informed roadmap decisions? Book the demo to see how Userpilot analytics and feedback features can help!

What are outcome-based roadmaps?

An outcome-based roadmap, or outcome-driven roadmap, is a visual plan of customer and business outcomes that the product team is hoping to achieve.

The roadmap is informed by product vision and strategy and offers cross-functional teams guidance on what product initiatives they should prioritize in their pursuit of long-term high-level product and business goals.

Outcome-based roadmap vs. feature-driven roadmap

Outcome-based roadmaps and feature-driven roadmaps are two very different approaches to planning the product development process.

In the traditional feature-based roadmaps, the plan focuses on delivering specific features, normally requested by the customers or senior stakeholders. These features are often referred to as outputs.

As the name suggests, outcome-based roadmaps are organized not around outputs but outcomes.

What’s the difference?

In short, outcomes are customer problems while outputs are the solutions. So we could say, that outcome-based roadmaps focus on the problems to solve and not solutions.

What are the benefits of creating outcome-based roadmaps?

While the difference between the two roadmaps may seem purely technical, it has significant practical implications.

First, outcome-based roadmaps allow organizations to escape the feature factory mindset and promote a customer-centric approach.

By focusing on customer problems, an outcome-based roadmap improves the alignment of the product with what customers genuinely need. The focus shifts from delivering features to delivering true value.

It isn’t just value for customers but also the organization. Outcome-focused roadmaps ensure that all product initiatives are linked to specific organizational goals. This increases their impact and contributes to the overall business success.

What’s more, outcome-driven roadmaps foster accountability and ownership within teams. That’s because their work isn’t done until they bring positive change, not when they ship a feature.

This leads us to another benefit:

Concentrating on problems to solve rather than specific features increases flexibility and promotes innovation.

When product teams aren’t restricted by feature specifications, they can look for new creative ways to address customer pain points, needs, and desires. This is what gives businesses the edge over competitors.

Dave Martin’s talk on outcome-based roadmaps.

When to develop outcome-based roadmaps in the product management process?

The outcome-driven approach is a particularly good idea when:

  • Setting the strategic direction at the beginning of the product management process – to ensure the alignment between product and business goals and to define what success looks like.
  • Entering new markets so that you can focus on achieving main goals while remaining flexible on the strategies to reach them.
  • Operating in highly volatile and uncertain markets so that your product remains relevant and you take advantage of emerging opportunities while staying true to the overall product vision.
  • The product is failing and you need to pivot to improve the product-market fit.

How to create an outcome-based product roadmap?

Having read about the advantages of outcome-based roadmaps, you may be seriously considering building one for your product. Here are the key steps.

Step 1: Define your product vision, product strategy, and business objectives

Step 1 is all about setting the strategic direction.

This starts with the product vision. That’s where you want your product to be in 5, 10, or 15 years. A good vision statement is inspirational and aspirational. It outlines an ambitious long-term goal but lacks details on how to achieve it.

That’s what the product strategy provides.

Product strategy acts as a bridge between the vision and the tactical plan communicated in the roadmap. If product vision is about the ‘why’, the strategy is about ‘what’ to do and ‘how’ to do it.

Finally, don’t forget about business goals. This could be increasing revenue or market share.

Product Vision underpins the outcome-based roadmap
Product vision underpins the outcome-based roadmap.

Step 2: Translate business goals into measurable outcomes

Having established your high-level goals, it’s time to break them down into specific outcomes for your roadmap. We can look at the outcomes as stepping stones that will help you achieve the big goals.

For example, you can increase market share by improving customer acquisition and increasing customer retention.

So your outcomes could be “increase customer acquisition by 3% by Q1 2023” or “improve retention to 97% by the end of 2024.”

Step 3: Conduct research to achieve desired outcomes

Customer research is crucial for achieving desired outcomes.

What tools can product managers leverage to collect customer insights?

Let’s look at two main ones: surveys and product analytics.

Collect customer feedback through surveys

In-app and email surveys allow product teams to gather quantitative and qualitative insights from their customers at scale.

For example, you could send regular surveys to track customer satisfaction levels or trigger them contextually to evaluate the success of specific features. By following them up with open-ended questions, you identify opportunities to improve the product.

You can also use a feedback widget to collect feature requests from customers.

Wait! What? Feature requests? Isn’t it meant to be about outcomes, not features?

Sure is! However, customer requests can be a source of invaluable insights into customer pain points and needs. The fact that you’re collecting feature requests doesn’t mean you’re going to build the feature. Instead, you can find new innovative solutions to the problems that the requested features would solve!

In-app survey in Userpilot.

Monitor in-app user behavior to spot improvements

Customer feedback isn’t always objective. That’s because users don’t always know how to express their ideas. Or worse, they don’t bother to respond to the surveys, which can bias the results.

Neither of these is an issue when tracking in-app behavior with product analytics.

How exactly can it inform your product roadmap?

Imagine you’re trying to improve customer retention.

You can run the retention analysis to determine when and which users churn. Next, you can run funnel analysis to determine where in the customer journey this happens.

Finally, you can analyze the paths that both the successful and unsuccessful users take before and after the conversions to identify the happy paths for different segments, while session recording and heatmaps can help you optimize the key conversion touchpoints.

Funnel analysis in Userpilot.

Step 4: Identify and prioritize the specific features to be built

The research should reveal a whole host of user pain points, needs, and preferences that you could tackle.

The problem is, you can’t deal with all of them – there’s never enough time and resources for it and many of these won’t be in line with your product vision anyway.

That’s why it’s essential to prioritize the outcomes.

Mind you, it’s outcomes, not features. That’s because there could be different ways to solve a problem, and you’re team can figure out the best one as they iterate. What’s important is that they’re solving the right issues – the ones that will make the biggest difference.

How to prioritize them effectively?

Use a prioritization framework that reflects your organizational goals or culture best. Popular frameworks include RICE, ICE, Value vs. Effort, and Cost of Delay. You can also create your scoring matrix based on bespoke criteria.

Only once your outcomes are prioritized, start ideating solutions.

RICE prioritization framework
RICE prioritization framework.

Step 5: Develop the outcome-driven roadmap

Having identified the key problems to solve and generated ideas for solutions, it’s time to add them to the roadmap.

This involves:

  • Identifying dependencies between different initiatives or features
  • Defining milestones, estimating timelines, and setting deadlines
  • Allocating resources to each initiative

You can create a basic roadmap in a spreadsheet or a collaboration tool like Miro. However, it might be worth investing in a dedicated roadmapping solution like RoadMunk, as they come with more customization, collaboration, and resource management features.

A product roadmap
A product roadmap.

Step 6: Share the roadmap with stakeholders and continuously review it

The final step is sharing the roadmap with the key stakeholders. This is important to keep everybody on the same page. It also improves collaboration between teams and ensures they’re all working towards the same objectives.

It may also be a good idea to share a more general version of the roadmap with your customers. Such a customer-facing roadmap can help attract prospective customers and keep existing ones updated on what you’re working on to make the product better for them.

Your outcomes aren’t set in stone. As the market demands and customer needs shift, so will your product strategy and this should be reflected in the roadmap. As the PM, make sure to review and amend it accordingly.

Best practices for developing effective outcome-based roadmaps

Let’s wrap up with a few best practices for making the roadmapping process more effective.

Focus on outcomes with the highest impact

We’ve already mentioned the prioritization process above but this cannot be stressed enough.

Focus on delivering the most valuable outcomes – the ones that deliver the biggest impact for customers and your SaaS.

This will help you avoid stretching your resources too thin by chasing too many tails.

Set measurable metrics when defining the outcomes

When setting goals, make sure they’re measurable and timebound.

For each outcome, there needs to be a corresponding metric you can track. If you can’t measure progress, how will you know you’ve achieved it?

An example of a measurable outcome is: “reduce the churn rate by 10% in 9 months” rather than “reduce churn.”

Set realistic deadlines for achieving the desired outcome

Talking of time, avoid setting overly ambitious deadlines for your outcomes.

While a bit of pressure can motivate the team, unrealistic deadlines can be very demoralizing. Failure to estimate accurately again and again will undermine your authority – in the eyes of the team, senior stakeholders, and customers.

It’s best to avoid making too specific promises. Instead of January 2024, make it Q1 2024. This allows you a bit of wiggle room in case things don’t go to plan or your priorities shift.

Collaborate with other teams when creating outcome-based product roadmaps

One way to make estimates more accurate is by inviting other departments to collaborate on the roadmap. The developers will know better than everybody else how long it takes to build a feature.

Collaboration with other teams has other advantages as well.

It allows you to tap into their unique experience and see the product development process from their perspective. For example, the customer success team may be aware of customer problems that others don’t know.

It also improves alignment and promotes ownership.


An outcome-based roadmap is an alternative to the traditional feature-driven roadmaps. It’s particularly useful for organizations that are still looking for product-market fit or are pivoting to reclaim it.

If you want to see how Userpilot can help you inform your product roadmap, book the demo!

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