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How tech startups are helping manufacturers manage their product roadmaps

In the last fifty years, products have undergone dramatic changes in how they are made. The automotive industry is a prime example of this rapid evolution.

Today, vehicles are equipped with Wifi, fuel-efficiency detectors and artificial intelligence. These capabilities were only possible 50 years ago when they were only seen in cartoons.

Every manufacturing sector, including heavy machinery, medical equipment, food production, and electronics, has seen these capabilities increase in complexity. Every year, innovation drives the creation of countless new products.

These products have the potential to make our lives easier and more enjoyable. The way that we produce goods and products has changed.

Modern manufacturing involves not only human labor, but also robotics and AI. Companies have to manage more departments and components than ever before.

Manufacturers need more tools to improve their work. While new products are constantly improving our lives, they also need more tools.

This is what tech startups are doing: helping manufacturers innovating to improve their agility, particularly when it comes to managing product roadmaps.

The Evolution of Product Roadmaps

The product roadmap is similar to any other roadmap. It guides companies in creating products that are compatible with their goals.

The product roadmap acts as a guide for all employees in the company’s product development sphere. It helps them to stay focused on long-term goals and avoids distractions.

Along with the growth of global manufacturing, product roadmaps saw a rise in use. Manufacturing became more complex and required better management and oversight.

Computers have made it possible for product managers to better manage product development and analyze data. The process of creating and managing product plans has changed over time, just like production.

The industry is moving away from pencil and paper, to spreadsheets and word files to manage product roadmaps.

Gantt Chart

A Gantt chart is something you have probably seen if you’ve ever been involved in a project, or managed one. Gantt charts have been used since the early 1900s to manage timelines and schedules.

Gantt charts are used by many project managers to display timelines, deadlines and budget constraints.

Gantt charts can be useful in many situations, but they become less effective when the timelines span multiple years or cover large product portfolios.

Gantt Charts and Word Documents: What are the Limitations? Spreadsheets

Gantt charts and documents were more common in the early days of product manufacturing. These tools could have been used to manage product development, planning, and creation.

Today, however, it is necessary to have more powerful tools in order to accomplish the task.

Many companies can now adjust Gantt charts, share documents such as spreadsheet reports and planning documents with ease thanks to computer programs.

These tools are still not sufficient for large-scale global businesses.

Manufacturers’ Needs

Global manufacturers require tools that give them complete control over every stage of product creation.

Tools that allow their teams to communicate effectively in real time and share up-to-date information on everything, from market share to budget constraints to customer values, to budget restraints, to market share are essential.

Gantt charts, and other basic tools, are not able to scale these capabilities.  They are also inefficient and create more headaches than any other tool.

Startups in tech saw the potential for better tools that would meet the needs and improve product development.

Tech Startups and Roadmap Software

The roadmap’s basic purpose is to outline the product’s path from idea to production, product testing, design, and production. The basic process applies whether a company manufactures a vehicle or designs software.

It was necessary to find a better way of creating and sharing these roadmaps with all stakeholders. Gocious and other tech startups saw the need for software that could be used to manufacture.

Initial improvements in roadmapping coincided closely with an increase of tech startups. Software developers were creating new products and creating new systems to manage them.

These systems, even with improvements in roadmapping software were still tailored to the digital world.

They had shorter deployment times and required fewer components. The manufacturing industry continued to use inefficient roadmapping software.

Manufacturers Need More than Just Timelines

To effectively manage product portfolios, the manufacturing sector needs more than timeline management. Product teams and manufacturers need to be able to analyze and monitor any roadmap within their portfolio.

Manufacturers could revolutionize the way they manage their products by using one software that provides a single source of truth for all parties involved in the production process.

To better manage their roadmaps and communicate with stakeholders, key metrics tracking, component comparison, feature scorescards and competitive analysis, manufacturers also require specific features.

Software designed for manufacturers can dramatically reduce the amount of time and energy product teams spend on data tracking, communication, and analysis.

A solid roadmap aligns with company goals and allows product managers to make informed decisions based on evidence, data and market analysis.

Product Roadmap Management Software (PRM)

It is one thing to create product roadmaps, but managing them effectively is quite another.

Gocious is a startup tech company that has recognized the importance of product roadmap management software to simplify the product development process.

Companies can make better decisions when they have the tools to clearly see their product portfolio, both by component and at a high enough level to compare market share.