In my last article I mentioned that my next article would be about roadmap prioritization techniques.

However, in the beginning of 2016 I wrote about how OKRs were substituting roadmaps at Locaweb. At that time, my understanding was that eventually roadmaps won’t be needed anymore and OKRs would replace roadmaps.

If this understanding is correct, why my last article was about roadmaps? Are roadmaps still useful? Or are roadmaps in extinction, being completely replaced by OKRs?

In August 2016, after 11 years leading product development and management at Locaweb, I decided to move to ContaAzul, a SaaS ERP startup at Joinville, a city in the south of Brazil, to help them scale their product development team. When I arrived at ContaAzul, I noticed that they also used OKRs for the entire company, including the product development team. However, besides using OKR they also use roadmaps and and it didn’t seem it was possible to stop using roadmaps and manage all product development efforts only using OKRs. That made me ponder if OKR can really substitute roadmaps or if there are circumstances where both tools can be used together. And if the latter is true, what are those circumstances.

When discussing this topic with people from the software industry it became clear to me that the use of roadmap or OKR depends on the stage of the product in its lifecycle. I discussed about the 4 stages of a product lifecycle in this article.

As described in that article, the software product lifecycle has 4 stages:

For this reason it is clear that OKRs substitute Roadmaps in all stages of the product lifecycle except for the Growth stage where Roadmaps are very helpful to understand where your product is heading, i.e., to understand the future of your product. In the Growth stage we should use Roadmaps and OKRs in conjunction to manage the product development.

Does this mean that roadmaps are used only during a short period of time?

No. Since the Growth stage is the longest phase of a product, normally lasting years, roadmaps will be used during a good period of your product lifecycle and it is very important to understand what is a product roadmap and how to build it.

Lean Product Secrets

The Lean Product Secrets brings together the hands-on experience of three successful digital products enthusiastic. Get to know theirs secrets for idealizing and evolving products, and their combined experience on Design Thinking, Lean StartUp, and Product Lifecycle Management.

The thing is, two of these E-Books are in the way to their printed edition, so they won’t stay available as E-Books on LeanPub for much longer. For this reason we decided to create a special bundle price to let you keep a copy of these E-Books.

We will keep updating the E-Books until they are officially released. This way you will have early access to their official first edition releases:


Digital product development advisor, mentor, board member. And open water swimmer!