Developing a successful IoT product can be complex and challenging – even for experts.
So having a workable plan helps ensure your own team and all other stakeholders are on board for as smooth a ride as possible.
Tech giants like Amazon, Dell and Microsoft use roadmaps to accelerate their product development in the right direction and there’s even a lunar exploration roadmap to help NASA transition from the moon to other bodies in the solar system.
But as Leonardo Da Vinci said, ‘simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’, so this blog will help you:
- Create a high-level (strategic) roadmap.
- Drill down to fine details with decision frameworks and story roadmaps.
- Use roadmaps to tap into the collective intelligence of your business, capitalize on hidden value and move in exciting new directions.
Ready to build with a purpose? Let’s go.
Creating a high-level (strategic) roadmap
As a first step, write out your product strategy and goals clearly – put simply, what kind of IoT product are you creating, who are you creating it for, why are you creating it and what kind of sales goals do you want to score?
Next, you might want to sketch out a high-level (strategic) IoT product roadmap. This is a bird’s eye view that represents a (roughly) chronological or sequential order of different IoT product development stages – it allows you to start synchronizing timelines and aligning different teams and stakeholders:
Infographic by Intuz, Complete Guide for IoT Product Development Stages
Now you can work through each stage to consider which resources (human and tech) are needed to fulfill each stage of the process:
Requirements & functionality
In simple terms, you need to define what your customer wants/needs and which device features and functions fulfill those requirements. What does your project need in terms of ecosystem, format, hardware, and software? And crucially, does your product meet mandatory cybersecurity standards?
Now you know what you need, you can figure out who is responsible for what – which aspects are your IoT product team responsible for, where do your sales and marketing teams fit in, and which areas need to be outsourced?
Proof of concept & Piloting
At this stage, you’re providing a crystal-clear conceptualization of your IoT product (and all associated systems & software) to get buy-in from key decision-makers like your CEO and CFO.
Now, you’re coordinating manufacturing and shipping partners to get your first batch of new devices ready for show floors, websites, and customers. You need to confirm that they can get those units moving after your launch date.
Before you go to market, you’re testing that your product actually delivers the experience or solves the problem it’s designed for – from a user’s perspective. You’ll iron out any creases to produce a highly functional prototype.
At this stage, every technical team and technological component comes together to execute the final prototype – with all the IoT features, functions and systems architecture consumers can expect from the end product they pay for.
Here, you’re passing the baton to your manufacturing department or partner – keeping an eagle eye on quality and documentation control, production planning and maintaining stringent cybersecurity standards throughout.
You want to analyze and monitor the data your IoT product generates in a sophisticated and specific way so that you can constantly improve with subsequent versions. Security and privacy are also vital considerations for lifecycle management – you need a holistic IoT cybersecurity solution with endpoint device protection. This reassures users and reinforces your reputation.
Drilling down – decision frameworks & story roadmaps
Now you’ve got a rough and ready roadmap of where you’re going – which is a great start. But before you build anything, it’s important to work through a basic decision-making framework in order to match vital decision areas with each component of the IoT technology stack.
Then, you can create a story roadmap that further clarifies project roles, responsibilities and timelines for each team and stakeholder.
IoT decision framework
Your IoT decision framework saves time and money by helping you discover gaps, troubleshoot, and make more informed decisions before you get down to serious design and development. Here’s a simple version:
Infographic by DanielElizalde, A Simple IoT Framework for Product Managers
Once you’ve got a robust solution for all of the intersection points above, you can feel confident about forging ahead with your new IoT device – but a story roadmap can keep key stakeholders engaged at vital points of the process (more of which next).
IoT product story roadmap
Your strategic roadmap and IoT decision framework are complete. So you know what problem your IoT product is solving and for whom, you’ve matched key decision areas with your IoT tech stack and decided which internal and external teams are responsible for input at various stages.
But it can still be difficult for IoT product, marketing, engineering, and sales teams to understand how they’ll work together to achieve a particular functionality in the finished product. For instance, you might be a car manufacturer who wants to use sensors and predictive analytics to preempt faults and enhance customer service.
To allow all stakeholders to understand the big picture and their part in it, you can story map your IoT tech stack with the features of your final product, like this:
Infographic by DanielElizalde.com, How to Build an IoT Product Roadmap
You can use the same type of story map for any IoT product in any market. It pulls information from both of your previous maps and presents it in a visual format and language that every stakeholder understands – allowing every team to swiftly understand the big picture and move forward together.
How your IoT product roadmap helps your business meet challenges
Once you start using your simple IoT product roadmap, you’ll soon see it benefitting your business in lots of ways – some of which will be pleasantly surprising. Roadmaps allow you to:
Enhance UX for customers
By nailing down what your customers want and how you’re going to deliver it – and involving every team in the process as early as possible – you’ll develop rich customer experience insights, deepen customer satisfaction, and build brand loyalty.
Unlock business opportunities
When IoT product roadmaps are accessible to all teams and stakeholders, they become a breeding ground for brilliant ideas that shape the future direction of your business in diverse and dynamic ways – establishing a common language which allows you to easily tap into your collective intelligence is the groundwork for genius.
Make data capture more precise
By clearly defining KPIs and the parameters of data monitoring, you can capture only the most relevant data and generate actionable insights.
Solve the IoT riddle
Developing an IoT product can feel like untangling a Gordian knot. But a good IoT roadmap separates each strand so that key stakeholders have a clear picture of the optimal software, hardware, communication, cloud platform and cybersecurity solution – allowing you to rapidly work towards a common goal in a sensible, step-by-step way.
So now you’ve got simple templates for a strategic IoT product roadmap, decision-making framework, and story roadmap, it should be much easier to drive all your teams and tech towards a lucrative destination.
As a simple way of visualizing complex processes and clarifying roles and goals, an IoT product roadmap is pretty hard to beat. And because it engenders new ways of working, it also unlocks reserves of intelligence and creativity which would have otherwise remained untapped.
Here’s hoping your maps help you discover untold IoT treasures!
Want to know where cybersecurity fits in your IoT Product roadmap? Let’s talk!