11 Public Roadmap Examples for SaaS Companies
With these public roadmap examples, you’ll see just how easy it is to create a portal for users to submit feedback, see what features are coming up, and check what has already been launched.In this guide, we showcase several examples and how to build your own public roadmap.
Why do you need a public roadmap?
The SaaS industry continues to boom. The worldwide SaaS market industry is expected to grow from $145.5 billion USD in 2021 to $171.9 billion in 2022. 100 countries around the world host SaaS company headquarters, and there are 15,000 SaaS companies in the US alone.So while there’s plenty of market share to capture, there’s also tons of competition.
A public roadmap gives you the opportunity to…
Transparently share what you’re working on
Connect product managers and users directly
Retain customers waiting for a certain feature
Capture new customers looking for a certain feature
As you can see from the Reddit screenshot below, power users get frustrated when they can’t easily find your public roadmap online.
Not publishing your roadmap is a major missed opportunity.When you don’t have one, you show your users that you don’t care if they know what you’re working on, and they can only see what’s coming after it has launched.
Should your roadmap be completely public, or only viewable to users?
A public roadmap is typically available to the _entire public_—anyone on the internet, with no need to sign in. This is the right choice for most SaaS companies. You want prospective customers to be able to see your roadmap.However, if the idea of publishing what you’re working on makes you uncomfortable, you could choose to only make it available to users or paying customers. You can easily manage this with Frill, which offers SSO so only people with accounts can view your roadmap. Or, you can use Frill to set it to public.
11 public roadmap examples
Let’s take a look at some examples built with a variety of roadmap tools.Pay attention to the statuses that each company uses to help inspire your own roadmap. If you have a technical audience, you can use technical terms like “in development” and “shipped.” But if your audience isn’t technical, your roadmap would be better off with terms like “in progress” and “done.”
Frill is a simple tool for ideas, roadmaps, and announcements. We use the following statuses to categorize ideas: under consideration, in development, and shipped. We also add tags to customer ideas to make them easy to sort through for our product management team and our users.
Acadle, a white labelled learning management system for employee onboarding and training, uses their public roadmap to show ideas that are under consideration, planned, in progress, and live.
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Channex is an API that connects project management systems with OTAs like Booking.com and AirBnb. They use their public roadmap to show ideas and plans that affect all users, as opposed to individual connections and APIs they might be building.
Smartwriter helps sales development representatives to personalize outreach emails at scale. With their idea board, they make excellent use of Frill’s statuses and tags to make ideas easy to find and review.
Gorgias is a helpdesk platform for ecommerce. They add images only to customer ideas that have made it to the “planned” phase to make the public roadmap engaging.
Loom, a massively popular tool for screensharing videos, has three statuses in their public roadmap tool: coming soon, under consideration, and launched.
SocialBee, a social media scheduling software loved by agencies, uses Trello for their public roadmap. This is not recommended, because users can’t add task cards, and instead they have to use some other format for offering ideas. This is a bad user experience, and users might be confused about where to submit feature requests.
Even though there’s a task card explaining the process, that task card has tons of comments for feature requests. (Face palm.)
Similarly, Buffer uses Trello for their product roadmap. While the statuses are simple enough, the board is messy and overwhelming. Worse, despite their being a feature request form, users will still drop feature requests in task card comments.
Project management software ClickUp uses a ClickUp doc to share what is coming in each quarter. This is a nice visual way to share the high-level overview of your roadmap with your customers. However, if you create a quarterly overview in a doc or landing page, you’ll still need a board for idea-collection.
Linkish is a bookmark manager used by consumers, creatives, and businesses. For this reason, they keep their Frill roadmap super simple. The statuses they use are: in progress, under consideration, and live.
Autowriter is an AI tool for generating content and copy. They keep their public roadmap board super clean and simple. With Frill, you can rename any idea a customer gives you before adding it to your public board.
How to build a public roadmap
While you can build a public roadmap with a project management tool like Trello or ClickUp, it’s better to use a platform that’s designed for managing feature requests. Otherwise, you’ll have to manually add users; ideas to your board. And if you use something like Trello, people will comment ideas in task cards instead of using your desired form or contact information—making the manual workload even higher.
Here’s how to build a public roadmap that will make it easier for you to interact with your users and fulfill your product vision.
Step 1. Choose a roadmap tool
The first step is to choose a platform built for managing your roadmap and interacting with users.
Look for something that includes:
Feedback collection and organization - Your product management team needs feedback. Use one platform for feedback, public roadmap, and announcements so everything can be managed in one seamless workflow. Look for a tool with simple UX and single sign-on.
Upvoting and commenting - Make sure that the feedback board includes upvoting and commenting so you can get feedback from other users on every idea.
Public or user-only roadmap - The platform should offer a roadmap tool that can be set to public for everyone, or only viewable to people who are signed in with their user account to your SaaS.
Announcements - The tool you choose should also include features for product announcements. With Frill, you get a page with a running log, and you can even include your recent announcements in a widget.
Step 2. Set up your feature request board
The next step is to set up your feedback and roadmap portal. Give it a name, set up SSO, and brand the buttons to your main color.
All new ideas will automatically go in your first status, which is usually “under consideration” or “considering.”
You’ll also need to set up your other statuses. We pulled some of the most frequently used status schemes from the above public roadmap examples.
Common status schemes:
Under consideration, in development, shipped
Considering, planned, upcoming, developing, testing shipped, unlikely to build
Exploring, in progress, done, unlikely to build
Under consideration, planned, launched
Under consideration, planned, in progress, shipped
Need more feedback, planned, in progress, done
You might also want to create some tags for users to add. This way, you can control the tags and set them up in a way that makes sorting easier for product managers.
Step 3. Let users know about your feedback collection process and public roadmap
Tell your users about your idea board and public roadmap. You can send out an email newsletter announcing the new portal and add a temporary banner to your website. With Frill, you can add a small widget to your product so users can easily give you feedback at any time. You might also want to add a small link to your idea board at the bottom of onboarding emails and email newsletters.
Step 4. Interact with users who offer feedback
Effective customer feedback management requires timely interaction. Whether or not you end up using their idea, your users will want to know that you saw it and considered it. Try to reply to every comment within 48 business hours. Ask for more information, say thank you for the idea, and/or let the user know if you plan to implement it.
If you have users on wildly different plans (from free to thousands of dollars per month, for example), you might want to check which customer account the idea came from. Because you’ll have SSO enabled, it’ll be easy to tell which customer gave you the idea. If the customer represents your most ideal customer, you might give their idea extra consideration.
When other customers comment on existing ideas with very specific feedback and questions, make sure that you interact with these comments as well.
Step 5. Announce new features
Use your roadmap tool to announce product updates. This way, users can check ideas, planned features, and new releases all in one place.
For example, if you click on Frill’s Announcements tab, you’ll see a running log with all announcements.
One of our recent releases was the ability to embed videos into Announcements. This is great for 30-second or 60-second product marketing promotional videos or for Loom video tutorials. If the new feature is more complex, you might want to embed Q&As or webinar content.
Ready to launch a public roadmap and idea board? Get started with Frill’s free plan.