How to Make a Product Roadmap in Google Docs

488394 How to Make a Product Roadmap in Google Docs

A product roadmap is a strategic plan that outlines the vision and direction of a product over time. It acts as a guide for teams to know what to build, when to build it, and why those things are important.

Roadmaps are essential for aligning stakeholders on priorities, communicating plans to customers, and helping teams focus on delivering value. They can be created in many formats from simple spreadsheets to complex roadmapping software.

Google Docs is a surprisingly capable tool for making simple yet effective product roadmaps. Here’s how to create one from scratch.

Benefits of Using Google Docs

Here are some of the main benefits of using Google Docs to create a product roadmap:

  • Free and easy to use – No need to pay for expensive roadmapping tools. Google Docs is free and easy to get started.
  • Real-time collaboration – Multiple people can edit the roadmap doc simultaneously. No need to manually merge changes from multiple versions.
  • Commenting – Stakeholders can leave comments on specific roadmap items to discuss plans.
  • Accessibility – Share via a simple link and give access to only people that need to view the roadmap.
  • Templates – Use roadmap templates for Google Docs to speed up the formatting.

The main downside is that Google Docs lacks some of the more advanced roadmapping features found in dedicated tools. But for many small teams, Google Docs has all the basics covered to create and manage a helpful roadmap.

Step 1 – Setup the Basic Layout

To start, open up Google Docs and create a blank document. Or find a product roadmap template to give you a headstart on the layout.

At minimum, your roadmap should have:

  • A timeline across the top with quarters/months to display the time range
  • Swimlanes on the left to group initiatives into themes
  • Roadmap items that capture strategic initiatives and goals

Here is an example of a simple Google Docs roadmap layout:

Google Docs Roadmap Template

Use tables to organize the structure. Convert text to headings using Ctrl + Alt + 1 (or Cmd + Option + 1 on Mac) to make editing easier later on.

Step 2 – Add Your Strategic Initiatives

Now it’s time to add the strategic initiatives and goals that will go on your product roadmap. These are the important things your product team will work on and accomplish over time.

For each initiative, capture:

  • A short name
  • A description with context and goals
  • An expected timeline for when it will be complete

Here’s an example initiative:

Initiative: Unified analytics platform
Description: Consolidate our analytics tools into a single platform for more powerful and customizable analytics.
Timeline: Q1 2023

Plot each initiative on your timeline to visualize your strategic plan over time.

Use the swimlanes to group initiatives into related categories like themes:

  • Analytics
  • Payments
  • Content

Step 3 – Prioritize Your Initiatives

With all your initiatives captured, now you can prioritize what order to work on them. Add numbers to the left of each item to indicate which are more important to deliver first.

Factors to consider when prioritizing:

  • Business value
  • Customer requests
  • Ease of implementation
  • Dependencies

Don’t worry about getting it 100% right upfront. You’ll adjust the priorities over time as plans change. The key is to align on an initial order.

Step 4 – Add Supporting Details

Your roadmap should provide viewers with all the context they need to understand your strategic plans. Here are some additional details you can add for each initiative:


Who will own implementing this initiative? Add their name so it is clear who is responsible.


What key results will this initiative aim to improve? List 1-2 KPIs that this project will positively impact.


Does this initiative rely on any other projects to be completed first? Call out what needs to come before this item.

Step 5 – Share and Align Your Roadmap

Your Google Docs roadmap is now ready to share with stakeholders. The roadmap gives your product plans context and provides a way to align the organization.

Here are some ways the roadmap can help:

  • Executive alignment – Get buy-in from company leadership on priorities
  • Cross-functional transparency – Sales, marketing, and support can see upcoming changes to products
  • Development planning – Engineering teams understand what needs to be built and when
  • Customer communication – Share externally to provide visibility into the product pipeline

The product roadmap is a living document that will change over time. Set a reminder to revisit the roadmap each quarter to update statuses and adjust timelines. Treat your roadmap version in Google Docs as the single source of truth for product plans.


Here are a few key takeaways for building a helpful product roadmap in Google Docs:

  • Layout a timeline and swimlanes to visualize your strategic plan
  • Capture strategic initiatives with names, descriptions and timelines
  • Prioritize orders based on business value, dependencies, and other factors
  • Add supporting details like owners, KPIs, and dependencies
  • Share out your roadmap to align stakeholders on priorities

While Google Docs may not have all the bells and whistles of dedicated roadmapping software, it can facilitate the core components of an effective strategic plan for your product. The key is keeping the document up-to-date on a regular basis.

What tips do you have for building product roadmaps in Google Docs? Share your advice in the comments below!

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