There was a time when product managers were dependent on only one of the two categories of tools for outlining a product roadmap — spreadsheets or word editors.
Thankfully, advanced roadmapping apps have replaced these starkly limited (and slightly annoying?) tools. They have made it possible to create and collaborate on beautiful and dynamic roadmaps within minutes.
And no product manager can do without them today.
The multiplicity of roadmap tools presents another dilemma though — identifying the right tool.
In this blog, we will help you through the process and list some of the best free and paid product roadmap planner tools in 2023.
But before that, let’s recap some of the basics!
What is a product roadmap?
A product roadmap is a document that outlines the summary of the vision and direction of a product offering over time. Just as a physical roadmap enables a driver to steer their vehicle toward the destination, the product roadmap offers a plan of action to steer a company toward its goals.
What is product roadmap planning?
Roadmap planning constitutes everything from defining the strategy for your product to assigning responsibilities, establishing OKRs, and communicating the plans to both internal and external stakeholders.
You can’t build a product without creating a roadmap first. And you can’t really build a good roadmap without a suitable tool.
Features to consider while selecting a roadmap planning tool
Here are some factors to consider while selecting the perfect roadmap planning app for your organization:
1. Number of roadmaps and features supported
Your product roadmap tool may change if you are a consumer goods conglomerate as opposed to a B2B SaaS company. Ideally, each product gets its own roadmap so you’ll need to account for the number of products a roadmapping tool supports when you go app-shopping. Many tools will also support only a limited number of features in the free version.
2. Number of users supported
Most roadmap tools charge you by the number of makers or editors (people who create the roadmap) who can work on the software. The maker will likely be the product manager or product leader but sometimes, you’ll need more than one maker. In this case, affordability can be a good factor to consider before opting in for any tool.
That said, most tools will simultaneously let you have unlimited viewers for the roadmap, for free.
3. Ease of use
Product roadmapping tools are generally not just that. They come bundled in with powerful task and project management capabilities which can often make the UI complex for first-time users. The easier the tool is to use, the sooner you and your team can get started with it, and the more efficiently it can work.
Recommended reading: Free task management software 2023 for mobile and desktop
4. Access and collaboration features
The best roadmapping tools allow you to collaborate with the many stakeholders involved in product development — customers, clients, managers, developers, marketers, and others. They let you record and incorporate feedback from them and also communicate the results to them using the tool itself.
Product roadmap tools go hand in hand with software development and project management tools, among others. A good roadmapping app should provide for two way integrations between itself and related apps for streamlining and improving workflows while eliminating duplication.
Now that you know what to look for in a product roadmapping tool, let’s see which tools product managers recommend in 20223to build powerful roadmaps.
Top 8 roadmap planning tools — free & paid
Here is a list of what we think are some of the best free roadmap planning tools in 2023
Monday.com is a freemium roadmap planning tool that scores high on ease and intuitiveness of use. Thanks to over 200+ templates, product managers needn’t start from scratch while creating roadmaps on the tool.
Its simple, colorful interface is perfect for visualizing workflows, backlogs, product status, and projected trajectory, which makes roadmap planning and visibility a breeze. In addition to this, Monday.com can also be used for user testing, task management, form automation, and many more use-cases.
Some major drawbacks of the tool are that the free plan supports only 2 users at a time and advanced roadmapping features such as Gantt charts, timelines, and calendar views are limited to paid plans.
Wrike’s product roadmap software comes with a customizable, interactive template to organize product development tasks and sub-tasks by team, function, time period, or other tags for infinitely easier tracking.
One of the key features that sets Wrike apart from its counterparts is their Work Intelligence™ software that automates tasks and predicts project risk.
It automatically migrates you to different kinds of productivity systems, such as Gantt Charts, Kanban Boards, table view, lists etc. And also boasts custom dashboards and workflows for seamless collaboration.
You can access projects and folders quickly and keep a constant watch on your inbox and mentions with the push notifications. Wrike’s free plan is ideal when you are okay with limited features for an unlimited number of users.
The devil may be in the details but retaining sight of the bigger picture is what will get you past the finish line. Product roadmapping in Asana offers you the best of both worlds. You can use this versatile tool to
- align tasks, responsibilities, and deadlines
- track backlogs
- monitor project status and retain a high-level overview with real-time charts and visual highlights
- create roadmaps as a single source of truth and keep everyone on the same page
Asana offers a great connection and organization hub for product teams that lets them identify bottlenecks and streamline workflows to reach goals faster.
Asana’s free plan supports over 100 integrations which is rare as far as free roadmapping tools go.
ClickUp promises to be the app that replaces all apps. It houses all of your work including tasks, docs, chat, goals and more, in one place. So it's natural that it supports creating and viewing product roadmaps as well.
ClickUp combines the functionalities of Jira, Monday, and Trello with over 20+ customizable views ranging from simple lists to calendar views and kanban boards among others. It helps you automatically assign tasks, post comments, update statuses, and sync with other tools so you don’t waste time in busywork.
Even on the free plan, you can manage unlimited tasks and sprints with unlimited members. It is one of the few product management apps to offer free Gantt charts (100 uses).
While free tools are unbeatable, product teams may need to switch over to paid tools for unlocking more features and functions.
Here are some of the top paid product roadmap tools companies are using in 2023
Aha! Roadmaps is a tool built especially for product teams.
Users of the tool can set goals and initiatives first, then link them through to key features, and the visual product roadmap. You can use it as an all-in-one tool to ease every step of your strategy planning process — market research, creating buyer personas, capturing your business model, defining positioning, analyzing competitors, and setting OKRs for your team.
Crowdsourcing ideas, prioritizing features, and customizing roadmaps for every segment of your audience is also possible. While the customization options are limitless, they can make the software complex to understand.
Airfocus is a modular roadmapping tool slash product management platform with a focus on getting you up and running as quickly as possible. Their ready-to-use templates and handy integrations with other project management tools such as JIRA, Trello, and Github etc. provide a great starting point to build clear and connected roadmaps within minutes.
Despite this, the tool’s interface can take some getting used to.
One of the best parts about using Airfocus is custom scoring and weights for feature requests. You can use custom formulae to evaluate the impact of each request on the release. The ones with the highest score then make it to the roadmap, making prioritization seamless.
Productboard is another one-stop product solution for every process in the product management cycle. It works on similar principles as Aha!
It is a great tool for user-centric product development. Users feedback integrates into the tool via multiple sources such as emails, social media, CRMs etc. Once it’s all collated, you can easily prioritize what to build, add it to your roadmap, and double down on it.
Productboard roadmaps can be viewed by everyone in your organization which makes rallying different teams and stakeholders around the common product vision simpler. For external sharing, however, you have to rely on an exported pdf file, which must be freshly exported every time it is edited.
Productboard’s Essentials plan starts from $20 per maker per month and offers Jira & Azure DevOps integration with 2-way sync along with Github, Trello, and Pivotal Tracker integrations. Contributors & Viewers can be added for free for sharing the roadmap and backlog.
ProductPlan lets you not just build and share product roadmaps fast but also gives you the ability to pivot between timeline, list, and table layouts with a single click.
It comes with unlimited viewers on every plan and you can share custom views of the entire roadmap with external stakeholders for better collaboration, without them needing to access the platform itself.
With multiple roadmap templates covering almost all use-cases across functions, it is one of the simpler product management tools with a flatter learning curve than most enterprise apps.The pricing can be a sour point, though, with the basic plan costing $39 per editor per month without any integrations.
Use OSlash to make your roadmaps the single source of truth for everyone
If there is one document that nearly everyone in the enterprise must have access to, it’s the product roadmap. It’s not just a documenting of product (and company) vision but also lets everyone know the relationship between their efforts and outcomes.
So how do you make it accessible company-wide? After all, it changes so often.
Luckily, there’s a way that doesn’t require you to send an email announcement or bombard the #general Slack channel every time you dot an i or cross a t on your roadmap.
It’s OSlash. OSlash will let you transform the link to your roadmap into a delightfully short, highly shareable, and easy-to-recall shortcut. So that it no longer reads like http://www.asana.com/roadmap/v-2xyzabc-use1?qfPC but simply as o/roadmap.
Now, if your dev team needs to know where to update the roadmap, it’s o/roadmap. And if you wish to assess the release timelines, you can head to o/roadmap. It’s the single source of truth, made readily and intuitively accessible, at everyone’s fingertips. Cool, right?
It goes without saying that there are as many roadmap tools as there are use-cases. But the good news is that you can navigate this maze simply by trying these out for yourself and seeing which ones fit best.
Lastly, even if free tools are not enough for your company, we recommend taking a free trial or demo before committing to a paid tool. It can make all the difference!