What is the purpose of Product Overview, Product Roadmap and Product Backlog?

Sometimes people confuse between product overview, roadmap and product backlog. They use these terms interchangeably without clear understanding of the deliverables involved. Product success largely depends on how clearly a product manager captures product details at every stage of product development.

A product manager should create following deliverables to address needs of various consuming groups. Note that there are many other documents that a product manager needs to create as the product goes from stages of evolution. I will cover those stages and required deliverables in a separate blog post. This blog post focuses on deliverables during product inception.

Product Overview

The purpose of the Product Overview document is to introduce product idea to various stakeholders. It should describe the problem that product will address, key use cases, solution overview, key product components, KPIs to define product success, type of customers to target, expected annual recurring revenue, competitive offerings etc. 

A Product manager can use the Product Overview document to share product idea with executive management to get the product approved. It can also be used to make engineering, support, operation, marketing teams familiar with the product concept.

Product Roadmap

The purpose of Product Roadmap is to identify all the major product features and outline a plan of the availability of these features by release. It should also identify the features that will constitute the minimum viable product (MVP). 

The product roadmap is used to track the product progress,  create product rollout plan and customer facing communication regarding product. The sections in the product roadmap should point to the corresponding backlog item, so that as needed Product Roadmap can be used to to dive in details  of the corresponding epic.

Product Backlog

The purpose of product backlog is to define features identified in product roadmap in details so that engineering can start building these features whenever resource bandwidth is available. Product backlog is created in the form of one of more epics corresponding to each feature. Each epic in turn can contain multiple user stories. Each of the user story describes functionality in details

A Product Manager creates product backlog typically for 3-4 releases in advance depending on the length of agile development cycle. Depending on the priority and available development bandwidth, an epic is assigned to a release, developed, tested and the functionality is rolled out to customers.


  1. Great article on the purpose of a product overview roadmap! It's crucial to align the team and stakeholders on the vision. If you're looking for practical tips on building a comprehensive product roadmap, this guide might be a valuable resource: https://www.cleveroad.com/blog/how-to-build-a-product-roadmap/.


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