Debate

Do Product Managers Have Authority to Make Product Roadmap Decisions?

If you google “product roadmap” you’ll mostly find tools for roadmap planning and visualization (this category of the Product Stack¬†has quite a few logos). You’ll also find a whole corpus of “how to create a product roadmap.” A few search pages in, if you ever get to them, you will find some best practices for the gnarlier aspects of roadmap¬†management.

Product managers deal with roadmaps on a daily basis – but is ongoing management and ownership of the roadmap the same as having the authority to make roadmap decisions? When we asked that question in our poll this week, 92% of you responded that yes, PMs should have that authority. But our debaters’ chipped away at that overwhelming majority with some hedging about the how much authority product managers have in setting the company’s roadmap.

How empowered are you to make roadmap decisions in your product organization? Do you feel like you don’t have the authority needed to move your product along? Tell us in the comments!

NO

"As much as it pains me, I'm going to say no. Product roadmaps are at best collaborative decisions but usually are decided top-down. But PMs don't have to be wounded - they get to translate high-level priorities into the best possible product and delivery schedules."

Sam Boonin
VP Product Strategy, Zendesk
YES

"What's critical is that someone has this authority, and the most obvious candidate would be the PM. Maybe for larger initiatives, it's OK to have a committee of senior stakeholders, but for the smaller day-to-day tactical features having a PM own these decisions keeps a company/team nimble."

Justin DeBrabant
Head of Product, ActionIQ
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