We have been working on the high-level product planning phase for a client. We usually call it "a discovery phase".

It was "sold" in a way that we will deliver "Full-featured product vision, Project roadmap with milestones and pricing".

Now I would like to clearly understand what should be included in those documents, so that I can plan the work.

The easiest way is to ask sales and clients what is their expectations and what they want to see there. At the end - client will want "what is going to be delivered, when and how much"

However I would like to understand the differences better. For me, a proposal may include vision and roadmap. Also roadmap may include parts of vision (e.g. high-level features)

So I'm looking for some standards or best practices which outlines differences between roadmap , vision, proposal etc.

Could you suggest some reliable sources or probably you may answer here ?


1 Answer 1


The Vision is the expected end state, especially as it pertains to the business/user/customer facing end state.

Simple example: Umbrella or similar product Vision: when walking outside I will be, using a light-weight, easily portable device, protected from sun, rain, wind.

Proposal will describe what product or service the contracting organization will deliver to the customer, especially in terms of measureable characteristics... characteristics defines sufficiently so the customer can view delivery, and the proposal and easily say 'yes' or 'no' to whether the contracted delivery was made.

Simple, relate example: We propose an device we will call an umbrella. It will be light-weight and will be portable. It will protect the user from rain. In sunny and windy weather it will also protect the user. It will be made of high quality materials that will be water prove and will opaque so as not to allow the hot sun to peak through. The material will be such that it will remain functional in strong winds, protecting the user while not collapsing.

Roadmaps, in my experience have generally been related to products, rather than projects, although in some circles it may be used. My experience of a roadmap would be the plan for product features that would be released to the public at various times.

One simple example Credit Cards and associated systems.

introduction: They first came out and to use them the retailer used the monstrous swipe machine that transferred the image of the credit cards numbers to a carbon multipart form. Your received a copy and the merchant kept copies.

2nd phase or milestone on the roadmap: Magnet strip and magnetic strip readers

3rd phase or milestone on the roadmap: telephone transactions using 3 digit code

4th phase or milestone on the roadmap: online transactions

5th phase or milestone on the roadmap: hologram cards

6th phase : chip cards and chip readers

I am not a credit card systems expert, just a user, but if you have been around credit cards for any length of time, I think you will be able to relate to the concepts in the example relate to roadmaps. The roadmap in the conception stage would show each of the phases or milestones possibly one year apart. If credit cards were know today the roadmap may be as follows:

2016: Plastic cards with account number and expiration date

2017: Phase 2

2018: Phase 3

2019: Phase 4


Finally, I hesitate to perpetuate the term "best practices". Although it is well used, if not overused in industry, there can be no such evidentially sound concept. 'Best' would have to denote something to which the practice can be compared to determine it is indeed the 'Best'. Theoretically, it would have to be placed against every other similar practice and evidentially determined to be 'Best'.

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