Mateusz Raczyński
min read
Last Update:
January 5, 2023

On this page:

  1. How to structure app roadmap?
  2. The product roadmap in detail
  3. Important aspects of the product roadmap
  4. How a product roadmap differs in crypto?
  5. Why do you need a product roadmap?

Every development starts with a plan and a product roadmap is a detailed way of saying how we can get from notes to a successfully launched app. But how to structure the roadmap to get from A to B? And how is it different in crypto and fintech?

Products love roadmaps. Founders and teams, too, as they guide them towards successful product launches and growth. Still, this is a topic that is too often overlooked and according to Project Management Institute’s report, projects with under-developed processes have over 50% higher chance of ending with a failure. Other big problems are scope or feature creep and delivering projects beyond the estimated budget and time. You don’t want anything of that in yours.

While there are many aspects of project management that we won’t cover in this article, product roadmap is an important for scoping, estimating, and launching projects. So how to do that?

How to structure app roadmap?

Before we begin, we need to know what management approach should the roadmap support. We strongly recommend following Agile as this has proven to work really well in Ulam Labs, giving transparency into the development process and helping in keeping it on track and adaptable to changes.

The alternative is the traditional waterfall approach that creates sequences between project parts and is less adaptable to changes but more business-centric. For software development, it’s not the ideal setting because it’s sensitive to changes in projects.

Going with Agile, here are the parts of  product development roadmap:

Early stages:

  • Idea & vision
  • Getting the idea to design – discovery workshops
  • Getting the design to development – product & design sprints

Preparing for launch

  • Development Roadmap
  • Testing schedule
  • Auditing


  • Marketing 
  • Sales/Business Development

Post-launch development

  • Update schedule
  • Maintenance

Although we’ve participated in successful product launches, we won’t go deep down into the business side of things. But if you want to know more about the design and development parts–we’ve got you covered!

The product roadmap in detail

Straight to the point – let’s expand on the details.

Idea & Vision

Every project starts with an idea and vision, but that’s not one of the goals you’d like to reach with your roadmap. Rather, it is an input that allows every person involved to be on the same page and understand what should be the end goal for the app.

To put it in a concise way, you might want to answer questions like:

  • What is the mission of the product?
  • What user problems does it solve?
  • What goals do you want to achieve with it?

With those answered and written down, you’ll ensure that once the project starts, multiple decisions will be taken–but all of them will be made towards the direction pointed by your vision.

Discovery workshops

For earlier stage products that are still in the ideation stage, scheduling a discovery workshop is a good step to formulate the ideas, discuss them with market experts, and make the crucial decisions moving the project forward. You can already reserve time for that, if you need assistance.

And if you decide to schedule discovery sessions with us, you’ll get business analysis, user journey map, an overview for possible technology choices, and a detailed app roadmap as an outcome. This is the more convenient way of moving the idea to development, so if you’d like to do it with us, drop us a line on

Design sprints

After discovery workshops, you might already have the user journey map, but that’s just the beginning for the design. Product design is the discipline of laying out the concepts in beautiful interfaces that will serve real humans.

Once you get through this part, you’ll know exactly how you want your product to look and feel like. This is the part where you engage in the hardest part from the planning perspective–development.

Development roadmap

Development roadmap organizes the development process and identifies key steps and chronology needed to deliver the product. From there, you can estimate the launch dates, provided that everything goes smoothly. And how to ensure that everything goes smooth as butter?

Tech stack

The first decision is around the tech stack for the project. Certain decisions and technologies will require more time, are differently scalable from the tech and team perspective and all come at a different cost. Here, you’ll need to pick programming languages, cloud technologies, and all that stuff–but if you’re not that technical, just talk to the experts–they should assist you and present a few available options.

MVP Features

This is the part that might be decided earlier, for example on the discovery workshop, but the thing is that most founders think of fully-fledged solutions, full of cool features but at the same time, they want to launch the product as soon as possible, probably at the earliest possible time. MVPs are a proven way of validating the idea, but they’re not the only way.

Of course, you can build a large application according to your idea but mind that it might require a larger team, longer time, and higher cost. Pick according to your priorities and remember that you can always add some additional features post-launch.

Once there is a decision on the features moving to the development, you’ll need to stick to that plan–unless you have a good reason. Feature creep is a threat to the project–you might want to add all the shiny functionalities to the initial version and think that each would be uber important, but this poses a risk that you’ll end the project with failure or a long delay.

Development sprints schedule

Once we know the tech, features, and designs, we can plan the sprints accordingly. In Ulam Labs, we propose the required chronology and estimate how much time each feature needs to be built. This is then divided into weekly sprints–each has its own deliverables and milestones. Each starts with a planning session to ensure that everything is on track and if it isn’t–not uncommon in software development–there is still room for making adjustments to meet the deadline.

After nailing down the earlier parts, scheduling sprints is the best tool to make the product roadmap a useful tool for navigating the process and meeting the ideal launch date.

Testing schedule

We’ve seen different approaches, but the roadmap should reserve time for extensive automated and manual testing of the app. Then, QA teams can ensure that everything runs as it should and if it doesn’t, the developers can fix it simultaneously. The length of this period depends on the scale of the project, but if it has been built well, about 1-2 weeks should be enough.

Additional auditing

If we’re talking about fintech app development or more likely crypto software development that involves using smart contracts, then scheduling the audit is not something to be overlooked. When security is more than critical–and in crypto a small bug can lead to millions in losses–going the extra mile to know all about your application and smart contracts is a good practice.

As auditors, we usually engage with production-ready projects. That means, you can put audit at the end of the roadmap, but it probably won’t be a smooth transition from the QA part to audits. You should go with external auditors and their services are usually booked some months in advance. To better understand the project and estimate how long the audit will take, they’ll need to see the code (or at least know how many lines of code are there). That means, you need to send them something that is pretty much finished and then wait for their availability. This is not always the case, but take that into consideration when planning the app roadmap.

Okay, so what else should be taken into consideration?

There are several aspects of the product roadmap that you might want to decide upon–or talk about those points with your development partner or team.

Team composition

Who will be involved in the process? In what processes exactly are they needed? How many people will be on the team or teams? Who does what? When should they enter?

All those questions should be answered. In our case, knowing the scope, we propose team structure and then can estimate the costs.


Another important aspect of a product roadmap is defining the goals? What is the measurable end goal and how are you going to measure it? What are the KPIs for all teams involved? Setting those sets the focus for different iterations. Linking all the features to metrics will allow you to monitor the progress and maintain adjustability if some conditions change.

Status markers

Similarly to goals setting status markers that work for your team will help you keep track of the progress. These are the estimated deadlines for all tasks, so everyone knows when they need to be ready.

Further development

In software, the building part can ever be done, but make that part of the roadmap. The post-launch development roadmap is similar to the initial one, but it organizes and prioritizes maintenance and update releases. This is where features that were initially dropped could get life at their own pace.

Staying user-centric

You might want to adjust the roadmap to your business case and resources but this approach is becoming quite outdated. For every product, there is a user group–and those users should stay at the center of the project.

That means prioritizing features that will solve most pressing user problems, will ensure great UX, and so on. 

Keeping the roadmap up to date

A plan is not all. A living, always up-to-date roadmap is critical to success. Too many times, we have seen projects that started with a great plan, but as teams encountered blockers and things got delayed, they didn’t adjust the roadmap. They sticked to the first plan, kept missing deadlines and eventually leaving everyone wondering why they’re so far from where they should’ve been. So take your time if you need to, do reality-checks, and update the roadmap as often as it starts to fall behind the reality.

Oh, and whenever you update the roadmap, make sure to communicate it well with all people involved–developers, marketing, business development, etc.

How a product roadmap differs in crypto?

Is a product roadmap different in crypto industry? To some extent. While 80-90% of the development might be similar to any other app, whenever there’s blockchain work it needs additional time.

Blockchain development adds some complexity to the frontend, backend, and requires additional tech infrastructure. Not to mention the smart contract development itself. 

Apart from that, you’ll need to double down on the security. Add time for additional testing and external audits. Those will also take a few weeks to find all the potential vulnerabilities. It’s better to be safe than sorry whenever working with digital assets and products related to money.

Why do you need a product roadmap?

Let’s sum up the product roadmap creation process by the reasons why you want to go through it in the first place. There are a few.

Even before you’re ready for development, a roadmap is a way of estimating the time & cost for launching the app. This information helps you to make an informed decision about the launch date and budgeting.

The most important reason is managing the development efficiently and keeping track of all the moving parts. If you’re building a product with external company, you might be tempted to put let your project manager organize the whole process, but from our experience, that adds complexity to the project and can create some communication friction. It’s better to have all the development done under one roof, also from the management perspective. 

Last, but not least, if you know that you want to sync with a certain date or event, a product roadmap will help you visualize how long it will take and adjust the features to meet the required deadline. After all, you’ll never speed up the process by more manpower. 2 developers won’t deliver a feature 2 times faster than 1, at least not in all cases.

Want to organize a discovery workshop and create a product roadmap with us? Don’t hesitate to contact us!

Written by
Mateusz Raczyński
Marketing Manager

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