How to Build a Successful App Roadmap in the Automotive Industry

There is a high demand for digital transformation in the automotive industry. Still, it doesn’t mean that any automotive digital transformation initiative is boomed for success. Forbes reports that 84% of companies fail at digital transformation and the automotive industry is no exclusion here.

Having vast experience in automotive digital transformation consultancy, FTP Software can confidently claim that a clear and focused roadmap for software development is vital to successful product launch.

How to Build an App Roadmap?

An app roadmap is a strategic document that outlines the rationale and the major stages of product development. It helps to link the product with the overall business goals and envision the long-term strategy for digital transformation in automotive company.

The process of roadmapping includes working on the key elements of a roadmap such as:

  • Product vision: the description of the core essence of the product and its core mission
  • Strategy: execution plan for software development, testing, and marketing
  • Goal: the end objective and a set of metrics to be used to mark its attainment
  • Features: description of the possible features and their priority relative to the goal
  • Time Frame: time estimates for the major milestones

Defining the Vision and the Strategy

Any automotive digital transformation should begin with the clarification of the company’s business strategy and the definition of how the product fits into it. Thus, start with discussing what pains the automotive software will address and why end-users will be willing to use it. Consider a target audience and a buyer persona and think of a unique value proposition of the product.

At the stage of the product vision development, it is important to focus on a large picture rather than all possible features of an app. This will help to set the priorities and, thus, develop a winning strategy for iterative development of the product.

Setting a Goal

Another step in creating a successful roadmap is setting a SMART goal. This includes determining a specific objective, selecting how to measure teams’ performance and project success, and setting deadlines for the project milestones.

To set the right goals for digital transformation automotive companies should conduct a strong SWOT analysis. Careful documentation of the internal strength and weaknesses along with external opportunities and threats will make the roadmap and further app development and marketing more effective.

Prioritizing the Features

When you already have a vision of the product and the end goal, it’s time to create a comprehensive list of features and prioritize them for development. A good idea will be to launch an MVP with a minimum number of core features and let the clients’ feedback inform the revision of the product roadmap.

When prioritizing the features, discuss how each feature helps the product to accomplish its mission. Another way to determine what feature to implement first is by using a MoSCoW matrix:

  • Must: without these features, a product is meaningless to the target audience
  • Should: important features that should be added when it’s possible
  • Could: features with low development cost that can provide additional benefits to the users
  • Won’t: features that will only make the app overcomplicated and feature-creep

Key Characteristics of a Successful Automotive App Roadmap

All the elements of a roadmap should be clearly summarised in a formal document that should have the following characteristics:


  • Fit for purpose


A roadmap should speak to the audience it is created for. The development team, the marketing team, external stakeholders and customers are interested in drastically different pieces of information. Thus, it is recommended to create several variations of the product roadmap each targeting a specific audience.


  • Data-Driven


Great roadmaps are based on scrupulous market research and detail the metrics to be considered during product development and implementation. For example, such metrics may include software development KPIs, end customer success metrics, or business-oriented criteria (ROI, conversion, customer lifetime value, etc.). These metrics will allow further revision of the roadmap in view of the available data.


  • Considering the Specifics of Car App Design 


A good roadmap for automotive industry software points out what specifics of the industry have been considered when developing a product vision. For example, any mobile technology implemented in connected vehicles should have a simple, non-distracting design and, preferably, speech recognition that would allow the driver to keep the eyes on the road even when using an app.

Conclusive Thoughts

Developing a quality app roadmap is an indispensable basis for effective product development and consequent digital transformation in the automotive industry. To create a good roadmap, start with defining a larger product vision and strategy and gradually come down to prioritizing the features to be developed. Remember that although a roadmap is developed prior to software development, it is subject to continuous revision in view of the obtained metrics and clients’ feedback.

We, in FTP Software, are ready to assist you with product development as well as custom digital transformation consulting. Click here to learn more.