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What is a Project Roadmap? Roadmap Basics for Beginners

What is a project roadmap?

This guide will explain the important parts of a Project Roadmap. It includes workstreams, activities, timelines, risk levels and other elements needed for an effective project roadmap.

What is a Project Roadmap used for?

1. Quickly communicates project plans and goals.
2. Manages stakeholder expectations.
3. Generates a shared understanding across the teams involved.
4. Communicates plans with other important teams/organisations.

What is a Project Roadmap?

It is a simple diagram format, that shows your project plans over time.Step-by-step Keynote Roadmap Template Example
IMPORTANT: A Project Roadmap IS NOT the place for detailed project plans and detailed information.

What does a Project Roadmap include?

1. Must Have: The Project Goals articulated; at least in the deliverables listed.
2. Must Have: A timeline – to show when things will happen.
3. Must Have: The high level titles for the big deliverables (don’t get into the detail!!).
4. Should Have: The workstreams in separate “Swim Lanes”.
5. Should Have: Milestones of key events, when you expect them.
6. Could Have: Areas of high risk.
7. Could Have: Areas where you have dependencies.

What are the Key Characteristics of a Project Roadmap?

It gives a sense of the Project Goals: Either explicitly in plain words: “The goal is …”.
It shows the plans for a project in simple terms: not too detailed – just the high-level titles! (keep to 4 or less in each workstream).
It fits on 1 side of paper (or 1 slide in a presentation) to keep it simple!
It shows project plans alongside a timeline.
You can read it and understand it in 3 minutes or less.
It avoids acronyms and team jargon, so that anyone can understand it!
It has your name on it – so people can contact you with questions.

What’s the best Project Roadmap presentation?

The best project roadmap presentation is one that tells your story simply and quickly. You must give a sense of time, the important project elements, and any key messages you want to highlight.
What is a project roadmap?

Step-by-Step guide to creating a Roadmap

See our Creating a Roadmap guide here.

Creating a Roadmap can have useful side-effects

The process of creating a roadmap, with key project stakeholders and team members, can be a very useful exercise for your team, because it:-

  1. Ensures that the team and stakeholders understand capacity
  2. Forces priority decisions
  3. Promotes a shared understanding in the wider team

Roadmap Examples and Samples

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Simple Roadmap Templates to help with your Presentation

Our Simple Roadmap Templates use successful Roadmap design formats that are popular the world around. Download these Simple Roadmap Templates now.

We’ve been developing a variety of Roadmap Templates for a few years now, and we would like to offer these ones for a reduced price!

Simple Roadmap TemplatesSimple Roadmap Templates
The Simple Roadmap Templates communicate your product or project plans simply on 1 side of paper

Features of our Simple Roadmap Templates.

  1. A4 Page size (premium are A3)
  2. Title area
  3. “Version” area
  4. Roadmap Legend
  5. Four Roadmap Workstreams
  6. Activity bars in each workstream
  7. Configurable Timeline
  8. Milestones

Our Simple Roadmap Templates are A4 Roadmap formats. For our larger and more elaborate roadmap templates, see the Roadmap Template Samples and Examples.

See all of our Roadmap Templates.

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Roadmap Styles

Business Documents UK has a variety of Roadmap Styles.

Roadmap Styles

Powerpoint Roadmap Styles

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Visio Roadmap Styles

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Keynote Roadmap Styles

Strategic Roadmap with PESTLE on the Keynote Roadmap Template with SWOT & PESTLE
Strategic Roadmap with PESTLE on the Keynote Roadmap Template with SWOT & PESTLE

Step-by-step Keynote Roadmap Template Example
Step-by-step Keynote Roadmap Template Example

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Define your Product Rollout Plan

The Rollout Plan Template - Powerpoint Presentation
The Rollout plan Powerpoint Presentation

Planning your Product Rollout is crucial. You need to design the workstreams, and put project controls in place to be sure your rollout stays on track.

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You can see our ready-made, tried-and-tested Rollout Plan Template here.

How to Plan your Product Rollout

Define “Success” – Your Rollout Objectives & KPIs

  1. What does success look like? – you must document this with measurable success criteria.
  2. Once you have this, you can identify some points in the rollout when you expect to be able to measure the “Performance” of the rollout.
  3. You can record these as Milestones, and as KPIs to focus the team on.

Understand your Risks, Assumptions, Issues and Dependencies

  1. In order to ensure the best possible rollout, you to understand what might affect your success negatively, and manage each of these factors.
  2. In project management terms, this is your RAID log, and includes documenting and managing your:
    1. Risks
    2. Assumptions
    3. Issues
    4. Dependencies
    5. View RAID templates here
  3. Track, mitigate and manage your RAID items through the Rollout process

Define your Phases & Timeline

  1. With the above points in mind, set your timeline for the Rollout.
  2. Base the timeline on a realistic and achievable timescale, and with your RAID items in mind.
  3. If it makes sense to the whole project, split your timeline into Phases, and name them

Define your Milestones

  1. Along with your KPI points, set milestones so that you can monitor project progress
  2. Be sure to get regular Status Updates, and ensure the wider team and stakeholders get Status Reports

Set out your Workstreams & Project Activities

  1. In Agile projects, and in larger Programmes, your team and activities should be arranged in Workstreams
  2. Each Workstream should represent a team, or a particular area of delivery; e.g. “HR”, “DEV”, “CATERING”, “FINANCE”
  3. Plan the project activities, and the KPIs out into these workstreams, along the timeline
  4. Ensure the Workstream participants have contributed, and helped form each workstream plan

Communicate your Rollout Plan!

  1. Agree the Timeline, Workstream, KPI and Activity plans with your team
  2. Create a Rollout Plan Presentation, with your team
  3. Present to all teams and stakeholders
  4. Give your team and Stakeholders Status Reports frequently throughout the Rollout

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Business Documents UK Rollout Templates

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Project Plan

Powerpoint Project Plan Template

The most effective Project Plan presentations are individually tailored for your audience – one size does not fit all. Browse these plan formats.

Project Plan Template showing a 2 year timeline, workstreams and milestones
An example Project Plan – showing 2 years timeline in a roadmap format; milestones and workstreams

Your Project Plan – Who are you showing it to?

Be very clear about your audience – you will need different project plan approaches for each scenario:

  1. For executive audiences use a Roadmap format to show project plans: Powerpoint Roadmap Template, Visio Roadmap template.
  2. For Product Manager audiences, you should use a Product format: Powerpoint Product Template, Visio Product Template.
  3. To show your product team workstreams what they are doing, use a Project Plan Template format.
  4. For your developers, you should have a release plan, showing activity per iteration.

Some Agile Release Plan Formats