What is a Project Roadmap? The 101 for Roadmap Basics

This guide will explain the key parts of a Project Roadmap. Read about workstreams, activities, timelines and other elements in a good Project Roadmap.

A Project Roadmap is a simple presentation of Project Ambitions and Project Goals alongside a timeline.

A Project Roadmap is NOT the place for detailed project plans and detailed information.

A Roadmap communicates all planned, high-level Project activity AT A GLANCE!

What is a Project Roadmap used for?

  1. To quickly communicate project plans & goals.
  2. To manage stakeholder expectations.
  3. To generate a shared understanding across the teams involved.
  4. To communicate plans with other important teams/organisations.

What does a Project Roadmap include?

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

Key Characteristics of a Project Roadmap

  1. It gives a sense of the Project Goals
    1. Either explicitly in plain words “The goal is …”
    2. Or in the deliverables listed
  2. It shows the plans for a project in simple terms
    1. not too detailed
    2. Just the high-level titles for each deliverable
    3. You should not have more than 4 per year for any workstream
  3. It is on 1 side of paper (or 1 slide)
    1. So – keep it simple and focussed!
  4. It shows project plans alongside a timeline
  5. It shows the order of the deliverables; what’s first, and what comes next!
  6. You can read it and understand it in 3 mins
  7. Anyone who picks it up can understand what it’s about
    1. The titles and deliverables are in plain language
    2. Avoid acronyms and team jargon
  8. It has your name on it – so people can contact you with questions

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 incredibly useful on its own:

  1. It ensures that the team and stakeholders understand capacity
  2. It forces priority decisions
  3. It promotes a shared understanding in the wider team

Roadmap Examples and Samples

 

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Last Updated : April 5th, 2016

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