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?

A Project Roadmap is a simple presentation of project ambitions and goals alongside a timeline. It tells a story of the project plan, and communicates important project information quickly.

IMPORTANT: A Project Roadmap IS NOT the place for detailed project plans and detailed information.

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 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 in a presentation) to keep it simple!
  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 minutes or less
  7. Anyone who picks it up can understand what it is about:
    1. The titles and deliverables are in plain language
    2. It avoids 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 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

This Powerpoint Roadmap with Milestones features 3 popular formats used by Product Managers - 1 year, 1.5 year and 2.5…

The Innovation Implementation Powerpoint gives you requirements, overview, methodology and resource planning to get innovation functioning in your business. 

A graphically rich professional board summary pack designed to convey vital information in a comprehensive yet concise manner.

This impressive Visio Product Roadmap Template presents workstreams, activities, deliverables and a Dashboard. First used by our consultants in 2010.

This stylish Visio Agile Roadmap shows your Product Plans over time, It includes Workstreams, milestones, KPIs, and stylish graphics. Loved…

This Visio Roadmap Template with PEST and KPIs shows how your Product or Programme delivers Strategic Benefit. For use with…

 

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Last Updated : January 26th, 2019

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