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

 

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Last Updated : January 26th, 2019

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