May 12, 2024

What a Project Roadmap Is and Why It’s Necessary

6 min read
Project Roadmap

Success is based on planning, without which it’s impossible to create a profitable business, like Amazon, Netflix, or A detailed plan facilitates the solution of many problems and sets the right pace of action. The roadmap refers to the project, which specifies the main stages of implementation of the strategy for further action. The roadmap for project implementation implies a clear timeline, the specifics of each stage and other significant details.

The roadmap has common features with the marketing plan. But there are also differences. A roadmap isn’t based on tactics for action. It’s a proper strategy that addresses the most important milestones.

What the Roadmap Covers 

The roadmap of project activities includes all elements of the business life cycle. These are ways to move forward, expected results, methods of action, and other points. The map is a timeline where important values are indicated. Some of the main aspects that should be indicated on the Roadmap include:

  • Goals. The main objectives of the project, product or company.
  • Objectives. Actions that can lead to the goal.
  • Outcome. Actual accomplishments stated in numerical values.
  • Risks. Controversial points that may be an obstacle.
  • Timeline. A rough chronology of actions.

A roadmap is the company’s path to success. A roadmap may include the following additions:

  • Problem. Factors that are preventing the goal from being achieved.
  • Ideas. Accomplishments and the course to take to increase positions.
  • Actions. Activities and ideas that will improve performance.
  • Team. A list of employees and each employee’s task.
  • Other actions. Events that are not related to the goal, but affect the project.

Roadmap formation is a must at the start of the project.

Purpose of the Roadmap in Business

The use of a roadmap is relevant to a variety of business sectors. Regardless of the company’s field of activity, it’s an effective tool for achieving professional goals. Information is presented succinctly and capaciously, which allows you to get the information you need right away. Other positive aspects of the attribute include the following:

  • Visual perception. All data is presented in the form of a presentation, which makes it easier to perceive the information. The map can be presented to potential partners, investors and others so that they can quickly assess the potential of the project. Objectives, timelines, and expected results are shown on the map.
  • Simplification. For complex projects that involve a cluster of different tasks and activities, the Roadmap makes it easy. Guided by the information from the map, you can act accurately and without errors.
  • Development. If the entire action strategy is in front of your eyes, it will be easier to make further decisions.
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In some cases, the roadmap can have disadvantages:

  • The roadmap needs to be constantly updated so you don’t miss deadlines and other important events.
  • Small and insignificant actions shouldn’t be marked on the map. This often delays work and causes deadlines to be missed.
  • If you incorrectly estimate the complexity of tasks at the stage of Roadmap formation, it will lead to additional costs.

A properly formed roadmap will only bring the project and the company growth and development.

How a Roadmap Differs From a Project Plan

A roadmap and a project plan are often compared to each other. The two tools have similarities, but that does not make them a means of achieving common goals:

Roadmap. Regulated at a high level and includes management involvement. The purpose is to visually demonstrate the impact of certain factors on performance dynamics. The map presents only a summary of the business.

A project plan works within the project with the participation of all employees. Indicates all goals and objectives to be accomplished by the team members. Includes a detailed breakdown of each step.

Using both tools, you can act accurately and ensure that the goals are successfully met.

Types of Roadmaps

Roadmaps come in two categories, depending on their configuration:

  • Waterfall. In this case, a clear sequence between action steps is indicated. This leaves the possibility to return to the previous step.
  • Agile. The model assumes short-term goals, for which the project is broken down into small tasks.
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The Waterfall map assumes no client involvement. All processes are stipulated in advance, and a plan is made for a long period (at least a year). Funds are allocated for each of the phases, and exact deadlines for achieving the goals are set. The disadvantage is the difficulties that may arise if an unforeseen situation that affects the overall momentum happens within the deadline.

The Agile map includes client participation. The plan is made for a small period (quarter or month). Tasks can be changed or reallocated, depending on the situation. It takes a lot of experience to constantly adjust the plan of action.

What Kind of Roadmaps There Are

Depending on the goals of the project, certain types of roadmaps can be used. This will help you schedule tasks correctly and use the tool as intended:

  • Product. A strategy that focuses on product or product development. The map specifies the features of the future launch, deadlines, information about promotions and other details.
  • Industry. The project is aimed at analyzing competitors, promotional methods and technologies used. Such a map allows us to estimate strengths and weaknesses of the business.
  • Technological. A plan for the use of technology for the success of the project. Decisions on automation of various actions and minimization of human factor participation in the process.
  • Educational. Information on professional development among employees. For example, the map may indicate ways and their advantages.
  • Corporate. Roadmap includes information about the company’s development, goals, approximate deadlines and other features.
  • Project-based. Features of projects, deadlines for achievement and tools that can assist in this matter.

Choosing a roadmap will allow the right goals to be set and the expected results to be achieved.

What Tasks the Roadmap Solves

The project development roadmap serves to solve some tasks. The tool provides the following opportunities:

  • Visualization of the strategy. Includes development, various milestones, coaching, making useful connections and other aspects.
  • Planning. Avoid confusion between different steps and milestones by planning all activities effectively.
  • Accountability. A map can also include information about important employee responsibilities.
  • Synchronization. The tool will help optimize team relationships and make work as communicative as possible.
  • Development. By looking at the visual layout from the outside, you can trace the dynamics of your project’s development.
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In some cases, the Roadmap is not necessary. Such situations are as follows:

  • A company with a small team (no more than 5 people).
  • Special software is used to manage business processes.
  • Strategic planning method is used for the business.
  • Planning is not the main method of achieving goals for the business.
  • The company has no important projects for the future.
  • The business is in a fickle area where changes are constantly occurring.

Using a roadmap makes many processes easier and adds to the efficiency of the job.

How to Create a Roadmap Yourself

Special services can be used to create a map. They usually require a subscription for the right to use the full set of tools and options. Some practice free programs, such as “GoogleDocs”, “MicrosoftWord”, “MicrosoftExcel”, and “Google Tables”. But such ways have disadvantages:

  • Complexity. Creating a cell, filling it out, and constantly correcting it manually can be a time-consuming process.
  • Aesthetics. If you don’t have special skills, you will not be able to make a beautiful presentation.
  • Teamwork. Programs exclude collective access to the presentation.

For this reason, it’s recommended to use special programs to create a map.

Recommendations for Creating a Roadmap

The working roadmap should correspond to the peculiarities of the project. In this case, the tool will bring the expected results. Consider a few useful tips:

  • Discuss the topic as a team beforehand and outline common goals.
  • Find multiple methods to achieve one goal.
  • Apply common criteria to evaluate the results of the work done.
  • Create a structure that is flexible to allow for constant input on changes.
  • The map should not be too detailed.

There are several tools you can use to create a practical roadmap.

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