A roadmap is a visual strategic plan that reflects the goals or expected outcomes of a project and provides all the main steps required to achieve it. It represents the goals to achieve (“why”), strategy to adopt (“how”), and time to complete (“when”). A roadmap contains elements such as project objectives and goals, key deliverables and milestones, dependencies and risks, and project timelines. In simple words, it is a high-level strategic plan that gives the concerned teams and stakeholders a complete view of what goals they are going to achieve in the given time frame.
When a business starts working on a new project, there is a need for a clear view of what it is targeting to achieve and how it is going to achieve it. Therefore, a strategic planning session takes place where all the discussions about the project goal, approach, and similar other elements are made. The output of such a planning process is in the shape of a roadmap. Let’s have a closer look at what roadmap is all about in this article.
What Is a Roadmap?
A roadmap is a visual strategic plan that reflects the goals or expected outcomes of a project and provides all the main steps required to achieve it. It represents the goals to achieve (“why”), strategy to adopt (“how”), and time to complete (“when”). A roadmap contains the following elements:
- Project objectives and goals
- Key deliverables and milestones
- Dependencies and risks
- Project timelines
In simple words, it is a high-level strategic plan that gives the concerned teams and stakeholders a complete view of what goals they are going to achieve in the given time frame.
Roadmap vs. Project Plan
A roadmap is a visual approach to quickly and easily communicate the goals, strategy, and major focus areas. On the other hand, a project plan is more like a supporting comprehensive document that reflects the details of what should be done to achieve the main goals. In simple words, the project plan is step-by-step detailed actions required to achieve the main goals before the deadline. Moreover, a roadmap is more suited for stakeholders because they can easily understand the project’s main goals and approach, while a project plan is more suited for the teams who are going to work on that project.
Why Is It Important?
In any project, there are multiple elements to focus on and tasks to divide among teams. When there is a strategic roadmap in place, it becomes easier to set priorities and ensure timely deliveries. That’s why creating a roadmap is a common practice that organizations do to turn their project ideas into reality with the right set of strategies. But a roadmap should not be confused with a project management tracker or a list of features to do. It just gives a bigger picture of the project’s prime goals in an intuitive, visual way.
Benefits of the Roadmap
Some main benefits of the roadmap are as follows:
- It visually describes the goals and strategy.
- It communicates goals to the team.
- It ensures smooth communication with stakeholders.
- It provides a better glimpse of dependencies and risks.
- It aligns resources.
- It provides precise and clear information that assists in better decision-making.
In short, a roadmap provides a bird’s eye view of the whole project without narrating the tiny, complex details. Moreover, it is also a source of motivation, inspiration, and shared ownership of the project. It lets team members understand where the project or company is headed, resulting in a common understanding of the company’s vision and goals.