People who want to create a working business or project know that you need to start with planning, which is based on a strategy. Its visualization will allow you to set priorities and plan the course of action. This approach will allow you to achieve the desired result. In this article we will tell you what a project roadmap is and how to make it.
What is a project roadmap?
Let’s start with what is a roadmap or as it is also called roadmap. A roadmap is a competent and accurate visualization of the company’s development strategy, project development stages and product promotion. A properly drawn up map should consist of key elements of the life cycle, which are united as one.
Speaking about the key aspects of the roadmap, these are:
- Goals – long-term plans of the company, project, product.
- Tasks – actions that need to be performed to achieve the goal.
- Results – reflection of the goal achievement in specific indicators.
- Risks – actions, situations that can prevent the achievement of the goal.
- Terms of implementation – chronology of tasks.
The roadmap is a kind of slide or page depicting the path that the team goes through from start to finish. In addition to the main aspects, the roadmap may contain additional elements:
- Problem statement. This item describes the problem that may affect the project.
- Ideas for project development and facts. Here indicate the options for the development of the company to achieve success or already existing statistics of success.
- Actions. A clear description of actions that will help the team to work effectively. Here you can add both the tools used and the motivation system.
- List of companies and employees. It is necessary to indicate the people who will be responsible for a particular task.
- Steps. Here are the steps that go beyond the project, but you can’t do without them.
Why do you need a project roadmap?
The map collects all the data about the project. All this information is structured so that all stakeholders can get acquainted with it. For example, you ordered the development of a website. In order not to distract the programmers, you can look at the project map yourself and see at what stage of development it is and whether there are any problems.
An effective map allows you to define the main goals and plan the budget. It also helps to prioritize tasks. Often, at the initial stage of project development, employees take on too many tasks that are not important in principle. This can disrupt the implementation of a particular task. But this issue could be solved by simple delegation.
A single vision of the project
When a team works on one project, each member has an understanding of the goals and objectives. Issues that arise in the process of work can be tracked in the roadmap, where intermediate results are indicated. Each team member and the manager, among others, can study this information.
Example: due to problems with a supplier, the project timeline is delayed. The project roadmap can indicate this, thus informing the whole team.
Isolating the team from unnecessary comments
Roadmap will allow third-party project members (customer, investor) not to distract participants from the work process. It is unlikely that a programmer or designer will be satisfied if he is constantly distracted from the main work. It is the roadmap that allows stakeholders to be aware of the situation, and if there are questions, to solve them at the upper levels.
Advantages and disadvantages of the roadmap
- Each team member follows a clearly defined plan and is aware of the project deadlines and goals.
- All tasks are prioritized If some tasks are poorly estimated, unplanned costs may arise in the future.
- All stakeholders have access to information about the project development.
- The roadmap should be updated regularly (as the project develops), otherwise the deadlines may be missed.
- If some tasks were poorly estimated, unplanned costs may arise in the future.
The difference between a roadmap and a project plan
A roadmap is somewhat similar to a project plan, but this is only at first glance. In fact, if you look deeper, the difference is obvious. The first obvious difference is that the roadmap is regulated at high levels (by the project manager, investor), and planning is within the team.
At the same time, for more effective project development, it is recommended to create both a roadmap and planning. These two tools will perfectly complement each other.
Types of roadmaps by objectives
Depending on the project, the following types of roadmaps can be distinguished:
- Product – a strategy for the development of a specific product or product line.
- Technological – a plan for the introduction of technology into a process or company.
- Corporate – the map shows the process of company development and achievement of long-term goals.
- Industry – stages of development of the industry and market segments.
- Educational – a plan for professional development, training or motivation systems for employees.
- Project – description of project stages.
Classification of roadmaps by implementation method
There are the following ways to implement a roadmap:
- Expert analysis. Developed as a forecast of development at different stages. Compiled in the form of a multi-layer diagram. The essence is that the analyst indicates the key points and their relationship.
- Calendar schedule. Such a roadmap is a list of tasks with deadlines, benchmarks, performers, etc.
- Management plan. The main purpose is to visualize the intermediate results, as well as to coordinate the actions of the performers. As a rule, the management plan is based on the general plan of the project.
- Concept. In this case, the project/product development strategy and possible scenarios are determined. Such a roadmap consists of many diagrams. It simultaneously performs several functions: marketing, communication, planning.
Services for creating a roadmap
Of course, you can create a roadmap in Google Sheets, Excel or use Trello. You can only visualize the development plan with the help of illustrations.
However, there are special services that allow you to create several roadmaps at once. They are simple and convenient: you can easily track the progress of tasks and switch from project to project.
Let’s consider the most popular services.
A great option for creating visualizations. You can test the free version for 14 days, but after that you will have to pay for the purchase. The service offers 5 tariffs. The starting one costs $19/month and is designed for one user for simple visualizations.
Craft.io. An excellent tool for project management. The developer offers a demo version. This service is perfect for IT companies, because it has a built-in system for setting KPIs. If you decide to purchase a license, there are two options:
- For small businesses. The price is $39/month. In this case, users have access to map settings, strategy creation, participant management, etc.
- For large businesses. The price is $ 89/month. The basic settings also include advanced tools for creating a single working platform. For example, branding settings, feedback, etc.
This service is suitable for functional teams working on the Agile principle. The peculiarity of Hygger is that you can create as many as 5 types of roadmaps: development strategy, marketing, product, portfolio, launch of a new project.
The license cost for small businesses is $7/month per user, and for large businesses – $14/month per user.
Suitable for creating complex roadmaps. There is a free version available for 15 days, as well as a demo version. The developer also offers the following tariffs:
- $ 10/month for one user. The ability to manage up to 10 projects, there is 100 GB of cloud storage.
- $ 22/month for one user. Suitable for large companies. You can manage about 250 projects, cloud storage – 1 TB. You can also invite 50 guests.
One of the most popular programs for creating roadmaps. Free access is provided for 30 days. There are also paid tariffs:
- $59/month for one user.
- $99/month for one team member.
The peculiarity of Aha is in the variety of available tools and a wide range of features: collecting feedback from customers, voting, programming tools, etc. There is also a mobile application and the ability to create a presentation based on the collected data. But there is one drawback – the service is only in English.
Roadmaps are created as diagrams. The service is available in several languages, including Russian. There is a free two-week period. Subscription costs $6/month. Of the minuses there is no integration and export.
A simple and convenient service where you can quickly develop a roadmap based on any template proposed by the developer. The site works both in English and Russian (there are other European languages).
- $19/month – for individuals;
- $49/month – for business owners
A free version with a minimal set of options is available.
Stages of roadmap creation
To get the most effective and useful roadmap, let’s consider the stages of its creation.
1. Target audience
Before creating a roadmap, you need to determine who exactly it is intended for – investor, team, customers. This is what determines the type of map and the tasks prescribed in it. Important! The right roadmap convinces all participants in the success of the project.
2. Goals and objectives of the project
At this stage, you do not need to go too deep into the details. Just formulate the key goals and objectives of the project that will help in its implementation.
3. Roadmap format
Above we wrote about the formats of roadmaps. Based on who it is aimed at and for what purposes it is created, choose its format.
4. Team members and outsiders
It is important to distribute tasks between team members. You also need to give them access to the board and discuss all the details and a clear list of responsibilities. Outsiders should only have access to view (or edit, depending on the situation).
This is the most important stage. Here you need to determine which tasks will be implemented first and which will be implemented later or in parallel. If necessary, you can split large tasks into small sprints.
6. Key indicators and resources
It is important to indicate in the roadmap the metrics that will allow you to determine the progress and completion of tasks. It is also necessary to indicate the tools and resources used in the work, because the budget depends on it.
7. Time frame
Be sure to indicate the time frame. For example, 2-3 weeks is enough for small tasks, and for more complex ones – from 4 weeks to a year.
The mistake of many is that they incorrectly estimate the work plan and underestimate the amount of time allocated for solving tasks. It is better to make a reserve of time and complete the task ahead of time.
Above we have listed the existing services where you can make an effective roadmap. Having decided on the software, connect the project participants to it.
The budget calculation includes not only the tools used. It must also include the payment of team members.
The budget can be adjusted. For example, the selected tool was not needed and the budgeted cost can be redirected to other tasks.
A roadmap is a useful tool, but not every company needs it. If it is necessary to implement a small project (for example, a start in social networks), it is enough just to keep a small table where you will record the implementation of tasks.
But for large projects, you can’t do without a roadmap, because it reflects the main and intermediate goals, deadlines for their implementation, baseline indicators, budget, etc.