Roadmaps are essential for visualizing & communicating performance of both near-term & multi-year strategic plans
Regardless of your industry, whether you’re an executive; an enterprise or departmental PMO; a portfolio, program or product manager; or anyone in between – everyone struggles with the same thing. Building and maintaining the roadmaps they need to better visualize the performance and communicate of their near-term and long-term strategic plans.
Roadmapping is the strategic process used to plan projects, products, programs, portfolios, and other business ventures. In essence it's the planning process and time visualization of the steps, milestones, actions, processes, resources, and timelines associated with the business activity, from inception to completion. While roadmapping is a strategic process, it's fundamentally an execution-focused project planning tool.
Strategic roadmapping, often associated with portfolio roadmaps, is the process used by senior leadership to track the high-level progress of strategic planning, budgets, execution, delivery, and vision associated with project roadmaps. The strategic roadmap is designed to provide the data needed for agile portfolio governance.
Roadmaps are critical for their unique ability to help organizations visualize, process, and clearly communicate the performance and go-live dates for in-flight initiatives. These important tools also enable all stakeholders to communicate multi-year strategic intent. By providing the right level of detail to the people who need it, when they need it, roadmaps are a core capability for any organization looking to more effectively align execution with strategy and vision.
For most organizations, projects are managed in a variety of execution methodologies and tools. This results in disparate data residing in silos across different systems, making it particularly challenging to consolidate the information needed to build roadmaps. To the extent company data can be consolidated, a lack of standardized roadmap templates – plus the time-consuming processes used to manually build static roadmaps in PowerPoint or other visualization tools – results in roadmaps that are out-of-date the moment they’re rendered. Business resources, teams, capabilities, and key requirements change so quickly that the static roadmap is completely impractical. Clearly, an automated process is needed to produce roadmaps that update dynamically as the underlying data changes.
Effectively orchestrating all initiatives to execute on strategies requires a comprehensive understanding of the “six degrees of separation” between all investments – including projects, programs, epics and more. Roadmaps are crucial tools that provide product managers, portfolio managers, teams, and executives with an easy way to visualize the performance of key milestones and track the risks in association with interdependencies between projects, programs, epics and more that could impact outcomes, deliverable, and the strategic plan.
Every organization must confront the challenge of managing investments across a variety of execution methodologies – something we call the tri-modal reality. Roadmaps provide you with visibility across all initiatives, while also giving you insight into the dependencies between all work, regardless of how it is executed. Roadmap templates can also provide an additional dimension, enabling you to create specific roadmaps to view all projects by execution type, including timeline, boards, feature roadmap and more.
Roadmaps are powerful tools that can truly transform how an organization manages investments. But they shouldn’t be relegated to just projects. Indeed, the real power of roadmaps becomes apparent as organizations go beyond projects and begin to use roadmaps to establish, visualize, manage and communicate the dependencies between projects, programs, products, services, IT assets and a host of other entities across the enterprise.
To master strategic portfolio management you must first acknowledge these key imperatives: