Building a product is a huge undertaking that requires commitment from not just those involved in building the project, but also those investing in the project and the management driving the project. Helping all those involved in the project understand the project goals and benefits of the project, ensures buy-in and commitment from the stakeholders and investors, and helps the development team better plan and space out their work. The project roadmap that presents a bird’s eye view of the project is an essential part of strategic planning and a must for projects of any size or type.
The project roadmap is a visual representation of the goals, mission, vision, resource allocations and key deliverables of the project. It is a high-level view and aims to provide stakeholders and those involved in development with a macro level understanding of important objectives and milestones.
A project roadmap is an easy and simple to follow guide for the entire project. It allows the key stakeholders and project personnel the ability to visualise the project from start to finish and make important decisions without getting into the minute details of the project, which may be more time consuming.
A project roadmap should help convey:
The project roadmap is an everyday reminder of the objectives or final goal of the project. During the project, changes can be made to several things. Priorities may change, new requirements may arise, release dates may be pushed based on market demand etc. This may need some re-thinking in terms of team and resource allocation and planning of releases. Through this all, the team and others involved with the project should not lose sight of the overall vision and goal of the project. The project roadmap serves as a ready reckoner and a reminder of the high-level goals that must be accomplished, helping the team make more intelligent decisions.
The project roadmap is also an essential tool when project information must be conveyed to investors, stakeholders or clients. Any of these parties may show an interest in understanding the position and progress of the project but may not show the inclination to get down to the micro level details of the project or sit through the task-by-task details of the project. The project roadmap serves as a good visual representation that can be shown to interested parties to help them understand the strategic milestones the project has reached.
What information should you add to your project roadmap and more importantly what should you keep out? What elements would you add in the roadmap to make it relevant to the audience? While each project and organization require its own specific roadmap, there are certain key elements that must be included in all roadmaps.
The Project Scope Statement is an important part of the project roadmap and maps out details of the project objectives, deliverables, assumptions, requirements and constraints. It is a legally binding agreement between the project sponsors and the project manager and as such must be included in the project plan.
The project scope statement highlights:
A project roadmap is common for different types of projects. But what’s essential is that each team should find out ways to enhance effectiveness and maximize value. This can be done by:
A project roadmap offers many benefits including:
Project roadmap challenges, include:
The roadmap and project plan are two different elements of the project. While the project plan outlines the tactical details of a project, the roadmap outlines the strategic details of the project. So, it is obvious that the macro level document that focuses on the overall, high-level view of the project should be created first. This will help as a source to create the more detailed document that is the project plan. Getting an understanding of the overall goal will help in breaking down tasks, roles and responsibilities.
There’s a reason why we create the roadmap and that is so that all those involved, especially those outside the project team, such as management, stakeholders and investors, understand what the project is about, its objectives and goals. If you present this information in a way that is complicated or doesn’t make sense to external stakeholders, then there would be no point is making a roadmap. Hence makes sure to use tools that are clear and help to present information in a visually appealing and easily understandable manner.
Any changes in scope, release date modification or change in resource allocation etc should immediately be updated in the project roadmap. This is especially true for complex projects that are very likely to undergo changes due to scope changes or the long duration. Since this is a document that serves as a view on the project dashboard and both stakeholders and project team members can access it, keeping it updated always is important; so that anyone accessing it will know where the project stands and the status of deliverables. Old or non-relevant information can mislead stakeholders and even damage your reputation.
The project roadmap sets the stage for you to start the work on your project. The creation of the project roadmap should not be neglected as it brings all those involved on board and ensures that everyone is in alignment with project goals and objectives. The project roadmap gives teams the clarity to be effective, productive and motivated.
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