Whenever a project is started in the organizational paradigm, there is a project roadmap that is agreed upon by the management and the stakeholders in order to make sure that the customer requirements are fulfilled and the project development team doesn’t go astray later on.
This roadmap is also useful because it keeps the development team on alert and keeps them focussed on accomplishing their goals within the deadlines that were set for them. If you are in search of such a roadmap then you came to the right place.
In this article, we are going to talk about the Project Roadmap, why do you need it, and how is it different from a project plan. Let’s start at the very beginning and find out what a project roadmap is.
What is a Project Roadmap?
A project roadmap is a visual overview of a project which consists of many different elements like:
- Deliverables: These are the outputs or the results of completing all of the activities of the project development process or some part of it. Deliverables can be anything from fully functional multi-tiered software to a simple document.
- Project Milestones: Project Milestones are bigger than deliverables and are events on the project timeline that indicate a modification in the project’s phase.
- Project Scope: The project scope is the big-picture vision of a project. Basically, it highlights the brainstorming phase of the project and how far can it go.
- High-level Project Schedule: This schedule describes the order in which the project activities and all of the associated milestones are going to be performed.
- Risks: These are the challenges and the supposed issues associated with the project. They can be inflicted on the project from anywhere like the resources for the project might be unavailable, the team members doing something wrong or from some other external factors.
What is the Importance of a Project Roadmap?
Here are five different reasons why a project roadmap is so important.
- Staying on top of the project goals
- Correctly kicking off a project
- Insulating the team members from the stakeholders
- Meeting the expectations of the stakeholders
- Creating the foundations for the project plan
Let’s take a look at all of these different reasons in detail.
1. Staying on Top of the Project Goals
A project roadmap helps the project managers and the development team to stay on top of the project goals that were decided at the start of the project.
That is because more than 67 percent of the organizations in the market stray away from their original goals, and it’s a good thing that the company keeps its original promises and doesn’t go haywire.
2. Correctly Kicking Off a Project
The early days of any project are very unpredictable. You are never going to fully know what is about to happen. That’s why a project roadmap is an incredible tool to have at your disposal.
This roadmap makes sure that your project development process off to a good start and all of the uncertainties related to the project are subdued.
3. Insulating the Team Members from the Stakeholders
If you have been a part of the project management paradigm for a while now, then you would know that some of the stakeholders associated with the project are often too hands-on and that can certainly make the development team members quite uneasy.
While stakeholder involvement is very important for the project development process, it is the micromanagement of the team members, that’s an issue. This is where project roadmaps come to the rescue.
This roadmap convinces the stakeholders about the trajectory that the project development process is taking so that they would focus on the big picture, rather than focussing on the day-to-day activities of the team members.
4. Meeting the Expectations of the Stakeholders
The project roadmap also helps to make the stakeholders happy and keep them informed about the work that the team is performing. This is important because research shows that only 1 in 3 organizations deliver such projects that the stakeholders approve.
And when the stakeholder looks at the roadmap, they are assured that the team is working fine and they are going to be satisfied by the results.
5. Creating the Foundations for the Project Plan
A project plan is a part of the project roadmap as it is a task-level plan to achieve a specific goal or milestone. Once all of the stakeholders that are associated with the project development process, approve of the roadmap, expanding it into a plan is simple.
What is the Difference between Project Roadmap and Project Plan?
Let’s see the difference between the Project roadmap and the project plan.
A project plan is a simple document that consists of the tasks that are needed to be performed, and their respective dates and assignees. This plan helps the managers to communicate the tasks of the project development process to the team members, and to track the progress of the milestones.
A project roadmap on the other hand is an overview of the project without getting into the specifics of it all. It is useful for the project managers, as they can convince the stakeholders that the work is being done correctly and there is no issue with the team’s performance.
How to Create a Project Roadmap?
We know now, what a project roadmap is, but let’s now move on to how we can create one for ourselves. Here are the steps that you can use to create a project roadmap.
- Hold a Project Kick-off Meeting: The purpose of this meeting is to make sure that the stakeholders are known by everyone and also the development team is properly introduced by the stakeholders.
Also, this meeting is held so that all of the requirements of the stakeholders are properly heard and understood. This helps make sure that there are no spaces in information in the future. This meeting also clarifies any and every question that is troubling about the project.
- Collect all of the required information about the project: For a project roadmap to work, you need to collect all of the information you can get about the project.
This information includes all of the deliverables, objectives, stakeholders, dependencies, risks, milestones, and the resources that are required to perform it.
- Create an efficient timeline for the roadmap: The last step is to create an efficient timeline for the project roadmap, and you can do that by using a project management tool that offers a Gantt chart feature that can help you with your road-mapping needs.
The software will help you make sure that all of your task dependencies, task priorities, risks, and milestones are properly highlighted so that you can create an efficient project roadmap in no time.
How to Meet the Stakeholder Expectations?
We have no learned how to create a project roadmap, but now we turn to an important issue, and that is how to meet the expectations of the stakeholders associated with the project. Here’s how you can easily do that:
- Involving them to create the Roadmap: The more you involve the stakeholders in the decision-making process, the less they are going to be involved in the day-to-day process of things. Because by creating the roadmap themselves, they are going to know what will happen in the project development process and when.
- Communicating the Risks of the Project early on: As a project manager, it is your duty to quickly analyze and manage all of the risks and scope creeps associated with the project in the early stages of the development process, by using project management software.
When you have all of the information about the risks and the creeps, the first thing that you should do is that you should communicate that information to the stakeholders, so that they are not surprised in the future, when something unusual pops up.
- Regularly Update the Roadmap: Many different goals and milestones, or even schedules related to the project change throughout the development process, and it is your job as a manager, to make sure that the roadmap is updated regularly to accommodate the changes.
This was a short guide on what a project roadmap is, how important they are, and how you can create one for your project. If you think that we missed something or something incorrect is mentioned in the article, write to us at [email protected].
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