A Complete Guide to a Project Roadmap

April 21, 2021
computer software project

In this blog, we will briefly talk about a project roadmap, why it is essential, and how it helps manage stakeholder expectations while keeping your project team on track to meet deadlines. As a project manager, it is your job to keep the clients/stakeholders updated about the ongoing process without explaining day-to-day internal details. And to achieve so, a project roadmap comes in handy. Let’s explore how.

What is a Project Roadmap?

A project roadmap is a top-level visual representation of what the overall project, tasks, milestones, and progress would look like. It is typically represented on a project timeline as per proceeding tasks. A clear project roadmap consists of:

  1. Project Scope: It represents what you want to achieve by the end of the project – a big-picture vision.
  2. Deliverables: These are the result of the project activities. It can be anything; a simple document, software, finished product, or a task.
  3. Top-Level Project Schedule: This represents the chronological order of all the project tasks and activities that need to be completed and achieved in their given timeframes.
  4. Project Milestones: These are the predefined milestones on a project timeline that specifies a change in a project stage.
  5. Project Risks: These are the risks associated with resources, tasks, milestones, team members, or any other external factors that may affect the project by causing a delay in its completion on schedule.

Why do you need a Project Roadmap?

Here are some of the reasons why you should consider having a solid project roadmap:

  1. Kick-off your project in the right direction: There is a lot of uncertainty at the start of every project because there isn’t enough information or details. Due to this uncertainty, it often gets difficult to create any concrete plans and assign any resources. This is where a project roadmap kicks in, a high-level plan, enough to tackle the uncertainty at the start of each project. Simultaneously, it helps you identify the important tasks and get the project started in the right direction, and everything else comes along as you move on with the project.
  2. Stay atop on project goals: A recent survey by KMPG suggests that only 33% of the organizations complete projects on time or meet the project timelines without any significant delays. In most cases, stakeholders ask for minor changes with often leads to other changes, and consequently, the project derails from its original completion schedule. Resultantly, organizations fail to meet project goals and deadlines. With a project roadmap in hand, it becomes easier for the team and project manager to complete the assigned tasks to have a contingency plan for any unforeseen changes.
  3. Exceed Expectations of the Stakeholders: In any project, it is crucially important to meet the stakeholders’ expectations that fall well within the project scope and timeline. To achieve stakeholder satisfaction, organizations can stick to the project plan and execute project milestones within their designated timeframes. Furthermore, having a project roadmap would help keep the stakeholders updated about the ongoing progress, objectives, and possible risks. That way, all the involved stakeholders can make timely decisions to keep the project on track and avoid unnecessary delays.

Project Roadmap Vs. Project Plan: What is the difference?

Let’s see what differentiates a project roadmap from a project plan. A project plan is a very detailed document that entails:

  • What tasks need to be done?
  • When do they need to be done?
  • By whom?

It is mainly used as an internal plan by the project manager, which helps him communicate the tasks to the right team members and helps track the progress of the project milestones. A project plan can be created by using task sheets, project boards, or timelines. On the other hand, a project roadmap provides a bird-eye of the project without getting into minute details. It is often used for external communication, where a project manager communicates the particulars with the stakeholders about the project’s progress.

A refined and predefined project roadmap helps kick off a project with safety and helps manage the stakeholder expectations throughout the project. Moreover, it allows you to keep your project team motivated to stick to the deadlines and achieve the milestones within their timelines.

If you are interested in learning more about creating a project roadmap on automated office software, then feel free to get in touch with our custom development company in San Diego.

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