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Jorge AntonettiDecember 20 20224 min read

5 things to know before you start Roadmapping

Visualizing the efforts and progress of your business is not only critical but absolutely necessary as global collaboration increases and the demand for visual communication that collaboration presses upon us grows in lockstep.

Businesses and their teams have increased their reliance on roadmaps to communicate, align, and monitor business operations to try and ensure agility, success and ultimately growth.  

Roadmapping solutions

Businesses are buying roadmapping solutions. The benefits of having your roadmaps online are clear. They act as a shared source of truth for the companies overall direction, priorities, dependencies, and progress over time, and help to keep team members on the same page in terms of an initiative's scope, objectives, and timeline. They also help those in charge communicate objectives and share status updates quickly.

Digital roadmaps can have both stability and flexibility. Forward-thinking businesses recognize that we operate in a time of ‘constant transition’. Rigid plans are no longer helpful in this ever-changing environment. Things change, inside and outside the organization.

Benefit of roadmapping

The core benefit of roadmapping is to visualize your business strategy, making it easier to communicate with all stakeholders and align to business outcomes. Designing your roadmap to be visually attractive is key for engagement and the level of buy-in from stakeholders. 

Poor communication costs an estimated $1.2 trillion annually

The clear direction to create a roadmap can be a game-changer for the business, saving enormous amounts of money—and effort from the teams that are likely already at or near capacity.

Finding the right roadmapping tool

Although spending is increasing, not all roadmaps, nor the tools used to visualize them, are the same. According to Accenture 80% of businesses will have switched software suppliers in a 24-month period with different parts of the organization weighing in on product must-haves to for their own needs.  

Frequent tool changes coupled with increases in purchase timelines due to more stakeholders being involved in the decision making process means that more and more resources are being used to land on a final working solution for many organizations.

Getting value quickly

This ‘time to learning’ cycle needs to be compressed to get to value faster with roadmap products that deliver all the elements organizations require.

We're constantly looking for ways to improve how businesses tackle roadmapping so you can show off the progress your team has made on those mission critical objectives, while freeing you and your team to make informed decisions faster to keep things moving.

To kick-start your efforts and keep our commitment, here are five things to know before you start building your own roadmap.


1. Remember why you are Roadmapping

An obvious but often missed step in your roadmapping journey is asking WHY is the roadmap needed?

Is it your intention in creating a colored Gantt chart to communicate:

  • Next steps?
  • Who is working on what?
  • What initiatives are in progress?
  • A 1, 3, 5, or 10 year plan?
  • Alignment with a pre-defined milestones in a process or cycle?

These questions are going to help determine the structure of your Gantt chart or Timespan, and what attributes you will put on either axis among others. Simply put, starting with 'why' and sticking to it allows you to reinforce through structure, what questions can be answered by looking at and presenting your roadmap.

Only 13 of companies always prepare a business case for new projects. (1920 × 1080px)

2. Always craft value driven milestones

Those little diamonds along the chevrons of your roadmap are not there to add bling to your visual - they exist to indicate critical deliveries across your plan. Usually adorned with a date or summary title, milestones should always be tied to a theme or clear value proposition.

Crafting value driven milestones is the safest way to show how this roadmap is aligned to your business goals. Another way to power up is to tie existing business metrics to efforts shown in your roadmap.

3. Clarify your plotting approach by determining restraints

No one likes overpromising and underdelivering, not one soul. And a good way for your plan to fall into this oblivion is to plot your efforts like you have all the time, money, and talent in the world (although this is a good approach to goal setting).

The best way to avoid this is to plan your initiatives like you have a limit on at least one resource. Which resources and how many you consider to incorporate in your planning is based on your ambition appetite.

4. Don’t treat your Roadmap as a to-do list

Roadmaps are not to-do lists or project trackers. Whilst they can display relevant information to guide those things, they are first and foremost a high-level planning tool and should be treated as such.

We often lose stakeholder interest and the value of roadmapping by displaying too much detail. Make sure lower level-tasks and activities aren't getting in the way of communicating the bigger picture - display big efforts that show what the business will achieve by following your roadmap.

5. Tie your Roadmap to specific business goals

According to McKinsey...blog - the average IT Project ends up...Whether it's individual items inside your roadmap or the entire thing, your efforts should align with a specific business goal. Communicating this relationship, no matter how it's done, is the last and most important piece in building a roadmap that creates value for the people around you. These goals are the things that will be achieved at the end of your timespan, connecting efforts to the bigger picture and how your plan will take us there!

Visualize your business roadmaps

SharpCloud is committed to show you the right way to build a roadmap and provide you with a simple solution that not only reveals the big picture but allows you to dive as deep into roadmap initiatives data for unapparelled insight. 

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