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Project management ABC: R for Roadmapping

Strategic navigation aid for your project and portfolio management

Project management ABC: R for Roadmapping

A clear strategic direction is crucial for the success of a company. However, it can be difficult to break down the long-term vision into short-term actionable activities. Road mapping helps to create a clear roadmap that defines goals and priorities and links these to concrete action plans. In product development, technology management, or corporate strategy, for example, roadmapping is an indispensable tool for structuring and visualizing even complex challenges. We explain what exactly is behind this concept and how companies can use it as a navigation aid to achieve their goals.

What is a Roadmap?

A roadmap is a strategic planning document that serves to illustrate goals, priorities, and the timeline for the implementation of a product development, project management, or corporate strategy, for example. It provides an easy-to-understand and well-structured visual roadmap and thus helps to inform teams or stakeholders.
A roadmap usually includes the following elements:

  • Goals, vision, and subject areas: The roadmap often begins by outlining the overarching goals and long-term vision of the project, product, or portfolio. This provides a context for the subsequent steps.
  • Deadlines: The most important milestones or stages on the way to achieving the goals are also typically part of the roadmap. They are arranged in chronological order and mark important points of progress.
  • Projects, task blocks, priorities, and features: In addition, the roadmap specifies and prioritizes the various projects, task blocks, features, or functions. This allows the roadmap to be divided into meaningful sections.
  • Schedule, responsibilities, and resources: The roadmap usually also contains a schedule that specifies when certain tasks or milestones are to be achieved. A more detailed roadmap can also include information on responsibilities and the resources required, such as personnel or budget.
  • Risks and dependencies: If necessary, potential risks or dependencies are also presented in the roadmap to indicate possible obstacles or bottlenecks that could affect progress.

The difference to project planning

Road mapping and project planning are two different concepts, but they are closely linked and can complement each other. These are the most important differences:

Roadmapping Project planning
Perspective Strategic instrument for planning the long-term direction and development of products, projects, or companies Detailed definition of phases, tasks, resources, schedules, and budgets to implement a specific project
Focus Planning at a strategic level with a focus on defining goals, priorities, milestones, and time frames. Mostly cross-project. Planning at an operational level in relation to a specific project with a clearly defined start and end date
Timeframe Planning usually over a longer period – often several quarters or years Usually, shorter-term planning than with a roadmap, as it is only limited to the duration of the project
Purpose Clear and visual presentation of the strategy to obtain an overall view, communicate a shared vision, and involve stakeholders Detailed action plans for the implementation of a project, for example with the help of a Gantt chart

Although road mapping and project planning have different focuses, they can complement each other to enable comprehensive planning and control of activities. In project management in particular, a roadmap is a good starting point for creating other important documents for project planning, such as a project schedule.

The types of roadmaps

Roadmaps can view an entire company from a very high-level perspective, or they can be created in great detail, for example for a specific project. Therefore, different types of roadmaps are used depending on the use case and context. These are some of the most common types of roadmaps:

  • Product roadmap: A product roadmap shows the strategic direction of a product or product development over a certain period. It typically includes planned functions, releases, or improvements and is used to guide product development.
  • Technology roadmap: The technology roadmap visualizes the planned development of technologies or technology platforms over a defined period. For example, it can include the introduction of new technologies, the updating of existing systems, or the integration of external tools or solutions.
  • Release roadmap: A release roadmap shows the planned releases or versions of a product or software over a certain period. It specifies which functions or improvements are to be included in each version and when they are expected to be available.
  • Marketing roadmap: The marketing roadmap outlines a company’s planned marketing activities and initiatives. For example, it can include the launch of new products, campaigns, events, or content and is used to plan and coordinate the marketing strategy.
  • Strategic roadmap: A strategic roadmap shows the long-term direction and development of a company or organization. It typically includes strategic goals, initiatives, and milestones and helps to communicate the strategic vision. This ensures that all business activities are aligned with it.
  • Portfolio roadmap: A portfolio roadmap provides an overview of the entire project portfolio of a company or organization. It typically shows the priorities, resource allocation, and dependencies between different projects and is used to plan and manage the portfolio strategy.

Advantages of Roadmapping

A roadmap is not necessary for every project. However, especially for large, complex projects, it can help to keep everyone involved informed and up to date on the most important goals.

  • Clear strategic direction: Roadmaps help to define a clear and consistent direction for products, projects, or companies. Even if they do not have to contain concrete details about how the goals are to be achieved, they describe the long-term vision and thus enable all those involved to understand it, work towards it, and derive priorities.
  • Better decision-making: By visualizing planned activities, their linkages, milestones, and resources, roadmaps can facilitate decision-making. They provide a basis for prioritizing tasks and allocating resources.
  • Promotes communication and stakeholder engagement: Roadmaps also serve as an effective communication tool to inform teams or stakeholders about the planned development and to involve them. They provide a common platform for discussion and coordination.
  • Simplifies resource optimization: By identifying resource requirements and bottlenecks at an early stage, roadmaps can help to plan and use resources more efficiently and avoid bottlenecks. This can help to increase productivity and reduce costs.
Portfolio Management - Timeline

How to create a roadmap

Roadmaps can be very flexible – not only because there are different types of roadmaps, but also because the level of detail can be freely defined. Regardless of this, the creation of a roadmap always works similarly:

1. Definition of goals and vision:

The first step is to define the overarching goals and long-term vision of the company or project. So first clarify the strategic priorities and set clear, measurable goals to be reflected in the roadmap. This also means that you need to understand the current situation precisely, as this forms the basis for the roadmap.

2. Planning steps, initiatives, and milestones:

Based on the defined goals and the analysis of the current situation, the most important steps, initiatives and milestones required to achieve the goals are now identified. These can be, for example, content-related aspects such as product functions, phases of a project or task blocks.

3. Prioritization:

The identified initiatives and milestones are then prioritized to ensure that the most important and strategic activities receive the most focus and resources. This can be based on criteria such as strategic importance, ROI (return on investment), customer needs, dependencies or technical requirements.

4. Creation of the roadmap format:

The next step is to determine the format and structure of the roadmap. This includes deciding on the type of roadmap (e.g. product roadmap, technology roadmap), the timeframe (e.g. quarters, years), the visual design and the integration of relevant metrics or key figures.

5. Development of the roadmap:

Building on the prioritized initiatives and milestones, the actual roadmap is now created. Planned activities, releases, milestones, and their timeframes are therefore transferred to the roadmap. It is important to ensure that the roadmap is realistic and takes into account both short-term and long-term goals.

6. Review, coordination, and communication:

In the next step, it is important to review the created roadmap with relevant stakeholders and adjust it if necessary. This ensures that it adequately takes into account the needs and expectations of all parties involved. This often involves discussions about priorities, resource allocation, and timeframes. Once the review is complete, the finalized roadmap is communicated and published to inform all relevant stakeholders.

7. Update and adapt:

Roadmaps should be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure that they keep pace with changing requirements, market conditions, and the company’s strategic goals. So stay flexible and make adjustments as needed.


In a world that spins as fast as that of entrepreneurship, it is crucial to keep your eyes on the goal, even if the path to it is uncertain. This is where road mapping comes in because, like a business navigation device, it provides a clear route through the challenges and opportunities of business life. From vision to reality, from plan to implementation, road mapping helps to transform strategic goals into tangible milestones and ensure success.

Project and portfolio management software such as myPARM can help you create, manage, and monitor roadmaps. For example, you can evaluate and plan your project portfolio, display dependencies and allocate resources.

Learn more about the project and portfolio management software myPARM:

Would you like to get to know myPARM in a demo presentation? Then make an appointment with us right away!

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