Project roadmap

What is a project roadmap and what should it include?

A project roadmap is a basic visual representation of what is expected to happen during a project, and when. It lays out the project in a digestible timeline format that will keep all project stakeholders on the same page.

Project roadmap presentation varies from team to team, but the following elements are usually included:

  • A visual format that either breaks up the project schedule over regular time periods, or represents future events in some kind of order (timelines are commonly used);
  • Milestones, indicating when key objectives will be met;
  • Deliverables, indicating when lesser tasks feeding into milestones will be done; and
  • Threats to the project, such as the planned launch of a rival product.

Various additional features can be included on a project roadmap. For example, you might encounter a project roadmap with dependencies, which denote situations where completion of one deliverable or milestone is necessary to the completion of another.

How to create a project roadmap

The form a project roadmap takes should be based on the nature of the project.

For small or straightforward projects, you would typically create a simple project roadmap using normal office software or a project roadmap template. The items featured should be determined through a mix of stakeholder interviews, team meetings and situational analysis.

For larger or more complex projects, the best option is often using project management software with the functionality to create intricate graphics, such as Gannt charts showing dependencies and current project status. With that said, it’s important to bear in mind that a roadmap should never be overly detailed. The aim is to create a top-level document that gives every stakeholder some certainty about the direction of travel.

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