Project Roadmap: What Is It & How To Create One To Manage Stakeholder Expectations?

In this article, you’ll learn how to create a project roadmap to manage stakeholder expectations and keep your team on track to meet deadlines.

We’ll also look at:

What is a project roadmap? How is it different from a project plan? Reasons why you should create a roadmap Project roadmap templates How to create a roadmap timeline? How to keep stakeholders up-to-date with roadmaps?

As a project manager, your job is to keep the stakeholders up-to-date without focusing on the day-to-day details. At the same time, you want to keep your team focused on day-to-day tasks.

By the end of this article, you’ll learn how to maintain this balance using a roadmap for your project.

Let’s begin.

What is a Project Roadmap?

A project roadmap is a high-level, visual overview of a project. Typically represented on a timeline, a roadmap consists of:

Project scope: Project scope represents the big-picture vision of what you wish to achieve at the end of the project. Deliverables: Deliverables are the output or the end results of a project’s activities. Deliverables can be anything — a document, software, or even a finished physical product. High-level project schedule: The schedule describes the chronological order in which project activities are done and milestones achieved. Project milestones: Milestones are events on the project timeline that indicate a change in the project’s phase. Risks: Risks are challenges with project activities, team members, resources, or external factors that may cause the project to veer off its schedule or budget. Why do you Need a Project Roadmap? 

Here’re five reasons why you should consider creating a roadmap:

1. Kick off a project

Early days of a project are often filled with uncertainty.

That is because not enough details are available. No concrete project plans can be created and no resources can be assigned. Consequently, team members may feel lost or stakeholders may lose interest.

A project roadmap is at a level high enough to manage the uncertainty. At the same time, it helps identify enough tasks to get the project started.

2. Stay on top of project goals

According to a project management survey by KPMG, only 33 percent of organizations deliver projects that are likely to meet original goals or business objectives.

Often stakeholders expect teams to accommodate small changes during a project’s execution. But, often such small changes add up and derail the project from its original objectives. Consequently, projects don’t meet business goals.

Project roadmaps help manage these situations. As a result, all project stakeholders stay focused on project goals.

3. Meet stakeholder expectations

The same KPMG survey also found out that only one in 3 organizations deliver projects that are likely to achieve stakeholder satisfaction.

Project roadmaps keep stakeholders updated on the project objectives, progress, and roadblocks. That way stakeholders can make decisions at the right time to keep a project on track.

4. Insulate team members from stakeholders

Some stakeholders like a hands-on approach to managing projects.

While stakeholder involvement is crucial, micromanaging stakeholders can make the team uncomfortable.

Such a situation can also lead to confusion with team members reporting to and taking instructions from multiple managers.

High-level roadmaps help keep the team safe from stakeholder interference. At the same time, stakeholders stay focused on the roadmap without worrying about the day-to-day project activities.

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