When asked to create an annual roadmap template for a business, I felt challenged. Quite frankly, the roadmap I use in my own consulting business is very specific to that particular company and its culture. So how this could be applied on a broader scale? Here’s what I came up with.
Step 1: Get Buy-In From The Leadership Team
If you want to make an annual roadmap for the company you work at, it helps if all of your stakeholders are already used to working together and setting goals. There’s nothing worse than trying to create a plan without the support and buy-in from leadership and key stakeholders.
Step 2: Create A Company Vision
I like to start my annual roadmaps with a company vision. I think it helps the whole team stay focused on what’s important for this specific company and its stakeholders. The easiest thing to do is probably to go back in time and work from your mission statement, but I prefer to think about what an ideal future would look like for that particular company. Then you can create a vision statement. For example, if you want to make an annual roadmap for Netflix, you might create something like this:
Step 3: Set Objectives To Get There
I like to set one or two objectives that I think will take the company towards that ideal future. This part of the product roadmap template process is not too different from creating SMART objectives in any other business plan. So let’s say your company wants to set an objective to increase revenue by 10% under a fixed current fixed cost structure.
Step 4: Set Themes To Achieve Objectives
A lot of companies have already created themes that are important to the leaders. It’s helpful to look through all of these themes and pick one that is central to achieving your vision. The way I do it is usually by asking leadership what they would have to be doing differently in order for them not to feel like they are wasting their time at work. And then you can take that theme and create an objective around it.
Step 5: Set KPIs To Track Progress
Now comes the part where you set up your metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs). I like to start with the number of long term themes that are on track. Again, this is pretty similar to what you would do in any other business plan.
Step 6: Identify Risks & Opportunities
One of the best ways to make an annual project roadmap template is to identify risks and opportunities. In most cases, you will have a pretty good idea of what the possible challenges are going forward just by looking at current trends in your industry. It’s helpful to go a bit further and ask leadership if they have any preliminary issues or opportunities they can think of. Then you create a page for each one of them and make a list of the potential risks and opportunities that might impact those KPIs you just created.
Step 7: Set Milestones To Achieve Objectives
Milestones are important in your business roadmap template because they allow you to track progress on the ground level. The most important thing for this part of the process is to make sure that you are including all of the different departments in your company. If finance doesn’t know about a particular milestone, it won’t be able to help you achieve it. The way I like to do it is by holding team meetings and getting everyone’s input on what would be helpful in order to track progress.
For roadmap templates with clearly defined milestones, visit Venngage.
Step 8: Fill In The Blanks
Now all that’s left is filling in the dates and putting together the individual reports. This part of the process isn’t too different than what you would do when creating a traditional business plan. It’s pretty straightforward and all you have to do is add a few details here and there.
Step 9: Set Up Regular Updates & Feedback Loops
The most important thing is to set up regular updates and feedback loops.
I’m a big fan of regular updates and making sure that there are plans in place so that at least once during the year each team member can sit down with leadership and talk about how things are going. Again, the easiest way to do this is by holding team meetings at least every two months in order for everyone to stay on track with what’s most important. For example, if you want to make an annual strategic roadmap template for General Electric, you might create something like this:
Creating an annual strategy roadmap template in seven steps won’t always be easy and it can take a lot of time and effort. But if you really want to make sure that your business is heading in the right direction, then I think that doing this exercise once a year is well worth it.
So what are you waiting for? Start working on your next annual roadmap today!
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