How Strategy Roadmaps Turn Strategic Visions Into Action

by Jasmin Iordanidis, Product Marketing Manager

22 Jul 2021

Most strategies fail because the execution falls short.

A strategy roadmap helps bridge this gap between vision and actions. It gives you a visual of how to execute a strategy, and it outlines key results in an appropriate time frame. (The product roadmap embodies the same principles but on a smaller scale.)

Basically, the strategic roadmap can help team leaders plan how to achieve the goals of a strategic vision and share the business vision with stakeholders.

Here, you’ll learn why you need a roadmap and how to plan one.

Why do you need a strategic roadmap?

Business plans are ideas on paper. Strategy roadmaps are practical.

Agile teams and leaders often outline a strategic plan to achieve a company vision. However, most leaders do not define how to achieve this vision.

Strategic roadmaps fill the gap between business strategy creation and implementation, so team members know exactly what to do.

A roadmap gives a visual representation of what tasks need to be carried out. It also clarifies stakeholder roles and responsibilities and helps evaluate whether you have enough resources to achieve your goals. Lastly, it can be used as a communication tool for teams and stakeholders.

Without roadmapping, organizations can lose sight of the vision, communications become unclear, and teams fall short.

When you create a strategic roadmap, you are making an in-depth plan for meaningful changes. You also understand why the changes are necessary, what tasks to undertake to realize those changes, and the sequence in which specific actions must occur.

Create your strategic roadmap in 6 steps

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Once you understand the need for change and the sequence to apply the changes, you can establish a strategic roadmap for any process.

Remember that while you're roadmapping, you should always link your strategic roadmap objectives with the business vision as you work through these steps.

1. Understand the change you want to achieve

Ask yourself what obstacles stand in the way of achieving the vision. Once you outline the challenges you face, you can establish ways to overcome them.

2. Establish short-term objectives

Here, you need to develop long-term strategic plans and short-term objectives. Then, you can figure out how to achieve them. Each short-term objective must link to a specific goal from the business vision.

3. Evaluate your resources

Here, product managers should address their resources (staff, time, finances, technology, etc.) and whether these are enough to achieve their strategic goals. If not, you’ll either need to adjust the plan or find more resources.

Keep relevant KPIs in mind when evaluating your resources. For example, if you want to monitor customer acquisition, you may need additional software to measure current and future service levels.

You can use change indicators to show where your resources are at for each strategic roadmap action.

Change indicators can include:

N: No change needed

L, M, H: A low, medium, or high-level change is necessary

New: New capabilities are required to bring about change

Link these indicators with each objective.

4. Plan how you’ll gain resources

Now, you need to develop a process to gain any needed resources.

An example of this: To increase sales, you’ll hire a new salesperson. That means chatting with human resources about searching and assessing candidates.

5. Develop the initiatives

You should now question how to group actions. With a software development project, you’ll follow a Scrum workflow process. This means you’ll break features down into smaller action items for easier delivery to meet sprint targets.

As in step 4, you may identify more initiatives than you can manage. Use prioritization metrics, use a SWOT analysis, or a balanced scorecard to decide which initiatives to tackle first. One way to do this is to number the initiatives by their importance and limit each action's importance. You will probably end up only implementing the top five initiatives, depending on your capabilities.

6. Create the strategy roadmap

Gather all the information from these steps, and record them in an official document or presentation.

When creating the roadmap, consider:

  • Simplifying the road mapping process so all stakeholders can understand
  • Clearly communicating why the change is necessary and how the roadmap helps with the visualization of the impending process
  • Showing what changes should be made and how these will solve the problem
  • Making direct associations between the "why," "what," and "how" so that you can record any needed alterations

Where can you use a strategic roadmap?

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There are many possible uses for a strategy roadmap. Here are several examples to consider:

1. Getting buy-in from investors

A startup can use a strategy roadmap to give potential investors everything they need to know about the company’s goals.

A startup roadmap is an excellent complement to a business plan. Both formats demonstrate in-depth thinking about existing capabilities and how you can move from a current to a future state. Prioritization of capabilities also demonstrates reliable strategic thinking.

2. Product road mapping

As mentioned, the product roadmap is like a small-scale strategic roadmap.

Team leaders must also develop a product strategy and show product teams how to achieve those changes. Product roadmaps help to clarify new product development and iterations and link dependencies.

The outcome is the development of successful products.

(Pro tip: Easy Agile Roadmaps for Jira can help you create the perfect product template.)

3. Capability-based planning

You can use a strategic roadmap to create change across the organization. Your business plan should address the people, processes, and physical changes you’ll need for a successful change initiative. Prioritize the most important initiatives, and list these on your roadmap to provide a practical course of action for team members to follow.

Make a strategic vision a reality with a strategic roadmap

Product teams can clarify backlogs and timeframes and prioritize resources with product roadmaps. Managers can link strategic visions with strategic roadmaps. Roadmaps help bridge the divide between strategy and goal achievement.

Start enacting your vision with a strategy roadmap initiative today. To get started, check out Easy Agile Roadmaps for Jira. Then, follow whichever roadmap template you need to achieve your goals.

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