Roadmaps: What are they? and how can you create them.

In this article, we define what a roadmap is and how your business can create and manage them in order to hit your goals.
Written by
Sean Riordan
Published on
April 30, 2024
Roadmaps: What are they? and how can you create them.

According to The Economist 88% C-level executives say executing strategic initiatives successfully is "essential" or "very important" for their organisations’ competitiveness.

But 61% of those same people acknowledge their firms often struggle to bridge the gap between strategy formulation and its day-to-day implementation.

This highlights a frequent disconnect between a strategic vision and a practical plan of implementation.

Creating a roadmap is an excellent tool to bridge these gaps, providing a clear blueprint of how your company will achieve its corporate goals.

In this article, we define what a roadmap is and how your business can create and manage them in order to hit your goals.

What is a Roadmap?

A roadmap is a strategic plan that outlines a company’s vision, objectives, and the steps required to achieve them over a specific period.

It serves as a guiding document that aligns an organisation's strategic vision with its practical implementation.

A roadmap can be visualised in various formats such as flowcharts, Gantt charts, or specialised roadmap software, making it accessible and understandable to stakeholders across the organisation.

It is a dynamic tool that may be updated as priorities shift and new challenges emerge, keeping the organisation agile and focused on its goals.

What are the different types of Roadmap?

Each roadmap type caters to a specific aspect of an organisation, providing a visual timeline that outlines key milestones and necessary resources.

Some examples of roadmap types include:

Product Roadmap

Focuses on the development and planned evolution of a product. It outlines features, updates, and key milestones.

Technology Roadmap

Plans the adoption of new technologies within an organisation, including updates to existing systems and IT infrastructure developments.

Project Roadmap

Provides an overview of a project’s key phases, deliverables, and dependencies, helping manage timelines and resources.

Strategic Roadmap

Defines the overall strategy for a business including initiatives to achieve corporate goals.

Departmental Roadmap

A departmental roadmap can be highly effective within a nested strategy approach, provided all departments are fully committed to it.

This alignment ensures that each department's plans contribute towards the overarching corporate goals, creating a cohesive and unified strategy across a business.

Advantages of Using Roadmaps

Using a roadmap offers lots of benefits which include:

Flexibility of Strategy Approach

Roadmaps work well with lots of design thinking strategy approaches like nested strategy approach and problem based strategy approaches. For nested strategy approaches you would expect to have department level roadmaps across the business all working towards the corporate level goals.

You could also do the same for problem based approach depending on the size of the company.


It provides a clear outline of the steps needed to achieve business objectives, making it easier for everyone to understand the direction and focus.


It aligns all team members and departments towards common goals, ensuring that efforts are coordinated and resources are used effectively.

Tracking Progress

It enables businesses to monitor their progress against set milestones, helping to identify any delays or issues early on.


It allows businesses to adjust their strategies based on feedback and changes in the market or business environment, maintaining relevance and efficiency.


By laying out a clear path and showing achievable targets along the way, a roadmap can motivate and engage team members.

How to Identify Roadmap Solutions?

There are lots of ways to identify solutions to form a roadmap. At Distinction, here are some of the ways we work with clients to generate roadmap solutions:

The process used will depend on the nature of the business problem but these products have allowed us to deliver roadmaps and results for hundreds of clients over the past 20 years.

Identifying solutions in a sprint process allows for quicker solutions through accelerated problem solving and enhanced collaboration.  

What Goes in Your Roadmap?

As every roadmap should be unique to the problems and goals of each business it is not easy to predict what will need to go in your roadmap.

We have included an illustrative example below to give you an idea of how it could look.

Departmental Roadmap Example

Example of a departmental roadmap

Problem: Increase MQL lead volume by 100% per month within the next 12 months.

Strategic Question: How might we enhance our lead generation strategies to attract and convert more high-quality prospects?

This example includes actions for one year and is for a small team including a head of marketing and a marketing executive.

Roadmap Solutions

The solutions in this example roadmap have been created with a RACI chart so it is known who is responsible, accountable, consulted and informed for each item.

They have also been split across three areas of the business. Including, website updates, SEO and marketing activities.

Breakdown of roadmap tasks.

Task Breakdown

Each coloured item in the example contains a task and all tasks include a description of what needs to be actioned.

It also includes a status of to-do in progress or done.

Example of a defined roadmap task.

Defining Larger Roadmap Items

If a task is too complicated to be easily defined or it needs multiple input it may be best to set it up as a project.

The image below shows an example roadmap item.

Items like this could have their own discovery session and the roadmap could be updated with more detailed information following those discussions.

The roadmap is a dynamic document, open to adjustments as new information becomes available. This structure allows you to plan further into the future knowing you can adapt if business needs change significantly.

Task example that requires discovery.

How to Make Sure Your Roadmap is Implemented Successfully?

Responsibility ultimately depends on your role in the business. In our example the head of marketing would have overall responsibility for its implementation but everyone should be equally invested.

If our example was for a product roadmap it might be a product owner, product marketer or head of technology that would be responsible.

Stakeholder Alignment

Ensuring that all key stakeholders agree on the goals, strategic questions, and the proposed solutions or approaches is essential. This alignment prevents conflicts and ensures collective effort towards common objectives.

Resource Allocation

Determining what resources (human, financial, technological) are required to implement the roadmap and securing these resources upfront can greatly enhance the chances of success.

If tasks need to be completed assigning responsibility as early as possible and ensuring those completing the work know what the outcomes are.

Implementation Timeline

Setting a realistic timeline for achieving the milestones laid out in the roadmap. This includes defining clear start and end dates for each phase or activity.

Monitoring and Adjustment

Establishing a process for regular review and adaptation of the roadmap is crucial. This ensures that the roadmap remains relevant and effective.

This should be at least once a month but it could even be once a week or day depending on the complexity, volume of work needed and the size of the team or teams involved.

A roadmap will work in agile and waterfall methodologies so you can tailor it to what suits your company.

Roadmap Owner

The roadmap needs an owner who is responsible for its implementation. Their job is to setup meetings to refine the tasks and update the status of current tasks in the roadmap.


We hope this article has given you some takeaways to consider a roadmap for your business.

Roadmaps if implemented successfully can bridge the the gap between strategy formulation and its day-to-day implementation. They are the key to ensuring strategies are a success.

They make the delivery of goals much more manageable, increasing efficiency and helping make sure employees are bought into their work and the goals of the business.

If you would like to discuss your current roadmap or build one to solve a business challenge get in touch with us today.

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