Project managers have a simple mission: to lead the project and team to the end with a 100% success rate.
They need to carry out this responsibility by keeping every involved person in the loop and communicating the project’s goal as a story. Here comes the project roadmap template!
A project roadmap helps a project manager deliver a bird’s eye view of the project to the stakeholders in an easy-to-understand format. The ultimate goal is to get all stakeholders on board without any doubts in their minds related to the project milestones, components, budget, and the ultimate objective.
It is simply storytelling where you simplify the technical materials with real-life examples. At the end of the presentation, there should be a clear expectation setting among the stakeholders, managers, or the executing team members.
Being a project manager, you have a lot of things to worry about, and a project roadmap should not be another one. That’s why various veteran project management agencies and professionals rely on ready-to-use project roadmap templates. Continue reading to find an in-depth discussion on the project roadmap and some of the professional templates you can use.
What Is a Roadmap in Project Management?
The project roadmap is an easy-to-understand, high-level, and granular overview of vital components of any project. It’s a non-confidential and public eye-friendly resource that project managers can share with a public or professional group to explain the following quickly:
- A bite-sized snapshot of the aims of the project.
- Key project deliverables.
- Dependencies of tasks of the project.
- Crucial project milestones.
- Project risks.
Use it to convey the project’s story before and during project commencement. They enable you to share high-level plans, set proper expectations, and accentuate the vital components of the upcoming works of the project.
Importance of Creating a Project Roadmap
A project roadmap is an effortless way to express the goals or objectives of a project. Sometimes, such reports can be tweaked to explain project status and progress pace. Find below the significance of having a project roadmap for any project:
#1. Managing Expectations of Stakeholders
A project roadmap template helps you set the right expectations among the project owners and stakeholders. When you visualize costs, resources, and timeline succinctly, your supervisors will be able to help you source your project needs.
#2. Convey Goals and Plans Easily
Project roadmaps are usually in visual formats with a high-level overview. Thus, it’s an important document to quickly relay vital information to stakeholders.
#3. Encourage Faster Decisions
Your project roadmap clearly outlines the essential deliverables and goals. Whenever you encounter a conflict of task prioritization during the project, refer to the original project roadmap document to understand which task should be expedited.
#4. Craft Updated Project Snapshots
A major task of the project roadmap is to create different updated versions as the project progresses. You can use those updated reports to give a no-brainer presentation about the project status that any level of the audience can understand.
#5. Communicate With External Teams
Project roadmaps usually do not contain confidential information about the work. Hence, you can also communicate the document with external parties involved in the project.
#6. Serves as a Reminder
Any project comes with a risk of going off the track during regular activities. However, you should instruct your team to refer to the project roadmap to get the status back on the right track.
Advantages of a Project Roadmap
The project roadmap has been underrated or underestimated for a long time, but now project managers emphasize this resource. If you onboard a project roadmap in your project planning, you get the following edges over your competitors:
- Establish Project Accountability
- Prioritize and Align
- Coordinate Effectively
- Clearly Visualize Roles
- Clarify Project Goals
Components of a Typical Project Roadmap
Your project roadmap should fit on one page. Hence, you need to pick components for the project roadmap smartly. You should include the following in your project roadmap template:
- First off, include an overview of the project schedule with non-negotiable deadlines.
- Do not skip the essential milestones your team aims to achieve.
- The roadmap should also highlight the distribution of budget and human resources in a visual format.
- Any task dependencies that you expect should also be highlighted here.
- The project roadmap document should include vital contacts, especially for external consultants and vendors.
- Describe the objectives, goals, and priorities as a high-level overview in a few sentences.
Below are some of the best free project roadmap templates you can use.
Smartsheet is a well-known software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider for work management and remote collaboration on projects. One of its latest offerings is an intuitive and editable project roadmap for professional project managers.
You can use any of the templates on this web app and maintain that throughout the project for updating purposes. These formats are easily accessible since Smartsheet lets you download the edited template in various formats like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Docs, Sheets, and Slides.
Some of the ready-made templates that are relevant today are:
- Project roadmap example for information technology (IT)
- Multiple project roadmap example document
- 3-Year project roadmap example
- Agile Project Roadmap Template
Furthermore, the templates are free for access since you can try the platform as a trial and download the document that you need. Also, if you find the platform valuable for your projects, you can get a full subscription as well.
Office Timeline is another popular destination for quality project roadmap templates that you can grab for free. The tool assists you in transforming complex project management data into clear project roadmaps on Microsoft PowerPoint.
You can present the roadmap document easily in front of a high-value audience with full confidence. The thoughtful visual structure of the project roadmap on this tool is easy to remember.
Available roadmap document templates include:
- Project roadmap document example
- Product roadmap template
- IT roadmap template
- Strategy/Business roadmap template
- Technology roadmap template
As of now, Office Timeline does not offer direct downloading of project roadmap templates for Google Workspace files like Sheets, Docs, and Slides. But, you can easily open the templates on Google’s platform since it is highly compatible with Microsoft Office files.
Aha! product roadmap templates cut the time-taking personalization of templates. You can get started presenting project plans, goals, and high-level overviews in minutes when you use these templates. At present, there are 16 freely downloadable project roadmap documents that you can customize according to your project.
Not all the project roadmap examples are the same, so you need to use them wisely. For example, some of them are suitable to present high-level business goals of a project. On the other hand, some are more fit for product releases, project features explanation, etc.
Aha lets you download the roadmap files in Microsoft PowerPoint and Excel formats. However, if you need a dedicated tool for project roadmap development and visualization, you can subscribe to the Aha tool.
Template.net is yet another trusted source for project roadmap example documents. You can use its free examples to create an effective strategic project roadmap for your business. It provides access to different types of project roadmap documents, from creative infographic designs to agile project management.
However, this site may not be ideal for you if you are looking for high-quality roadmap templates for free. At present, the web portal only offers two basic project roadmap templates.
If you do not know where to begin to create a professional project roadmap for your upcoming project, you can visit Slite and check out its free templates. The templates look great visually and are easy to customize. Furthermore, you can use the Slite web app to edit a template online with a remote collaborator.
Unlike other template websites, it does not let you simply download a Word or Docs format for self-editing. Instead, it opens the free template on the Slite app editor, where you can use various components for project roadmap document customization.
The on-display free template has different segments like roadmap headline, team mission, project background, quarterly roadmap visualization via a Gantt chart, and the roadmap overview. Therefore, you can easily personalize these sections since they are self-explanatory.
Additionally, you can also attach files from Google Drive to supplement your roadmap document with extra project files from the cloud. Once you are done editing, you can either print the document or export it as a PDF file.
The project roadmap that you present should portray a big picture of the project. It should not simply be a detailed breakdown of project resources, tasks, or costs. The stakeholders have got the Gantt charts or other project management software to visualize these details.
You can use any of the above project roadmap templates to create a professional roadmap that will become a companion to the original project plan. Your project roadmap will also be simple and concise when you use the templates instead of crafting one from scratch.
You may look at these tools to create beautiful Gantt charts for your projects and stay ahead of schedule.