At Roadmunk, we believe that roadmaps are communication tools and, to be more specific, visual communication tools. The journey that a roadmap is illustrating has to be crystal clear from beginning to end—be it how a new product will hit the market or how an organization’s IT infrastructure will evolve
So, we’re launching a brand new feature to add an extra layer of visual detail to our users’ roadmaps: Key Dates.
This new feature allows teams to align around important dates at a granular level. At its most simple, this feature can be used to call out important events within a roadmap item, like the due date of a deliverable. Key Dates also break up lengthy roadmap items to provide visibility into how progress is being benchmarked.
We’ve made adding Key Dates to a roadmap really simple. You can create and access Key Dates in the “Fields” tab of an item card. There are six icons that can be used to represent each Key Date.
We understand that items get delayed, and we built Key Dates so that they’re relative to an item. If an entire item is dragged three months into the future, the key dates will move with the item.
We also built this feature with two more granular use cases in mind:
1. Visualizing the stages of a roadmap item.
2. Using Key Dates to mark decision points.
Using Key Dates to visualize an item’s stages
A common product management tactic is to bucket progress into stages, like design > development > QA > release.
Key Dates make it really easy to visualize stages within a roadmap item and to allocate windows of time for each stage’s completion. They also foster alignment around the expected completion of each stage.
The roadmap example below showcases how Key Dates can be used to visualize stages.
For the most crystal clear communication, we recommend attributing meaning to the icons. For example: only using ♦︎ for “Release” will make it easy for anyone viewing the roadmap to understand, at a glance, that the final goal of an item is for it to be released into the wild.
Using Key Dates as decision points
The second use case is employing Key Dates as decision points—or gates—within an item. Each Key Date indicates that a team needs to determine whether they can or cannot move forward based on the status of important deliverables, risk analysis, available resources, etc. An example of a phase-gate item is below.
What Key Dates are not: Milestones
Milestones are a popular Roadmunk feature used to highlight important achievements on a roadmap—but we see them as the macro version of Key Dates.
Milestones are used to call out high-level dates that are important to an entire organization—like the launch of a new product. Key Dates are added to a roadmap for project-level alignment—a more micro roadmapping detail.
We’re so excited to launch this brand new Roadmunk feature. To find out how to add Key Dates to your roadmap, check out this how-to. If you’re not a Roadmunk user, sign up to check out Key Dates and all of our features (plus our library of 25+ roadmap templates).