Here at Roadmunk, we believe roadmaps aren't reserved solely for product teams—or at least they shouldn’t be.
That’s why we have a roadmap template for every team and department under the sun (keep reading for a walkthrough of our 7 most popular templates).
What do we mean by that philosophy of “roadmapping for all”? 🤔 Well, with an organization-wide roadmapping process in place, you can boost visibility into each team’s goals and see how well aligned they are with you high-level business and product strategies.
When you have a collaborative tool that works as a global tool across teams, it creates a culture of alignment. It’s a culture of teams working together, rallying around a plan. And when teams work together, they go a lot further, a lot faster.
Latif Nanji, Roadmunk CEO and co-founder.
But before we get into the details of establishing 7 great roadmaps across your organization, let’s start with some basics.
What is a roadmap?
The basic definition of a roadmap is simple: it’s a visual way to quickly communicate a plan or strategy. At a high level, this broad definition applies to all the roadmaps that can exist at a company, including marketing, IT, sales, finance, project-based teams and anyone whose work has any impact on the business goals of an organization.
Every team has a plan and strategy built around doing what pushes the business goals forward (directly or indirectly). And if every team has a strategy, they also need a communication tool to present it and share it with the people who need to be in the loop of the progress of those plans.
Ideally, a good roadmap should effectively convey to the stakeholders of a plan:
- Strategic alignment: Why the initiatives align with the higher-level business goals or product strategy
- Resources: How a team will achieve those goals and what resources are required to achieve them
- Time estimates: When any important deliverables are due (in some cases, dates are optional)
- Dependencies with other teams: Who needs to be involved and why
Roadmaps are instrumental tools within product management (it’s why we have an entire library of resources for product managers). But in reality, any team can benefit from having a visual way to communicate their strategy to gain alignment from a plan’s stakeholders or keep any interdependent teams in the loop.
Ok, now you know what a roadmap is and what it can help you achieve. Now it’s time to plan and build it.
How to plan a roadmap
Where do you start the process of planning a roadmap? Every company has different needs and priorities, so there isn’t really a cookie cutter way of going about it. But, ideally, you want to see your roadmap as the plan everyone can rally around and align their priorities against.
When it comes to setting the priorities for a strategic roadmap, however, the best way is to start at the top.
The top-down approach to planning a roadmap is pretty straightforward. Key business goals, the vision and product strategy (whenever relevant) come from senior management, executives and product managers. From there, all the different teams and departments build their own prioritized roadmaps with plans created to push forward all those company goals.
A top-down approach creates a clarity of purpose for every individual. When there’s an effective roadmap process in place—and clear visibility into what the business goals are—teams know what work needs to get done.
It’s what Asana calls the Pyramid of Clarity:
It’s also a roadmapping approach favored by Marty Cagan, author of Inspired: How to create products customers love. He believes that the best way to provide context and intent for a roadmap is to start at the top with two components: the vision (“the holistic view of what the organization as a whole is trying to accomplish”) and the business objectives or problems your company is trying to hit/solve (“this describes the specific, prioritized business objectives for each product team”).
Then, move to identify objectives and key results for the upcoming quarter. When you create a culture of clearly communicated business objectives and alignment, you’re then committing to solving problems and creating outcomes instead of outputs (i.e. a list of features to build).
1. The product roadmap template
What’s a product roadmap?
For product-driven companies—be it B2B SaaS shops or consumer-facing apps—a product roadmap is essential to organizational alignment. A product roadmap illustrates high-level product strategy and demonstrates how a product will evolve over time. It includes upcoming features and the nitty gritty of product development—like technical considerations and resourcing.
A product roadmap is a powerful communication tool that product managers use to align different departments on one vision.
It empowers the sales team to lead informed product conversations with prospects, the marketing team to plan campaigns that align with feature releases and HR to determine who to hire and when.
Is there more than one type of product roadmap?
Roadmunk was built with the knowledge that there isn’t just one way to create a product roadmap. Some product teams love key dates, while others prefer an agile approach.
For deadline-sticklers, our template’s timeline view charts how your product will grow and evolve over time. You can organize your team’s tasks into pre-set buckets—including new features, infrastructure and stickiness. You can also highlight important events, like a feature release, with milestones:
And a swimlane view sorts your tasks according to progress, not time.
P.S. For organizations with multiple product lines, our portfolio template makes it possible to illustrate and communicate a high-level overview of how each different products will evolve and how they relate to each other. Try the portfolio roadmap template.
Try our customizable product roadmap template for free today.
2. The strategic roadmap template
What’s a strategic roadmap?
A strategic roadmap is used to communicate an organization’s vision and mission, illustrating the key steps required to bring these two things to fruition. This roadmap is accessible to every employee, and it helps ensure that every department is ideating and working on initiatives that align with the organization’s bigger strategic aims.
This particular roadmap is created and championed by senior-level stakeholders. Business objectives are generally mapped out across the long-term (over a year or more).
What’s the difference between a product roadmap and a strategic roadmap?
Unlike a product roadmap that outlines what features and initiatives need to be executed in the short term, a strategic roadmap is all about the long game. An organization’s vision and mission are often hefty, audacious goals that can be broken down into smaller, bite-size initiatives over a period of time.
A strategic roadmap helps with that by doing a few things:
- It tells the strategy in story form: A strategic roadmap allows you to stay away from the tactical and nitty-gritty. This is your chance to engage key stakeholders with visuals and narrative.
- It breaks the story down into themes: Product, sales, marketing, HR—with a strategic roadmap, you can show how what each team is working on fits into the big picture.
- It presents the strategy in terms of outcomes and solutions: A strategic roadmap is a great way to show the why and the what (leaving the how out of the picture for the more tactical, team-based roadmaps)
The roadmunk template
Our strategic roadmap template includes a timeline view. Use this view to track your key strategic initiatives and milestones over upcoming months, quarters and years.
Alternatively, if you’d like to be less strict with dates, our swimlane view visualizes your strategic initiatives based on progress.
Download our free customizable strategic roadmap template and start planning great strategies.
3. The innovation roadmap template
What’s an innovation roadmap?
An innovation roadmap can be used to map new areas for growth opportunities, testing new ideas, tracking competitors and keeping up with advancing technologies. Organizations only remain competitive within their markets when they continuously look for new business models, and ways to bolster their products with value-added improvements.
This roadmap can help with tracking innovative achievements, like shipped features, against the work that your team is doing to keep sharp—like competitive benchmarking and breaking down barriers preventing new and exciting things from shipping.
Innovation roadmap best practices
An innovation roadmap is generally built and managed by an organization’s product managers and its executives to align all departments on strategic initiatives. They help companies achieve disruption and avoid getting disrupted themselves.
Ideally, an innovation roadmap should help you with:
- Visualizing where innovation initiatives could have an impact on business goals
- Breaking down an innovation plan in terms of possible timelines, potential risks and costs, and business outcomes
- Planning resource allocation for the technical side of testing, prototyping and evaluating results.
The roadmunk template
Our innovation roadmap template includes a timeline view to plan and track what your organization is doing in upcoming quarters and years, while also assessing and preparing for risks.
The swimlane view provides a flexible way to keep track of your game-changing ideas by visualizing progress across key verticals like product and efficiency gains.
Start using our customizable innovation roadmap template for free.
4. The marketing roadmap template
Marketing teams are generally project-oriented, and it’s very common for marketing teams to be slammed with multiple deliverables and initiatives at once. It gets hectic and unmanageable if not documented. Enter the marketing roadmap.
What’s a marketing roadmap?
A marketing roadmap highlights key projects and priorities across all marketing channels and functions, creating clarity in the chaos. It charts all priorities and initiatives across all channels that marketing is responsible for—such as content, digital advertising and events. Creating an in-depth marketing roadmap surfaces a team’s highest priorities and keeps all of its marketers on track.
As an added bonus, a marketing roadmap also serves as a key communication tool for marketing teams to share their plans across their whole organization.
There are four versions of the marketing roadmap that are useful for teams:
- The theme-based marketing roadmap: a quarterly look at who’s doing what within the marketing team. This version of the roadmap is great for showing non-marketers at the company what’s coming down the pipeline.
- The goal-based marketing roadmap: If a theme-based roadmap shows everyone the what, then the goal-based marketing roadmap is perfect for explaining the why. Specifically, this version works to show what the impact will be on the goals that matter (attracting qualified leads, increasing awareness, and converting free trials to users)
- The “we got deadlines” marketing roadmap: Some projects are time sensitive and require a day-by-day launch plan. This format helps teams visualize the resources they need to hit the deadlines.
- The “who’s doing what” marketing roadmap: This roadmap helps you see what everyone is working on within the marketing team to make sure no one is over capacity
The roadmunk template
Our marketing roadmap template comes with two types of views baked in. The timeline view allows you to meticulously plan when key initiatives will unfold across each of your marketing channels.
On the other hand, our swimlane view groups your marketing initiatives into channels and manageable, easy-to-understand timeframes, like quarters.
Start using our free customizable marketing roadmap template.
5. The HR roadmap template
What’s an HR roadmap?
An HR roadmap is owned by an organization’s recruiters and human resources team to build and manage hiring plans and chart HR initiatives. It visualizes how each department within an organization will evolve and provides a snapshot of the roles being added and when.
This type of roadmap is extremely helpful for:
- Catching gaps in talent
- Ensuring that your organization is adequately resourced
- Ensuring growth is properly balanced across departments
Each department leader can also use this roadmap to flag what resources they need and identify when their team will burst.
This roadmap also provides insight into what HR is working on to make employees happier in their day-to-day like changes to benefits plan, new referral bonuses, etc.
Wondering how we build our HR roadmap here at Roadmunk? Check out this step-by-step breakdown by our HR lead.
The roadmunk template
Our HR roadmap includes a timeline view so that your organization can see which new hires will be added to the team in upcoming months, quarters or years.
Predicting exact hiring dates isn’t always possible given that some roles are more difficult to fill than others. Our swimlane view brings flexibility to your HR plan.
Download our free customizable HR roadmap template.
6. The technology roadmap template
A technology roadmap outlines how an organization plans to use technology to achieve their goals. And just like the other roadmaps in this list, the goal of a technology roadmap is to show stakeholders what it will take to reach a goal or solve a problem (in terms of team effort, financing and tooling).
What’s a technology roadmap?
This type of roadmap aims to communicate the strategy behind any new complex technological initiatives happening at a company. Using a roadmap to communicate the “how we’ll get there” of a technology initiative can result in a few outcomes:
- Create alignment on what’s happening with IT projects
- CTOS, engineering leads and IT managers can create their own technology roadmaps to align and build clarity around the technical components of their organization
- Efficiently monitor technology considerations and resources within a product’s research and development strategy
- Visualize the administration of internal processes and systems, like information security audits and tracking employee hardware.
Think of ‘technology roadmap’ as an umbrella term with various types of roadmaps falling under it, such as an IT systems roadmap, a development roadmap or a cloud strategy roadmap—just to name a few.
In all cases, a technology roadmap communicates complex initiatives within an easy-to-follow, actionable plan.
For more resources on how to plan, build and communicate a technology roadmap, check our tech roadmapping hub.
We cover 10 more ways to build a powerful technology roadmap in our free downloadable guide..
What’s the difference between a technology roadmap and a product roadmap?
While a technology roadmap can often overlap with your product roadmap, it serves a different purpose. Your product roadmap strategizes your upcoming features and improvements to your product. Your technology roadmap, on the other hand, maps out the strategies pertaining to your infrastructure, platform and security that ultimately support your product strategy.
The roadmunk template
Our technology roadmap’s timeline view enables you to simply visualize timing for all technology initiatives coming up in your pipeline.
Our swimlane view provides a high-level snapshot of your technical priorities, and it tracks the progress of initiatives that are in progress, completed or within the backlog.
Download our free customizable technology roadmap template.
7. The project roadmap template
A project roadmap can be used by various departments across your organization—sales, customer success, admin, etc.
What’s a project roadmap?
It’s a roadmap that can be applied to a wide range of projects that involve multiple stakeholders and moving parts. It provides a high-level overview of a project’s objectives, initiatives and deliverables.
What’s the difference between a project roadmap and a project plan?
A project roadmap is different from a project plan. While a project plan tracks each and every tactical detail, a project roadmap instead provides an overview of the most important components and milestones (i.e. the big picture). It aligns teams on key milestones and keeps everyone on the right path.
To learn more about why a project roadmap is a good idea, what it should look like, and what it shouldn’t look like, check out this post.
The roadmunk template
Use the timeline view of our project roadmap to see key tasks and deadlines, and how your resources will be allocated over time.
And with our swimlane view, it's easy to quickly visualize which tasks are complete, in progress or waiting in the backlog.
Start using our free customizable project roadmap template.