The Startup Guy with a Digital Marketing head.
Believe it or not, almost 85 percent of global IT firms sway away from annual plans and waste at least 9 weeks on an average while trying to cross-collaborate with different teams, across diverse geographies, and using a myriad of tool sets.
An IT project is best characterized by a quantifiable deadline, well-defined deliverables, and cross-collaborative outcomes. However, every IT project requires adequate levels of planning, to succeed, regardless of the methodologies. Be it designing and developing a website or simply redrafting the User Interface of an application, IT projects require a roadmap of sorts that work in tandem with the existing project plans.
Before understanding how a project roadmap works, it is necessary to ascertain the aspects of a project plan. Project managers create plans which include all the task-level insights and details of the concerned venture, paired cohesively with the exact timelines. In simpler words, a project plan is more of a granular representation of the processes, best used by the project team as an internal resource.
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A project roadmap, on the other hand, is more of a strategic view of the project with approximate timelines, prepared specifically for the stakeholders, top-level leadership, and coordinating with other adjoining teams.
It wouldn’t be wrong to assume that both the project plan and roadmap are necessary while defining project management standards and guidelines. Besides that, if you are a project manager who is looking to define the scope of an assignment for the executives, without having them delve deep into the technicalities of the project, a roadmap comes across as a handy resource.
Unlike a project plan that chalks out all the minute details from a more technical perspective, the roadmap needs to be more graphical while talking more about the goal and associated deliverables. Here are some of the most essential aspects of an IT project roadmap:
Every IT project has some sort of strategic importance, like financial gains, philanthropic ideologies, or anything else. The roadmap considers these objectives and ensures that the team is committed towards the same, not necessarily in a planned way. Therefore, even if the project plans change, due to cost-cutting, revamped budgeting, or any other reason, the roadmap is most likely to remain constant.
Even if the task-centric, minute details change due to a shift in priorities, the roadmap is expected to cover the same, in the form of project milestones. Besides that, the project deliverables, risks, and dependencies often need to be conveyed to the stakeholders and high-level executives, who can then identify priorities, investments, and overall expectations.
Each one of the mentioned elements of an IT project roadmap offers a perspective regarding the progress of the project. Top-level professionals aren’t always interested in the technical status and mostly look for strategic-level updates, best voiced by the roadmap.
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If you are serious about an upcoming IT project, you will first consider a roadmap and then move onto the finer details. As mentioned, developing the roadmap helps you envision the end-result of the project, something that stakeholders would be interested in. However, for presenting the roadmap for evaluation, you must always resort to high-functioning templates.
When it comes to creating the complete roadmap, it is necessary to use strategic tools that offer visualization perks, options to create timelines, and the Swimlane flexibility for Agile frameworks.
Regardless of the preferred resource, it is advisable to stick to the same for a significant period of time, as organizations who keep switching between apps and tools experience an almost 40 percent fall in project productivity.
However, if you are looking for minimalistic and uncluttered tools, project templates by HiSlide can be the best possible choices, courtesy of the ease of usage, ability to pair multiple milestones upon encountering task-specific changes, and the collaborative structure.
If you are a project manager who needs to take care of both the plans and roadmaps, it is necessary to use resources like the Kanban Boards, Gantt timelines, and task lists for a more granular approach. However, if you are only looking to offer a strategic-overview of the previously mentioned aspects, the IT project must be presented using resources like the Casual that allow you to create roadmaps via an interactive UI.
When IT projects are concerned, roadmaps are difficult to create as there would be stakeholders who would want to learn a bit more about the technical whereabouts of the product or service development process. This is where exceptional project templates are required to pair the technical details with the strategic objectives, to create the most holistic roadmap ever.
Tools like Roadmunk are extremely efficient as they allow you to create a basic roadmap while supporting extrapolated, technical viewing, if and when desired.
Each one of the mentioned aspects, if taken care of, can help you create a complete IT project roadmap. While we did mention everything, right from the segregation, processes, roadmaps essentials, and tools, it is necessary to keep the roadmap updated.
Make sure you update it based on the existing status of the project, addition or removal of team members, changing threat landscape, and especially the evolving dependencies in the post-COVID19 era.
Lead image Source: RoadmapPlanner.io
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