Using a project roadmap to review status

6 ways to use a project roadmap

If you have been following the latest series of posts on Project Roadmaps, you should now have:

Now, designing a project dashboard is all well and good.  The BIG question is “what to do with it?“.

This is actually quite a sensible question, in fact it is the question you should really answer before you even start to think or design a project roadmap.  There is no point in investing time and money creating a roadmap (or any report) if it is not needed (serves no purpose).

Below are 6 ideas for how to use a project roadmap.

1. Managing the overall plan

Project roadmaps are a very good tool for programme and portfolio managers.  The single page view of the key deliverables / activities makes it very easy to review and assess overall progress.

It makes it very easy to receive updates i.e. a project manager advises that a deliverable has been delayed.  Then by checking the roadmap, you can quickly see what will be impacted.

Having the single view means that it is very easy to see what needs to be completed in a current period.  The programme manager can then make sure to ask the responsible project managers if they are on track or if there are  issues.

2. Progress updates

Similar to point 1, the project roadmap can be used to facilitate programme update meetings.  The meeting lead can use the project roadmap to drive the updates from all the project leads.  Focusing on the current period allows for time to be spent on the relevant milestones.  As part of the updates issues to be identified and remediation plans established.

3. Early warning

Like air traffic control, the programme manager and / or PMO want to know about potential risks before they become issues.  Keeping the project roadmap up to date based on underlying plan submissions should provide a single view of potential issues.

When identified they can be investigated and remediated.  If they can’t be fixed, at least the programme manager can manage sponsor expectations before the issue (not after).

4. Communication

A simple, easy to understand project roadmap is a great tool for communication.  It can be used in 1:1 update meetings, sponsor updates, SteerCo’s, etc.

With a little investment of time to orientate the audience around the roadmap, it can quickly become a powerful tool to communicate progress and update what is in the next period.  As time goes on and the audience become more familiar, they will quickly engage with the content allowing more meaningful discussions.

5. Support budget requests

Demonstrating that you have a clear roadmap and control of what is being delivered will promote confidence with senior management.  The fact it is on the page and can been seen and touched will make it real to the audience.

If this is coupled with a number of completed milestones, this can become a very compelling reason for you to secure the budget for subsequent phases.  After all, it makes sense to back those who deliver results!

6. Reporting

The last use I will cover is reporting.  If you have invested in constructing a solid roadmap and spent time orientating the audience, then why not use the roadmap as part of your status reporting.  There is no reason for not including it in your report or as a separate attachment.

This will allow the stakeholders to be able to review progress and keep engaged with the programme.

Summary

A good project roadmap has many uses and can deliver huge benefit both internally to the programme and externally to stakeholders.  If you have not already created your project or programme roadmap, now is the time.