Before we look at some example business roadmaps, and roadmap templates, try this word-association exercise. As you read a word in the list below, think of the first word that pops into your head to form a two-word description of a standard business document. For example, when you read MISSION… you might think STATEMENT.
We’ll include our thoughts below each word, but no peeking.
Ready? Here we go.
(Our thoughts: ROADMAP, or BACKLOG)
(Our thoughts: SUMMARY, or BIOGRAPHY)
(Our thought: CHART)
(Our thought: PLAN)
If you’re a product manager or other type of entrepreneurial professional who’s responsible for bringing successful products to the market, we’re guessing your first thought when you read PRODUCT was, like ours, ROADMAP. Product roadmaps are, after all, a thing.
We’ll also go out on a limb and assume that when you saw the word BUSINESS, you thought PLAN—and not some obscure type of document like, say, a “BUSINESS ROADMAP.”
When we think of a document that helps capture and communicate a business’s big-picture goals, its strategy for achieving those goals, and its high-level plan for executing on that strategy, we almost always think immediately of a business plan. Besides, business roadmaps aren’t really a thing, right?
The Strategic Value of a Business Roadmap
But wait a minute. When you think of the document that’s best equipped to help a product manager capture and communicate a product’s big-picture goals, its strategy for achieving those goals, and its high-level plan for executing on that strategy, you think of a product roadmap.
And, truthfully, a business plan doesn’t really offer a high-level, at-a-glance strategic view of anything. It’s typically a detailed document, often running dozens of pages, that explains down to a granular level what the business plans to do to achieve its goals.
If a product needs a truly strategic-level document to capture and quickly convey its big-picture plans and objectives—the product roadmap—then wouldn’t any business, and even any specific initiative within a business, also benefit from a business roadmap?
Our answer: Heck yeah!
Consider how strategically useful a properly built business roadmap could be for an entrepreneur organizing her initial thoughts for starting a new business. Rather than forcing her to jump straight into the details—as the typical template for a business plan does—a business roadmap would allow the entrepreneur to start with a high-level overview of the goals, priorities, milestones, resources needed, and other strategic elements of her planned venture.
Here’s an example business roadmap template built (in just a few minutes, in case you’re wondering) using ProductPlan’s roadmap software.
Armed with a business roadmap like this, the entrepreneur would have:
- An easy-to-digest overview of her business’s strategic objectives and plans—which would help her more quickly and compellingly communicate her business idea to investors, partners, and new employees.
- A valuable guide to her business’s initial strategy that she can refer back to periodically during those inevitably chaotic early days, to make sure that all the tasks she and her team are focusing on are still supporting the business’s strategic plan.
- If she used the right tool to build the document—ideally a web-based, native business roadmap application—the entrepreneur would also have a strategic business roadmap that was easy to share with the relevant teams, easy to update, and easy to present no matter where she was.
More Useful Example Business Roadmaps
In fact, a business roadmap can offer these strategic benefits not only to the launching of a business itself but also to any large initiative within an existing business. With the right roadmap tool, you can build a business roadmap around your new HR plan, for example, or the launch of a new business unit.
And although we at ProductPlan typically see product managers using our purpose-built roadmap software to create, share, and maintain their product roadmaps, our application is flexible enough to provide the same strategic benefits for all sorts of other business initiatives.
Here are just a few example business roadmaps that show how different companies leverage our software to develop their high-level strategy:
An IT Architecture Roadmap, to help IT operations teams build and deploy the right technology infrastructure for a business.
A Content Calendar Roadmap, to help the company’s marketing and communications teams map out their strategy for rolling out new content.
A Marketing Strategy Roadmap, to help the marketing team capture and communicate its department’s high-level goals and plans.
If you’d like to see several additional example business roadmaps—for marketing, development, corporate IT, and product-related strategic initiatives—view our Roadmap Templates page.
And if you’d like to use any of these example business roadmaps as a template to begin developing your own strategic roadmap—which you can build in just minutes—we invite you to try our full-featured roadmap software for free.