Running a successful business is hard work. It requires having business goals and a plan to achieve these goals. Business plans are great, but as anyone who’s written or read one will tell you, they can bog you down with too many details.
Stakeholders appreciate a flexible, easy to read, and digest alternative: the business roadmap.
👉 Get started with this business roadmap template.
Copy this template
What is a business roadmap?
A business roadmap is a visualization of a company’s business plans that dictates specific behavior to achieving business goals. It’s a communication tool that clearly shows how different stakeholders’ roles, tasks, and responsibilities come together.
Furthermore, a business roadmap translates ambitions into an implementation plan with solutions to drive impact.
Who uses a business roadmap?
Virtually everyone in an organization can benefit from creating a business roadmap. In many cases, this flexible tool is useful in meetings with clients and executives because it’s a high-level visual document that presents the big picture, goals, steps, and timelines in a simple, straightforward manner.
Apart from clients and executives, a business roadmap can also be invaluable to:
And other individuals, departments, and teams within a company.
10 Types of Business Roadmaps
The details of your business roadmap depend on the unique circumstances of your company or team or the project on hand. Therefore, there are various types of business roadmaps.
However, the most popular types are:
Business development roadmap
Business intelligence roadmap
Enterprise architecture roadmap
Data strategy roadmap
IT infrastructure roadmap
Customer journey roadmap
Marketing strategy roadmap
Let’s briefly consider each of these types of roadmaps.
Startups have a high rate of failure, which isn’t surprising considering the chaotic startup environment. Therefore, startups need to have a roadmap.
However, since they are startups, there’s likely a shortage of resources and teams, which renders a typical business roadmap relatively useless.
A startup roadmap is an excellent alternative. This type of roadmap illustrates what they need to focus on initially, and it can help achieve business objectives.
This type of roadmap outlines your business’ vision and how to achieve your mission. Unlike some other types of roadmaps, it hangs on long-term goals in favor of short-term objectives.
It’s for senior-level executives and stakeholders, although employees can see it and thus develop projects that align with business objectives.
Business Development Roadmap
A business development roadmap shows the critical tasks that lead to fast revenue and market-share growth within a period.
It’s a versatile business roadmap used by marketing, sales, and even product teams. One of the advantages of this roadmap is that it helps teams plan and communicate quickly and effectively.
Business Intelligence Roadmap
Business Intelligence managers use these roadmaps to visualize all aspects of business intelligence. In addition, it allows the team to plan how they’ll deploy business intelligence company-wide.
Furthermore, as with other business roadmaps, this roadmap improves communication between managers, teams, and C-suite stakeholders throughout the organization.
Enterprise Architecture Roadmap
Just like startups, enterprises exist in a chaotic environment. An enterprise architecture roadmap can filter out the noise and bring order to the chaos.
This roadmap shows how the enterprise will adapt infrastructure in the future to meet business needs and survive changes in the market.
Data Strategy Roadmap
As the name implies, this roadmap is best for teams concerned with data operations, including but not limited to data analysis, data storage, data collection, and data application.
With this roadmap, these teams can ensure that the business’ data strategy aligns with the standard and best practices of the industry.
IT Infrastructure Roadmap
This roadmap is a key to visualizing the technology architecture of an organization. It makes it easier for IT professionals and teams to develop, monitor, and manage technology systems in all departments.
Customer Journey Roadmap
Customers are the heart of every business, so you need to understand them. The customer journey roadmap reveals all the steps existing and future customers take with your company.
Marketing, sales, and customer service teams find the customer journey roadmap useful.
Marketing Strategy Roadmap
This type of roadmap helps marketing teams see how the company’s current marketing campaigns align with the company’s goals and projects.
Capability roadmaps exist to make it easier to allot company resources at the right time. These guides focus on long-term projects and are invaluable for long-term planning.
Many companies that change company objectives or policies discover their employees are resistant to change. Well, a change roadmap can make the transition easier.
With a change roadmap, organizations can make changes while helping stakeholders adapt. For example, the roadmap might include elements like employee training periods or integration of helpful technology to improve
Business roadmap vs. business plan: key differences
A business plan is a detailed document that shows how the business will operate. It’s usually created at the beginning of an organization. While a business plan contains objectives and goals, like the business roadmap, critical differences exist between these two documents.
In this section, we clear up any confusion about these two essential documents. To do that, we’ll define the differences in:
A business plan contains detailed information about how a business works. It can get really voluminous as you add more elements, making it a challenge for stakeholders to stay awake while reading it.
On the other hand, a business roadmap is a concise, high-level, visual document that shows strategic goals and initiatives. It does away with the fluff of the business plan by keeping only elements like key goals, dates, and plans of action prioritized by the organization.
Although business plans vary depending on the type of business and what it offers, some components are common to almost all business plans. These include:
The executive summary: This is where you write the vision and mission statement of the organization. This section also includes granular elements like the number of employees, location of the organization, year founded, and stuff like that.
Product and services: This is where you talk about what you’re selling to potential customers, including the processes and equipment required for creating the product and service. Additionally, this section includes how you hope to profit from your offerings.
Market: You talk about the market and industry, including a SWOT analysis, consumer demand, and similar elements.
Marketing strategy: This is where you talk about how you’ll attract customers via marketing.
Acquisition strategy: where you describe how you’ll acquire and retain customers
Financials: where you show how deep your pockets run or how much revenue you hope for.
Budget: where you describe the costs of running the business.
As you can see, the business plan is quite detailed—some run into tens of pages.
Contrast this with the components of a business roadmap. A business roadmap often includes:
Goals: what you hope to achieve running the business
Initiatives: the work you’ll do to achieve your goals
Milestones: the metrics that indicate progress
Dependencies: anything that has to finish before another phase of the project starts
While business roadmaps might differ from project to project, it’s always a high-level, easy-to-understand,
relatively brief, strategic tool.
Business plans are usually so detailed because they are typically shared with stakeholders like:
And are referenced by high-level executives and leaders.
On the other hand, the business roadmap is an internal planning tool that helps leaders and their teams gauge how well they’re doing to achieve business plans. Nevertheless, it’s flexible enough to be shared with investors.
Understanding the differences between these two documents will help you get the best from them.
Key benefits of creating a business roadmap for any business
Here’s why you need a business roadmap for your business:
Set a clear vision, strategy, and goals
It’s imperative to set goals before work kicks off because it’ll ensure you, your team, and other stakeholders are on the same page. Failing to set goals will likely fail.
Furthermore, without a clear vision and goals, how’d you know whether you’ve succeeded or not? But with set goals, you’ll know if you’re headed in the right direction.
A business roadmap helps you put your goals in focus and execute your business strategy.
Improves and ensures communication
Many project managers have a clear vision of what they want to achieve in mind.
But if that mental picture remains that—a mental picture—then problems arise.
A business roadmap ensures all the project’s stakeholders, from the client to the company and team, have their questions and concerns addressed while also understanding their project roles and responsibilities.
Define a purpose for the team
Without a clear business roadmap, everyone on the team can interpret the project’s vision however they like—which is a recipe for disaster.
Thankfully, the business roadmap provides a clear direction for the project.
Aside from a clear direction, a business roadmap also contains deadlines, communication guidelines, and a way to track the progress of individuals and the project. Therefore, your team is more engaged and motivated to work.
Ensures proper resource utilization
You can’t manage a project successfully without managing your limited resources. Resource planning includes ensuring that your project’s needs don’t conflict with the resource needs of other projects running concurrently. Aside from managing financial resource demands, you need to plan for other resources like human power, space, skills, etc.
Including all these in your business roadmap will help you juggle resources expertly.
Prevents scope creep
Scope creep—where a project is expanded to include things not agreed initially—is a leading cause of project failure.
Scope creep usually results from a lack of defining parameters correctly or pressure from the team or client.
Either way, a business roadmap allows you to have support when pointing out suggested ideas or parameters that could cause scope creep and even derail the project.
page, add the overarching strategic goals for your business in the first table. In the second table, this is where you can add more detailed milestones or initiatives that map back to a strategic goal. You’ll notice that each of the goals you wrote in the
has the full visualization of your business roadmap. The roadmap is grouped by team and color-coded by the strategic goal you setup in step #1. If you want to change the dates for a specific milestone, you can drag-and-drop the sides of the bars in this gantt chart.
More Coda templates to get you started with strategic business planning
Here are some practical tools you can find in Coda that will help you get started with creating a business roadmap:
An Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) structure is one way to ensure your team focuses on processes that matter the most.
A business roadmap will look different depending on the organization and its goals. However, regardless of the company and type of business roadmap, it typically captures the overall strategy and plan for business growth.
What is the difference between a business roadmap and a product roadmap?
While their functions might overlap, there are some critical differences between a business roadmap and a product roadmap. These are:
Goals: The business roadmap contains broad goals focused on company success, while a product roadmap contains measurable and time-constrained goals specific to a product and consumers.
Initiatives: While those of the business roadmap are high-level focus areas that help to achieve company goals, those of a product roadmap are themes of work to achieve the product’s objectives.
Details: A business roadmap is a high-level visualization of each department’s contributions to overall company goals. On the other hand, a product roadmap details the granular work that teams need to complete within the product release.
What is the purpose of a business roadmap?
A business roadmap is created to give a high-level overview of company goals within a timeframe. In addition, it clarifies the company’s current position and aligns stakeholders around goals.
Coda is an all-in-one doc for your team’s unique processes — the rituals that help you succeed. Teams that use Coda get rid of hundreds of documents, spreadsheets, and even bespoke apps, to work quickly and clearly in one place. This template is a Coda doc. Click around to explore.