What Is a Business Roadmap? 6 Key Components for Building a Successful Business Roadmap

Written by

Chuen Seet

A business roadmap is the visual organization of the specific processes and considerations a business must take at each stage of a business plan to achieve its goals. While a business plan defines the steps, a business roadmap provides answers to the questions a company needs to ask along the way in order for each step to be successful.

Also known as a strategic roadmap, business leaders and strategy consultants use business roadmaps to make sure each division of a company is moving in-sync towards the realization of its long-term strategic vision.

Why is a business roadmap important?

Let’s pretend you’re taking a road trip. The business plan provides the destination and the route you want to take, but is that really the only thing you need to know to ensure you reach your destination? A business roadmap takes into account important logistical considerations: Is your car in good working order? Do you need to get your oil changed before you hit the road? Where will you stop to fill up? Who will take the wheel at the different stages of the trip? Considerations such as these determine that you don’t stall out along the way.

Compared to motor vehicles, businesses have far more moving parts and more potential points of failure. Successful business leaders know that specificity is the key to success.

Six components of a successful business roadmap

A business roadmap breaks down each stage of a business plan into its granular components:

  1. Challenges:
    What are the biggest problems you’ll potentially face in executing this step? How can you turn this problem into an opportunity?
  2. Objectives:
    What do you need to accomplish at this stage in order to fully address those challenges? Remember, specificity is key.
  3. Capabilities:
    Does your business have the capabilities it needs to successfully accomplish this objective? What capabilities do you need to invest in?
  4. Actions:
    What specific actions do you need to take to solve gaps in your current capabilities?
  5. Initiatives:
    How should these actions be grouped and prioritized? Which actions should be assigned to each team or department?
  6. Time Horizon:
    How should you sequence your initiatives to optimize time, risk, and cost?

Business roadmap tools allow business leaders and strategy consultants to easily plot and prioritize these components within a collaborative visual document, which they can share with stakeholders, departments, and teams.

How modern business roadmap tools help business leaders save time

Creating a business roadmap may seem like a daunting proposition. However, modern business roadmap tools are specifically designed to streamline this process. Features of strategic roadmap tools like Jibility include:

Pre-built roadmap templates: Pre-built capability-based planning and roadmap templates provide a clear outline to help business leaders build and organize their business roadmap without having to start from scratch every time.

Time-saving content libraries: Most business ventures face similar challenges, objectives, and capability-based considerations. Choosing from pre-defined content libraries allow business leaders to quickly lay out the building blocks for their business roadmap.

A 2x2 drag-and-drop prioritization matrix: An interactive matrix allows business leaders to easily organize initiatives according to ROI, risk, and effort.

Cost and benefit estimation: Built in cost estimates for your actions and initiatives gives business leaders and strategy consultants easily trackable business roadmap budget planning.

Visual document sharing and export features: The ability to share and collaborate on a business roadmap, as well as the ability to export the visual document into PDF, image, Excel, or PowerPoint, greatly reduces time costs from strategy to execution.

Extensive security features: Extensive privacy protection and security features help business leaders construct a roadmap while meeting their security requirements.

Business roadmap example

Below are visual examples for each phase of building a business roadmap:

Outlining challenges

Business roadmap example challenges

First, the example business must outline its challenges and then break them down into their granular components.

Creating objectives

Business roadmap example objectives

Next, the example business assigns objectives that address each challenge.

Linking capabilities

Business roadmap example capabilities

Then, the example business outlines their current capabilities, as well as capabilities that need to be addressed, and links them to their objectives.

Assigning actions to improve capabilities

Business roadmap example actions

Next, the example business assigns the actions needed to change capabilities in order to meet its objectives.

Prioritizing initiatives

Business roadmap example initiatives

Here, the example business organizes its initiatives on a 2x2 matrix by value, risk, and effort to understand which initiatives are highest priority.

Creating a business roadmap

Business roadmap example roadmap

Finally, the business sequences its initiatives over a time horizon to complete the business roadmap.

Ready to start building your business roadmap?

If you’re ready to bridge the gap from strategy to execution, we invite you to try Jibility, our free strategic business roadmap tool shown in the examples above.

Building a business roadmap with Jibility is fast and thorough, with guidance at each stage to ensure that your decisions and priorities align with your strategic goals.