What Is a Strategy Roadmap?

Written by

Chuen Seet

So, you've worked hard and developed a strategy that articulates your organization's purpose, values, vision and goals. Now you need to create an implementation plan to execute this strategy, but this is where many organizations hit a road block.

How do you successfully convert your strategy into an execution plan?

The answer is a strategy roadmap.

A strategy roadmap bridges the gap between strategy and execution

A strategy roadmap is a bridge (or link) between strategy and execution. It visualizes the key outcomes that must be delivered over a particular time horizon in order to achieve the organization's strategic vision.

Importantly, the outcomes on the strategy roadmap are substantiated by a clear understanding of which of the organization's capabilities, gaps and priorities must be addressed.

What's the Difference between a Strategy Roadmap and a Plan?

A strategy roadmap describes the what and the why. An execution plan describes the how.

A strategy roadmap is not a visual Gantt chart of activities with start dates and end dates. It describes what the organization must change, and why the changes are required, in order to achieve the strategic vision.

An execution plan describes how the organization will deliver the outcomes described in the strategy roadmap. Often, an execution plan is represented in a Gantt chart with a specific timeframe, start and end dates, milestones, and resource allocation.

Why is a Strategy Roadmap so Important?

Many organizations jump straight from their strategy into execution or implementation planning.

Often, an execution plan is derived by gathering groups of people into a workshop, handing out some sticky notes and start spawning a list of initiatives. The workshop is usually facilitated with the key question being: What initiatives or activities do we need to execute? From there, the people in the room simply dream up a list.

Later, most of these organizations start to question this method. Have we missed anything? How do we really know that this list of initiatives will deliver our strategy?

Essentially: they get lost.

How is a Strategy Roadmap Created?

Establish a Method

To recap: a good strategy roadmap articulates what must be changed, why it must be changed, and in what sequence the change should be carried out.

It can be a complex job, so the method you apply must be sound. We have designed two unique methods specifically for this purpose: a six-step capability-based method, intended for analytical planners who need a highly robust roadmap, and a four-step objective-based method, created to help those for whom speed is of the essence.

Essentially, the translation of a strategy to a strategy roadmap must be done in a structured and logical manner, ensuring there is clear linkage or substantiation of the strategy roadmap outcomes back to the strategic vision or intent.

Example of a basic strategy roadmap

Capability-Based Planning Approach

The most thorough and objective way to formulate and substantiate a robust strategy roadmap is by applying capability-based planning techniques. Capability-based planning is at the heart of the six-step method on which Jibility was first founded.

This approach takes a holistic view of the organization to ensure that you have good coverage and understanding of the areas of change. It helps you understand what capabilities exist; what capabilities are required in the future to meet the strategic vision; what changes are required; and the priority of these changes. The changes identified form the outcomes or initiatives which appear on your strategy roadmap.

Strategy Roadmap Examples

Data Governance and Data Management Strategy Roadmap

Quality data is critical to the development of the business world's most forward-thinking capabilities, such as data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence. Unfortunately, it's harder than ever to establish a data governance capability. Enter the strategy roadmap.

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Nonprofit Strategy Roadmap

Nonprofit organizations understand better than most how important it is to have an actionable strategic plan. There's no room for error; limited resources and high demand dictate this. Executing on strategic vision quickly and cheaply is top priority, and a strategy roadmap will help with this.

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Manufacturing Industry Digital Transformation Strategy Roadmap

Improving customer experience, increasing efficiency and preempting competition from disruptive digital technologies are all objectives driving organization's pursuit of digital transformation. How can a strategic roadmap help you?

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Public Sector Digital Transformation Strategy Roadmap

Governments the world over are looking to transform the way they deliver services to citizens, improving access to services, simplifying processes and reducing costs. This article lays out the results of an intensive roadmapping workshop with 16 public sector leaders.

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Startup Strategy Roadmap

A strategy roadmap shows robust thinking about your startup, which is just what your investors want to see. It identifies what capabilities you should invest in, provides the "science" behind the initiatives that you plan to undertake, and helps you avoid the common pitfall of poor prioritization.

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Product Portfolio Strategy Roadmap

A product portfolio manager cannot afford to waste valuable resources investing in the wrong products. Having an active product portfolio roadmap will help ensure the organization is focused on solving the right challenges with the right products at the right time.

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Free Strategic Roadmap Tool

Both of our methods — the four-step objective-based method and the six-step capability-based method — are easy to apply to your strategic planning process with the help of our tool: Jibility.

Jibility is a free SaaS tool that walks you through either methodology, with a drag-and-drop interface and plenty of in-built content to keep the process simple and fast. Try it out now!