What Is A Strategy Roadmap and Why Does Your Organization Need One?

By: Annette Klososky, Partner & Sr. Leadership Consultant, Executive Development Associates, Inc.

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 roadblock.

How do you successfully convert your strategy into an execution plan? The answer is a strategy roadmap.

A strategic digital roadmap is a documented set of artifacts that memorializes all the action items needed in order to help an organization accomplish its mission in the world. A strategic roadmap details all the steps needed in order to achieve a specific destination.

There are two symbiotic steps to creating a viable and well understood digital strategy. One without the other is almost meaningless.​

Step One: Defining the destination the organization seeks at the end of the projected timeframe of the strategy. This sets the commitments as to the desired state needed in order to support the business goals of the organization.

Step Two: Defining the combination of action items and the order of these events over the given time to get to the destination. This is called the roadmap. ​

The Destination

A strategic roadmap details all the steps needed in order to achieve a specific destination.

The number one mistake many organizations make is not being clear on what they want to achieve from their digital strategy.

This is like setting out on a journey without really knowing where you are going. The result is an inconsistent effort at using technology in powerful ways with little support for the overall set of business goals​. Once the destination is agreed upon by all, the roadmap can then be designed to reach that exact destination.​

The Roadmap

An effective digital roadmap is one that reaches the destination KPIs in the most cost efficient and realistic ways. It is easily understood by any constituent who looks at it.​

A roadmap is not a collection of upgrades to software and systems. In too many cases, leaders accept a list of upgrades as a strategy document. The roadmap does not attempt to show every single action item the IT department will be doing during the timeframe. This does nothing but drive an organization into wasting money and time with their IT budgets. It also makes no sense to have technologists develop a strategy in a vacuum without input from the business side of the operation.

A roadmap is simply meant to show the larger and more critical tasks that must be completed.​ The roadmap should also be refreshed on an annual or semi-annual basis​.

A Visual Language

The purpose of creating a visual version of the strategy roadmap is to make it easy to comprehend for non-IT team members.​

There is a fine line between putting too much information or not enough, in one visual. For this reason, each organization can customize the visual language to something that fits for them.​

You’ll know you have reached your goal when anyone inside or outside your organization can quickly understand the major activities needed in order to have a winning digital strategy going forward.​

Do You Need A Roadmap?

In short – yes, you need a roadmap. As digital tools and processes continue to grow more critical as facilitators of progress for the whole entity, the need for a VERY well thought out strategy is increasing.

Additionally, as technology gets more expensive to purchase and build, there is more of a risk of wasting resources because the strategy is flawed or not well thought out in the first place. The money you spend developing a top-notch strategy roadmap comes back to you fivefold in avoiding wasted resources and maximizing the support of your team members to achieve their efforts.

About the Author:

Annette Klososky serves Executive Development Associates in a partner role as a Senior Leadership Development Consultant and Operational Executive. She has 20+ years of experience working to influence change and results within organizations. A successful entrepreneur and organizational development expert, Annette built a peer advisory business in less than a year comprised of members representing companies with 40,000+ employees and $23 billion in revenue that was featured in Entrepreneur Magazine. She is passionate about equipping leaders with measurable people analytics data and much more.