How do you create a strategic roadmap for your business? Visionary companies like Uber have used strategic roadmaps to launch their taxi-on demand venture from a pilot in a single city into a global phenomenon. Strategic roadmaps offer a visual representation of the daily, weekly, and monthly actions needed to accomplish long-term business objectives like a global expansion. They help assess current capabilities, define upcoming challenges, and generate achievable goals that stay true to the business' vision.
To learn how to create a roadmap for a strategic plan for your business, you can download the Strategic Roadmap template we've created to bring your vision to life with the top strategic roadmap tools, models and timelines. The presentation includes strategic roadmaps with progress trackers laid out in goal-oriented or timeline views, a swimlane view with a drop-down card layout to track teams across multiple business ideas, plus additional slides dedicated to strategic vision, roadmap development, business model evolution, and focus areas. To learn how a company like Uber uses strategic roadmaps to expand its business, read to the end of the page.
Establish strategic vision
A strategic vision is the clear guiding principle that will carry through the business. It's where every roadmap should start. Strategic Vision can include current, near-term, and future visions. Place details of the current vision in the first bubbles, then details of the future vision in the final bubble. In the middle, details for the near-term vision are the objectives that need to be accomplished. This helps visualize where the company is now compared to where it wants to go. (Slide 2)
Business model evolution
Developed by Ernst & Young, the Business Model Evolution graph defines future vision as "purpose." How to get from the present state to the future state involves waves of evolution. The diagram is plotted on a graph that measures time and capabilities. The further we move into the future, the more new capabilities we develop. The lines that connect "today" to "purpose" represent vectors of investments. Those vectors are actionable pathways to close the gap between today and tomorrow. Similar to Gap Analysis, this is all about bridging the gap between where you are now and where you want to be. Each vector corresponds with the key focus areas that are most important to the vision, so change them accordingly.(Slide 3)
To keep a roadmap on track and in line with the strategic vision, it's important to identify strengths and weaknesses of the company. In order to get to a future state, define what areas should be improved and which should be changed entirely. An Areas for Change table points to specific characteristics that should be improved upon. Under "describe the change", detail the aspects of the current processes that should be improved upon. Identify how to improve, then track progress towards completion. The markers can then be changed to reflect the percentage complete of each task. (Slide 5)
Focus area tables
A Focus Area table can help get more specific on the areas listed from the previous table. Use the tabs to highlight what goals to achieve, by when, and why. The table helps track the most important milestones, the tasks to be accomplished, the team members responsible for these tasks, and the resources that are needed. (Slide 6)
Roadmapping: develop your strategic roadmap
After analysis of the key focus areas, it's time to build the strategic roadmap. We've listed a few steps suggested for Roadmap Development: 1) illustrate the correct process map, 2) translate how the business process influences strategic objectives, 3) indicate how to develop KPIs, deliverables and measurables to meet your goals, 4) dedicate the appropriate team members to various tasks, and 5) operate the improvement process. This also includes how metrics are communicated and how performance improvement plans can turn into actions going forward. (Slide 4)
Now for how to lay out the roadmap. This roadmap visualization tracks company mission, values, and ingredients for change along with timestamps below. Roadmaps use time as a measurement of progress, so use them to contextualize goals. For example: "By year two, we want to accomplish X. By year three, we want to accomplish Y." A goal-oriented Strategic Roadmap layout can highlight key actions for near-term and long-term accomplishments. (Slide 7-8)
There are additional roadmap formats available that fit every preference. This variation of the Strategic Roadmap displays key measurables on the left-hand side and tracks key activities in a notecard view. These metrics and events can be customized to your team's situation. The timeline at the top is formed by a table with 31 columns to imply a monthly view. However, the number of columns can be changed to reflect weekly, quarterly, half-year, or yearly views. (Slide 9)
Sometimes, a roadmap should be used to map out changes across multiple departments. In that case, use a cross-functional roadmap. Here, "four different departments" are listed with their corresponding proposed goals and goals in progress. The strategic roadmap should constantly evolve and change during the company's lifespan. That's the sign of a healthy company that is open to change and adjustment. (Slide 10)
The timeline view can be broken down into three separate departments with sub-categories. At the top, use a "milestone tracker" to plot goals to key dates like funding deadlines. (Slide 13)
A Swimlane View with a drop-down card layout can track separate teams across proposals, in-progress actions, and tasks to be scheduled. The swimlane view provides a note card layout with departments at the top. On the left-hand side, goals are broken up by "proposals, in progress, and to be scheduled." (Slide 14)
The in-depth roadmap provides a top-level view to roadmap multiple years of change. Detail business changes at the top to plot the transition from starting state to target state. Match your long-term vision with key KPIs to track underneath. Below KPIs, measure all the initiatives and goals across different functions and departments. Map out how long each initiative should take to implement across your timeline. For additional notes corresponding to each section, use the notecards on the right-hand side.
The in-depth roadmap provides a top-level view to map out multiple years of change. Detail business changes at the top to plot the transition from starting state to target state. Match long-term vision with the critical KPIs to track progress towards those goals. Below KPIs, measure all the initiatives and goals across different departments. Map out how long each initiative should take. Remember that it's okay to pivot to new focus areas and change the roadmap as needed. Updates to the roadmap to reflect changes to the vision and new ideas should be a key part of a company's operations. (Slide 15)
Uber business case
Why do so many great business ideas fail? Because they miss the leap from concept to completion. The right strategic roadmap not only helps to bridge your vision and execution but does so in a visually communicative way. A solid roadmap allows for strategic investments and smart decision-making.
Uber uses strategic roadmaps to execute new business proposals and stick to its vision even as the company expands its offerings. Uber started with a clear vision to become an accessible and easy-to-use taxi service for all. It identified its mission, values, ingredients for change, and a five-year plan. It built a clear roadmap for growth and ensured its app and registration process was simple and accessible. It carries that vision of simplicity and accessibility into all of its new proposals.
Since it started with one pilot program in San Francisco, Uber has spread to 63 countries. To kickstart demand it offered driver incentives and had city launchers parachute into new markets, set up offices, and launch the service. This strategy was expensive, but it turbocharged business. A clear strategic roadmap allowed Uber to adapt its areas of focus to each new location. A swimlane view roadmap could help keep track of these multiple proposals at once across different departments, whereas a timeline view clearly tracks key dates and ensures the company's milestones have been hit.
In addition to the obvious benefits, roadmaps secure buy-in from internal and external stakeholders. They make it easy to negotiate against new initiatives that require major upfront costs but don't fit the grand plan. Strategic roadmaps bridge strategy to execution and help executives navigate the future with confidence. If you can connect the current vision with the future vision, you've achieved the ultimate objective that all strategies strive for.
If you have a unique vision but can't execute it as efficiently as Uber? You need this presentation. Download the Strategic Roadmap presentation for all these roadmap models and slides to save time and hours of work.