Tools & Templates

Develop a Strategy Roadmap

In the ever-evolving leadership landscape, one crucial skill stands tall – the ability to lead with unwavering clarity. As a leader, your team should look to you in both the good and the bad times, seeking two things: direction & planning.

Unfortunately, many teams start to fail here. Without a clear vision and plan, you will struggle to set a course of action your team can follow.

That is where a Strategic Roadmap comes in handy. It's a simple tool to help you clarify how you plan to succeed by taking your next big goal and breaking it down into smaller steps.

  1. Set a goal
  2. Create a roadmap
  3. Plan your milestones

Let me use an example I used when I learned the tool in my Capgemini Consulting days that has stuck with me through the years.

Strategy Roadmap to land the first monkey on Mars.

Setting a Goal: A Realistic Odyssey

Imagine you are the leader of a company whose ambition is to explore the vastness of space. While the enormity of the challenge might overwhelm you with all the possibilities and complexities, the key lies in refining the goal. Bring it closer to home, make it crystal clear, achievable, and ambitious enough to ignite your team's motivation. 

For instance, take the abstract notion of exploring space and turn it into a tangible goal of landing the first monkey on Mars. Now, you have the basis to create a more realistic plan.

Crafting a Roadmap: A Structured Journey

With an inspiring goal in sight, it's time to craft a roadmap that outlines your journey. A roadmap has four elements: your starting point, destination, needs, and timeline.

  • Starting point: reflect on your team's last significant achievement
  • Destination: define the next big goal
  • Needs: identify the prerequisites for success
  • Timeline: establish realistic time intervals for each action

In this case, your roadmap items would be the following:

  • Starting point: we got a man to the Moon
  • Destination: we want to land the first monkey on Mars.
  • Needs: we will need a rocket, advanced technology, and trained monkeys. 
  • Timeline: we want to succeed within three years.

That is your roadmap structure. It's that simple:

  1. Where are you right now?
  2. What is your next goal?
  3. What is required to reach your goal?
  4. What is a realistic timeline for success?

Plan your Milestones: The Puzzle Pieces

With your roadmap laid out, shift to planning milestones. For each identified need, break down the steps necessary to fulfill them. Write down milestones as actionable steps with concrete deliverables.

In short, what does your team need to do to get monkeys ready to fly, develop advanced guidance technology, and build a rocket to send to Mars within three years?

Take the Monkeys. The milestones to make sure you have ready-to-fly monkeys could be something like this:

  1. Monkeys recruited
  2. Manuals written
  3. Simulator training updated
  4. Monkey fully trained

For the rockets, the milestones could be:

  1. Rocket builder appointed
  2. Propulsion units completed
  3. Monkey landing module designed & built
  4. Unmanned-mission undertaken
  5. Maintained orbit completed

And for the technology:

  1. IT provider appointed
  2. IT needs analysis completed
  3. Monkey-human translation software written
  4. Systems testing complete
  5. Go-live successful

It’s like a puzzle. You want to keep it simple. The simpler you describe the steps, the more likely your team will believe the plan will come together. A tip: it helps to write your milestones as actions that result in concrete deliverables. 

Remember, the key is balance, so make sure the milestones are challenging enough to motivate the team but not so unrealistic that they become unattainable. It's a delicate art that, with practice, sharpens your ability to create a strategic roadmap. This roadmap becomes your compass, focusing your team effort, guiding decision-making, and, ultimately, reaching your goal.

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