Some decades ago lots of energy was invested in making business plans. Big corporations even made long-range plans trying to determine likely business outcomes 3 to 5 years into the future.
Today we know that this does not work anymore. The fast-moving and fragmented market with unexpected events occurring ever so often, make detailed plans obsolete in no time. With teams that may be spread across continents and subject to constantly shifting customer demands the urgency to adjust their work instantly is overwhelming. This makes planning a challenge.
What is the purpose of a business roadmap?
A business roadmap should help a team focus on their growth journey in a synchronized manner. There is a constant influx of problems, opportunities, and ideas from left, right, and center. The business roadmap should be used as a tool to validate how an incoming matter needs to be addressed and if there is a need to deviate from the current course.
Why is it so hard to stick to the plan?
The challenge is twofold. First, the plan is often too detailed containing specific deadlines and activities dependent on each other. Furthermore, plans are rarely based on deep insights from customer & market drivers and tend to be unrealistic regarding market maturity.
Secondly, teams seldom have the nerve to do proper progress checks. They fail to meet and re-examine a plan, learn from each other what did or did not work, and then revise the plan accordingly. In addition, as plans are too detailed and not designed to be used for recurring team prioritization they tend to be obsolete the minute they are created.
What can you do about it?
Since the plan never works exactly this should be reflected in the way the plan is designed. In a business roadmap, we acknowledge that the plan is just a framework with checkpoints, bringing teams together to reflect and learn. The team leader uses the business roadmap at regular team check-ins to revise the chosen path.
6 Steps for agile business planning:
Step 1 Recurring work: Decide with your team to co-create a Business Roadmap and to meet at regular intervals for joint progress checks.
Step 2 Milestones: Define key milestones going forward and the timeline to reach each milestone.
Step 3 Metrics: Choose key KPIs and set goals/metrics for follow up of each milestone. Both financial & operational.
Step 4 Achievements: Achievements are levels of mature ways of working, repeatable, and proven best practice. Jointly plan each achievement required to reach a given milestone & sign off as these achievements are completed.
Step 5 Leaps: Leaps are major steps forward, and usually require completely new resources such as money and expertise and they usually transform the company. These are ex. new market entries, large capitalization, formative business deals and partnerships, M&A etc. Jointly discuss potential leaps to be taken for a given milestone and when the opportunity emerges. Do this both with the team and the shareholders.
Step 6 Tool Creation: Create your own visualized Business Roadmap for each chosen milestone with timing and achievements, leaps and goals/KPIs.
Rosebud Note! Do not run your entire business with “Trello style task management”, as this kind of digital support tends to be much too detailed and designed to keep track of limited scale projects with tight boundaries.
Ta da! You’re done and you can start using your Business Roadmap! If you want to know more about the Rosebud Scaling Toolkit & Method please visit our website: