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Developed by Jonathan Nøddeskov Clifford



Programs can become very complicated as they evolve. It can be easy for individual projects to lose track of the program goal. A program manager will have to coordinate between multiple projects each focusing on different areas such as stakeholders, technology, material resources, infrastructure etc. A program manager might have all the necessary resources to ensure a successful program but if none of these resources are working together or if projects meant to support further development are not in place when needed the program will fail. As described by the PMI-standard

“Program management is the centralized coordinated management of a program to achieve the program’s strategic objectives and benefits. It involves aligning multiple projects to achieve the program goals and allows for optimized or integrated cost, schedule and, effort.”[1]

Not only does roadmapping help program managers align projects it also help them plan these projects efficiently. Furthermore roadmapping helps programs managers handle and coordinate between different factors such as politics, economy, infrastructure, society etc.

This article will examine the following

1. Describe the relevance of Roadmapping in program management.

2. A detailed guide to the use of Strategic Roadmapping.

3. A critical reflection of the limitations of Strategic Roadmapping.

Roadmapping in Program Management

Roadmapping is the last step in the "Program Strategy Alignment" domain. It visualizes the objectives, opportunities and relations identified by the environmental assessment, business case and program plan. The roadmap should clarify how the these objectives and opportunities should be implemented through projects and how these projects relate and support each other.

Strategy alignment.jpg [1]

A roadmap is a illustrative way of creating a representation of how projects in the program interact and depend on each other. It should visualize the mentioned dependencies, key objectives/milestones and identify necessary infrastructure.

The roadmap has several benefits.

1. Depicts key dependencies between major milestones.

2. Clarifies the link between the business plan and prioritized projects.

3. The illustrative nature of the method helps identify and explain gaps in the program plan.

4. Creates an overview of key milestones.

5. Identifies key factors for the program planning including objectives, risks, end points, key infrastructure etc.

6. Helps program managers plan and develop key infrastructure to support the program.

Roadmaps can initially be difficult to fully exploit as there are typically many unknowns in the start of the program and therefore assumptions will have to be made. However the initial roadmaps can help clarify and create a focus on achieving the program goal. The raodmap construction should involve key indviduals from projects making sure that everyone is aware of the program goal and what other projects exist and how they relate to your specific project.

It is also advised to hold multiple roadmap sessions as the program proceeds. The roadmaps will become more clear as less is unknown and challenges and oppurunities that have arisen can be identfitied and handled. Hopefully this should lead to a convergence of the projects as they strategically align with eachother.

Roadmapping Guide

There exist a number of different roadmaps and the method itself is bieng researched into as there defininetly is room for improvement. A roadmap that could be useful for program managers is the Strategic Landscape roadmap. The Strategic Landscape roadmap works at a higher level than more specific roadmaps like the technological roadmap. It makes sense to use the roadmap to create an overview of the the different projects and how they are connected. Furthermore the roadmap also helps define the projects based on their output and goals.

The Strategic Landscape defines projects as either being based on providing Mobility, Technology or Enablers. It also encourages the user to analyze trends and drivers that could have a potential impact on the program.[2]

Trends and Drivers: This could be political, social, legal, environmental, economical or technological trends that could either hinder or benefit the project. Identifying these trends or drivers and properly preparing to either deflect or harness their impact could be critical to the program success.

The indentification of these trends and drivers could be done using a number of different exploratory tools such as brainwriting/brainstorming or PESTEL. [3]

Mobility: Projects that provide the mobility needed for the program to succeed. This could be infrastructure as seen in the English Olympics case. In that case, the program needed extensive infrastructure in the form of roads, subway systems, sanitation, electrical cables, pipes, etc.

Technological: Projects that either acquire or develop technologies that support the program or in many cases other projects in the later stages of the program.

Enablers: Projects that provide other necessary outputs. You might have to acquire building permits from the government to build on a specific piece of land. It could also be the acquisition of key partnerships.

The roadmap construction should be done in a workshop enviroment. To facilate the workshop there exist the S-Plan workshop which involves six different steps.


The facilitators of the workshop conduct this step, either this is the program managers themselves or someone directly overseen by them. The focus, scope and aim of the roadmap is defined beforehand as well as the workshop agenda. It is also important to identify which participants are vital to the workshop and plan the logistics to make sure that participants are available and can travel to the workshop location. It might also be necessary to prepare other resources such as post-its, charts, pens, food, etc.

Creating figures beforehand on charts can also save time and show that the facilitators are prepared and engaged in the workshop.[4]

Workshop Stage A:

Development of a strategic landscape. This is done through presentation and brainstorming activities as it is important to involve as many participants as possible. The aim of the first stage is to capture as many perspectives and key issues across the scope of the area. Below is an example of a Strategic Landscape Roadmap. The different projects have been inserted with their start dates and planned end dates. It can also be benificial to draw lines connecting projects to highlight dependencies and mark key milestones.

Strategic Landscape.jpg

Workshop Stage A could very well lead to the identification of challenges and oppurtunities connected to trends and drivers or specific projects. These challenges and oppurtunties should be written down as they will be used in the next step of workshop.

Workshop Stage B:

As mentioned challenges and oppurtunities might already have been identified in Stage A. This stage focuses on creating a list of these challenges and oppurtunities and prioritizing them. A SWOT analysis can be used to identify internal strengths (S) and weaknesses (W), and external opportunities (O) and threats (T).

Focusing on the transitions between projects can also identify weaknesses and oppurtunities as it ussually in these areas that challenges can arise.

The priorization of the challenges can be done using a risk register where you in plenum decide on the likelyhood and impact of threats and challenges. A guide to the implementation and use of a risk register can be found on the wiki.

Workshop Stage C:

The most important opportunities and challenges are further explored. Breaking into smaller groups to analyze the topics and presenting them after could be beneficial to save time. Methods for handling the challenges and oppurtunities could be Scenario analysis or Technological roadmapping. Technological Roadmapping could be extremely useful as it is a more focused roadmap version and therefore better at a project level. The construction of such a roadmap provides the project manager with key information and helps identify and handle threats. [5]

Workshop Stage D:

The presentations are reviewed and further discussed to ensure that all perspectives are incorporated, as well to highlight key learning points. A summary of the workshop results should also be created so that the participants can view a breakdown of the results.


This final step is completed some time after workshop. It is important to follow up on the different projects to make sure that the results of the workshop are implemented but it is also important to make sure that the solutions are working as planned. It might also be necessary to conduct more roadmap sessions as the roadmap needs to adapt as new information is gathered and challenges arise.

Limitations and Dangers of Roadmapping

Roadmapping is a great method for aligning multiple projects towards the program goal, however there exist several challenges and risks.[2]

1. Not a magic bullet – initially more questions than answers.

The initial roadmap does not gaurantee success. Furthermore many of the benifits of the first roadmap derive from the roadmapping process rather than the roadmap itself. The process brings together peopel from different projects, professions etc. and provides an oppurtunity for sharing information and perspectives. The greatest benifit of the first roadmap is mostly communicating the strategic vision and goals of the program.

2. The process and roadmapping typically need to be customised.

The generic roadmap has great benifits for supporting the strategy and planning the program. However it is important to adapt the roadmap to fit your specific program. Roadmapping is still bieng researched and adapted to new situations so it is not a "one size fits all" method.

3. To simple

The graphical form of the roadmap helps communicate the program efficiently but does condense the individual projects. It is therefore important that the roadmap is supported by the appropriate documentation. This can be leviated by using more time on the workshop Stage C and creating detailed roadmaps of each single project. This however leads to the next limitation.

4. Time consuming

The workshop process can be very time consuming as alot of time is used on brainstorming and forming and reforming of groups. Expect to use at lease 1 day if not 2 days on the workshop.

Annotated Bibliography

[1] This is a crucial book for any program manager as it explores the different challenges of program management and how deal with them. Furthermore it also defines the relevance of program management for project and portofolio management. In This case the connection between projects and programs is interesting.

[2] This article explores the uses of roadmapping. It describes strategic and technological roadmapping as well as describing different way of conducting workshops and using the methods. Furthermore the article critically asseses roadmapping and aknowledges its weaknesses and limitations.

[3] The bible of Change Management in engineering systems. Contains alot of information about leadership, Management and how to motivate and create change in organisations. Its relevance in this case was the PESTEL, but would definetly recommend it to anyone wanting to know more about change management.

[4] Focuses more on the facilitation of change than [3]. This can be crucial as implementing theory in practice can be difficult and its important to prepare for this. The book contains alot of advice on how to conduct workshops and successfully engage participants and create meaningful result.

[5] A more in depth analysis of Technological Roadmapping. Contains a case example as well.


  1. 1.0 1.1 The standard for program Management, second Edition
  2. 2.0 2.1 Phaal 2009, Cambridge University
  3. The Theory and Practice of Change Management, fourth edition, Hayes (2014)
  4. Facilitating Change, Rasmussen, 2011
  5. Technology Roadmapping linking technology ressources into business planning, Farrukh, 2003
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