What’s up everyone today we’re talking about marketing roadmaps. Rodmaps are usually more common with tech product teams and they are also very common in the project management world. It’s about giving your team the big picture and helping everyone align on project goals. Anyone who’s been in marketing knows that this is something super useful that can be applied to this practice as well.
Key takeaway: While it doesn’t always have to be set in stone, a roadmap helps your team stay accountable to certain tasks and deliverables but it’s also a focus weapon that arms you with the ability to say no to new requests. You work on priorities and capacity, you share it with other departments for feedback and it becomes marching orders.
Friend of the podcast Darrell Alfonso said it best:
Okay so how would you define a roadmap?
Definition: A team roadmap is a visual overview showing what projects and tasks will be worked on and when.
It usually includes objectives, milestones/tasks, deliverables, resources, and a timeline.
A roadmap can serve as a reliable reference guide to help keep the team on track and share with other stakeholders your key projects and objectives.
So how do you bring this to life?
So I like to do this quarterly. Usually I have a backlog list of projects. This is made up of ideas and things that have popped up over time that we want to get to eventually. From the backlog, you want to try and assign a priority. This exercise can be wildly complex but it can be a simple ICE exercise (Impact, confidence, effort).
One keep component as you score projects is company goals and OKRs. Defining the business goals and objectives that the marketing team will work to support. This is usually trickled down in some capacity from management. It might include goals related to increasing brand awareness, generating leads, or improving customer satisfaction.
Then you look at capacity, how many hours of work does your team have this quarter, subtract meeting time and PTO. One thing I like to do here is keep a buffer of 15% time for unexpected urgent tasks that pop up.
Then you can decide what stays in the backlog and what gets prioritized for the upcoming quarter.
There’s a bunch of different tools you can use for roadmapping, whether it’s Jira, Asana, Trello, Notion or others, they all boil down to very similar functions.
- Start with a list of core projects
- Break up the projects into sub tasks and milestones
- Assign task owners and deadlines
- Describe each task and highlight dependencies
How does this arm you to say no to new requests and stay on track?
How to present your roadmap
Kanban / Board
What are the best tools to developing a timeline for the initiatives and activities, including key milestones and deliverables.
There are many different tools that organizations can use to develop a timeline for their marketing initiatives and activities, including key milestones and deliverables.
Project management software, such as Notion, Asana, Trello, or Microsoft Project, which can be used to create a visual representation of the timeline, track progress, and manage resources.
Collaboration tools, such as Slack, Google Hangouts, or Microsoft Teams, which can be used to communicate with team members, share information, and collaborate on tasks.
Gantt charts, which are graphical representations of the tasks and dependencies within a project. Gantt charts can be used to visualize the timeline, identify potential conflicts or bottlenecks, and adjust the schedule as needed.
Spreadsheet software, such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets, which can be used to create a tabular representation of the timeline, track progress, and perform calculations.
Overall, the best tools for developing a timeline will depend on the specific needs and preferences of the organization. By using a combination of different tools, organizations can create a comprehensive and effective timeline that helps them plan and execute their marketing initiatives and activities.
What’s your fav tool?
Trello never fails. But I’ve become a big fan of Notion.
Yes, Notion can be used for project management and roadmaps.
It’s usually thought of as a company wiki or a place to write memos, but it’s so much more… and if it can also help you manage your projects… imagine combining all of that in one place.
Many teams have
- A company docs or wiki like Confluence
- They have a project management tool like Asana or Jira
- And then they have a bunch of scattered docs in the form of google sheets, google docs, folders
- That usually includes a bunch of emails also
But imagine if you could have just 1 tool to rule all of these. At my startup we use Notion pretty heavily. Not every does this to a T, we do have some stragglers, but imagine a world where
- Company docs and memos are no longer emails or a various panoply of google docs
- Projects are managed in one spot and reference things in the same tool, no need for separate logins or extra credentials
- All in Notion.
Notion is a versatile and customizable productivity tool.
I use it personally but also at work, like I mentioned.
But because of its versatility, Notion sometimes gets a bad rep when it comes to project management or roadmapping… I’m here to tell you it can all work in there.
Notion has a database that enables you to have a variation of views on projects and items, it has templates, it has comments and tracking changes features, it can do anything Trello or Asana can and more.
It’s easy to assume you chatted with important folks before diving into projects but speaking from experience, forgetting a key stakeholder and realizing it too late can create major chaos.
What’s the best path to identify dependencies and stakeholders?
Conducting a stakeholder analysis, which involves identifying and prioritizing the stakeholders who are relevant to the project or initiative, and assessing their interests, needs, and potential impact. This can help organizations understand who the key stakeholders are and what their priorities and expectations are, and can inform the development of the project or initiative.
Creating a stakeholder map, which is a visual representation of the relationships between the stakeholders and the project or initiative. This can help organizations understand how the stakeholders are connected, and can identify potential areas of conflict, collaboration, or influence.
Developing a stakeholder engagement plan, which outlines the strategies and tactics that will be used to engage and communicate with the stakeholders throughout the project or initiative. This can help organizations ensure that the stakeholders are involved and informed, and can provide feedback and support as needed.
Overall, identifying dependencies and stakeholders is an important step in the project or initiative planning process, and can help organizations understand the potential impacts and risks, and develop strategies to manage them effectively. By using a structured and systematic approach, organizations can improve their chances of success and achieve their goals and objectives.
Sharing your roadmap
Finally, how do you share this roadmap?
Creating a visual representation of the roadmap, such as a timeline, mind map, or infographic, which can be used to illustrate the key initiatives, activities, and milestones in an engaging and easy-to-understand format.
Using storytelling techniques to communicate the roadmap, such as narrating a journey or creating a storyboard that shows the evolution of the marketing plan over time. This can help stakeholders understand the context, purpose, and value of the roadmap, and can make it more memorable and engaging.
Using interactive elements, such as videos, animations, or simulations, to communicate the roadmap. This can help stakeholders understand the details of the roadmap, and can provide a more engaging and immersive experience.
Using collaborative tools, such as online whiteboards, forums, or surveys, to communicate the roadmap and gather feedback from stakeholders. This can help stakeholders feel more involved and invested in the marketing plan, and can provide valuable insights and ideas that can be incorporated into the roadmap.
Overall, there are many creative ways that organizations can communicate their marketing roadmap to key stakeholders. By using innovative and engaging approaches, organizations can improve the impact and effectiveness of their marketing plan, and enhance their chances of success.
So this is all nice and stuff but everyone knows, especially in a startup, priorities change. So you spent all of this time building and planning a roadmap but something new comes along.
How rigid are you in accommodating this?
- Saving capacity for adhoc projects
- Saying no is okay
How far out should you plan?
How far out is too far out
1 year is way too far out, even 6 months. Quarterly is my preference but some teams might opt for monthly. Lots of dev teams do bi weekly sprints or epics… it’s really up to you and how stability is in your org.
Monthly I found was too much time spent on planning.
Quarterly sometimes doesn’t stick.
So as you set sail on your marketing voyage, don’t forget to bring along the maps, compasses, and sextants of the data-driven world. With their help, you can chart a course to marketing success and avoid the pitfalls of uncertainty and unpredictability.
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