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Program Roadmap

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Program Roadmap Definition

A program roadmap is a high-level overview of a product management program. It is a tool for communication designed by a product team and a program manager to define and illustrate the program lifecycle, encompassing all of its stages and objectives. Over a year or more, program roadmaps stress the connections between service gaps, business strategy, program milestones, and impending initiatives.

What should be included in a program roadmap?

Most of the time, a program roadmap is just a higher-level roadmap that oversees a handful of projects or smaller-sized project roadmaps. So, a program roadmap should mainly include all the relevant details and information about those projects.  

Although these details may vary from team to team, they usually include the following components:

  • Milestones - These should indicate the approximate due dates for goals

  • A visual format - Program roadmaps generally use timelines to represent plans and goals for several different projects

  • Deliverables - These are short-term tasks that need to be completed to reach different milestones

Strategic thinking is more important than tactical responses in program management, which can be a challenging shift for product managers. Program managers add long-term value to the company's vision and direction. They assist those more focused on short-term commitments, deadlines, and sprints while being conscious of the company's overall strategy and goals.

Why you shouldn’t use Excel or PowerPoint templates to create your program roadmap

It might be tempting to create a program roadmap using templates for popular software like Excel or PowerPoint. However, these programs have some serious limitations when creating roadmaps. 

If you use Excel and PowerPoint roadmap templates, you’ll likely run into these issues:

  • Hard to keep all your data updated automatically

  • Difficult to collaborate with everyone else on the team

  • You have to add everything manually, wasting a lot of time

  • It’s hard to manage and back-up files

  • Everything takes longer

That’s why we always recommend creating roadmaps with a purpose-built tool (like airfocus!) With a roadmapping tool, you can:

  • Add things easily with a drag-and-drop interface

  • Use different views

  • Collaborate with multiple people easily

  • Stay updated automatically 

  • Keep team members focused on the same goals

  • Easily share with other business partners and stakeholders

  • Easily track team progress

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Get our Roadmapping From A to Z eBook

60+ pages full of information about roadmapping and especially product roadmap: what is it, how to create a product roadmap, types of roadmaps, prioritization and tips on how to communicate with stakeholders effectively using roadmaps.

Get the eBook

General FAQ

What’s the difference between a program roadmap and a project roadmap?
A program roadmap has the role of bringing together several project roadmaps.

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