A Does your organization have an actionable operational roadmap?

Whether your answer is ‘yes’ or ‘no’, this post is for you. We’ve worked with a lot of SaaS companies, and neither scenario is uncommon. Those in favor of roadmaps are generally good at turning their vision for their company into a big picture outline and knowing what steps need to be taken to bring that vision to life. 

The roadmap-averse, on the other hand, are probably still writing their company’s story. Rolling with the punches, seeing where each quarter’s current steers the ship, and acting accordingly.
 
When it comes down to it, every company needs a roadmap. Here’s why.
 

What is an operational roadmap?

 
A roadmap is, first and foremost, a statement of intent. The only prerequisite is knowledge of the gaps in your customer experience. 
 
In a recent company-wide meeting of ours, there was a discussion about roadmapping and why it’s such a crucial part of a RevOps team’s job. Essentially, a roadmap is the best way to ensure all your teams are working towards your company’s revenue goals. Having a prioritized outline of the initiatives that will help meet those goals makes it much easier for people to unite behind the vision. 
 
It’s a common misconception that roadmapping is a waste of time, especially being that SaaS companies grow and change so frequently. The idea behind it is that all the planning will be for nothing, and might even hurt agility. 
 
That’s the wrong way to look at it. Yes, change will happen. Things will come up, left turns will be taken, and that’s okay. It’s important to keep in mind that even as circumstances change, your overall vision will stay more or less the same. Roadmaps, when done right, afford you plenty of agility. Here’s how. 
 

They’re strategic

This is a critical distinction. Your roadmap is meant to be a statement of intent, not a vehicle for task management or a dumping ground for backlog ideas. Knowing this will ensure that what you end up with is something actionable to align your teams.

 

They acknowledge the likelihood of change

Like we said above, a roadmap does not mean surrendering your company’s agility. When you create an operational roadmap, do so with the understanding that it isn’t set in stone and should adjust along with you.
 
A roadmap’s most important function is to communicate the big picture vision for your organization and give priority to the work that is going to make the most impact.
 

They break down silos

Having a shared view of your operational goals is a good way to align your teams and give each one insight into what the others are working on. Having this kind of insight allows everyone to do their own jobs better and creates transparency that fosters empathy between teams and individuals.

 

How we roadmap

 

We create strategic operational roadmaps for each of our clients. To do this, we need to have a deep understanding of their business. That means knowing as much as we possibly can about their current processes, tech stack, and effectiveness of the business as a whole. 

 

We are then able to create a list of gaps that exist operationally. From there, we brainstorm workstreams to close those gaps, which we then prioritize before starting work.

We use Roadmunk to help construct and visualize the roadmaps we create, both internally and with our clients. Depending on the business and the length of their workstreams or sprints, the roadmap will be revisited as frequently as every couple weeks to ensure that priorities haven’t changed.