Our long-term continuous improvement effort can be complicated and a never-ending journey. A map can always be helpful in such situations to find the destinations and plan the best routes. A business roadmap is a map that displays business-related information rather than natural geographical information. There are different types of business roadmaps including: product, marketing, project, customer experience, change, and improvement roadmaps (which we’ll cover in this article).
An improvement roadmap is a kind of business roadmap that is used to achieve improvement. It is used to guide through the implementation of a long-term improvement journey. It helps us to understand where we are now as well as where we want to go. It is important, however, that the final destination is clear enough and attainable. Improvement roadmaps are often used to summarize a company’s strategic planning in a comprehensive and integrated manner. They can also be used in change management and organizational development projects.
There are many ways to construct improvement roadmaps, some of them are long and complicated. Improvement roadmaps should be, however, simple to create and easy to follow. You may present them in a timeline or a milestone format, and may think of them as a high-level Gantt charts. An improvement roadmap in its simplest format contains the following four sections.
It’s important to know that the final milestone in each improvement category is the final destination or the big goal you want to achieve. It represents the end of your journey and the achievement of the improvement goal. Also note that each milestone or intermediate target can be considered a project or sub-project for which you have to create an action plan. Here are questions that can further help to understand what to include and what not to include in your improvement roadmap.
After setting your goals and creating the improvement roadmap, an action plan per improvement category or per project shall be created. Action plans help breaking down big goals into smaller and workable activities, detailing what is needed to be done. Action plans shall outline all activities, their sequence, and time frames. They may outline other information such as the responsibilities, issues, obstacles, and where to focus efforts for greater impact.
Constructing an Improvement Roadmap
- With your team, present the topic and define the purpose of the improvement roadmap.
- Establish the categories in which you want to set your improvement goals.
- For each improvement category, analyze the current situation and where you want to be in the next two or three years.
- Set improvement targets and milestones for each improvement category.
- Establish performance metrics for each improvement category.
- Initiate improvement projects and action plans to help you achieve your improvement goals.
- Implement the improvement projects and action plans and apply ongoing measurement.
- Change the routes as needed throughout your journey keeping the final destination in mind.
There are many tools that can help you to create improvement roadmaps. One of the simplest ways is to use this improvement roadmap template.
The following is an example of an improvement roadmap that was created to improve throughput and efficiency in a workplace.
Another shorter time frame improvement roadmap has been created for the non-operational functions (human resources and customer services).
The following is an example of an improvement roadmap that was created to improve the shipping and warehouse department at a manufacturing company.