Roadmapping is a flexible planning technique to support strategic and long-term planning performed by portfolio, program and product managers. It includes deliverables timeline with planned dates, significant milestones and forecasts.
It can be used for both – to communicate strategic objectives to stakeholders and to keep them on track with the progress and potential delays.
There are the following main elements on a roadmap view:
- Unplanned (Backlog)
- Time Navigator
Unplanned (Backlog) contains entities that are not planned and have not been started yet. On a Roadmap you can see items scheduled in time. Time Navigator allows to navigate within the selected timeframe.
- When is work planned to be done?
- What is the actual cycle time?
- What is the forecasted completion date?
Below is a screenshot of a work item that is in progress:
- Planned start and end dates are shown with the dotted outline
- Actual start and end dates are shown with the solid background
- Forecasted Completion is represented with the semi-transparent background
Planned Start and End Dates
The dotted outline represents entity planned start and end dates, which determine when we plan to start working on an item and when we plan to complete it. All work entities in Targetprocess, such as Epics, Features, User Stories, etc., have planned start and end dates. These dates can be found on an entity detailed view.
To show the planned dates for completed cards on a roadmap, go to a view setup area and enable “Planned for Done” setting on a Roadmap tab.
Here you can also enable forecasts.
Actual Start and End Dates
Actual start and end dates, providing information about item cycle time, are represented by a solid white rectangular. It visualizes dates, when it got into progress, i.e. someone started working on it, and when work has been completed. It an item is still in progress, the actual cycle time frame lasts till the green vertical line, indicating today's date.
If users are displayed as cards, a start date of a user card would indicate the date, when this user has been created, and an end date would always be the current day.
On the right of the vertical green line, you see the forecasted completion date, represented by a semi-transparent rectangular. It shows when you can expect the work item to be completed. The forecast calculation is based on linear extrapolation using a start date, today's date and current progress. You're welcome to find a detailed description of Forecasts calculation in the dedicated article.
It is possible to group items on a roadmap horizontally by a parent item or any other entity property. Horizontal lanes can be configured in a view setup area. The screenshot below shows a roadmap view with Epics selected as cards and Portfolio Epics as horizontal lanes. In case an item, selected as a horizontal lane, has planned start and end dates, these dates will be shown on a Roadmap with a lighter shade of grey. This makes it easier to create a roadmap of work items and make sure they stay within the planned dates of their parent.
Planning of items may happen across different time frames or plan items, that's why you can choose Week, Month, Quarter, Half-Year, Year, as well as Iteration, Team Iteration and Release as vertical lanes on a roadmap view. Selected period will appear over date scale and will be divided using grey dotted grid lines. As soon as selected, you'll be able to plan work across the selected time frame with ease.
Group data by Release, Iteration or Team Iteration
Let's create a Roadmap that will represent how Features are planned and delivered by Program Increments (renamed Releases).
- Open a Roadmap setup.
- Select Program Increments as columns.
- Select Features as cards.
- Check that period set for a Roadmap is correct. Update it if necessary.
- As a result you'll see Features on a roadmap grouped visually by Program Increments:
- Program Increment are located on a timescale based on their Start and End dates.
- If there are Program Increments with the same cadence or overlapped dates, then they'll be united into single column. Counter located next to a column name will indicate how many additional Program Increments are there:
- Click a Program Increment name to see all other Program Increment available for these dates and navigate to any of them by clicking their names:
When dates of Releases/Iterations/Team Iteration are not equal but overlapped they'll be united into single column as well. The earliest Release/Iteration/Team Iteration name will be displayed as a column name. All others will be hidden under popup shown above.
Group data by Weeks, Months, Quarters, Halves and Years
You may want to plan your work based on calendar periods. In this case go to View setup, select Week, Month, Quarter, Half-Year or Year as a grouping option.
Like, if you plan work by weeks, then you'll see Week numbers on the time scale divided with grey dotted lines:
Planning on a Roadmap
Change Planned dates
You can update Planned Start Date and Planned End Date on a roadmap with drag-n-drop:
- Drag the left card's border to update Planned Start Date
- Drag the right card's border to update Planned End Date
- Drag the whole card to update both dates (duration won’t change)
Planning from a Backlog
You can move cards from Unplanned (Backlog) by using drag-n-drop. When a card is transferred to a Roadmap this way, the initial Planned Start and End dates are set automatically. The entity would take about 30% of the Roadmap’s length if no columns were selected.
When a Quarter, a Release or other entity is selected as a column, then the size of a card will be set equal to the column's width:
Drag-n-drop between columns
When you move a card on a Roadmap, configured with Release/Iterations/Team Iterations as columns, then appropriate Release/Iteration/Team Iteration will be assigned to a card the same way as it works on a Board view:
If a card can’t be assigned to a planning item, then we just set planned dates for a card without assignment to a Release/Iteration/Team Iteration.
Drag-n-drop between rows
You can also use drag-n-drop on a roadmap to move a card between horizontal lanes, changing the card’s property selected in rows. This way you can reassign a card to a different team or ART, update its Portfolio Epic, etc. Example below shows how you can update a Business Value of a Feature by drag-n-dropping if from one lane to another:
Dates shown in a tooltip when drag-n-drop a card
Prioritize cards on a roadmap view similar to how you do it on a board or a list view. Prioritization happens respecting settings on the Prioritize tab:
- You can't prioritize cards if it's OFF.
- You can prioritize cards if it's ON.
- You can prioritize holding SHIFT if the appropriate option is chosen on a view setup.
When drag-n-drop cards with prioritization OFF (or not holding SHIFT for the last option), then a card will take place on a roadmap according to its priority, as it's shown on the example below. Hold SHIFT to prioritize it.
To set the period of the time for navigating the roadmap, use the time selector in the upper right corner of the view.
To navigate on a roadmap, use the Time Navigator at the bottom of the screen. The highlighted box represents the part of a roadmap visible to you on the screen right now.
To move back or forth in time (while keeping the current length of the displayed time frame), you have to drag and drop the whole box, by clicking anywhere inside the box and moving it to the left or right:
- moving the box to the left means going back in time
- moving it to the right means going forth in time
To change the scale of the displayed time frame, you need to grab the left or the right edge of the highlighted box and move it to the left or to the right. The size of the box will adjust, and the details area of the roadmap will update accordingly to show a shorter/longer timeframe.
Besides navigation, the Time Navigator shows the density of entities, that are available on a roadmap. Colours on a picture above indicate types of entities (Bugs and User Stories for example). It allows to get answers to the following questions:
- How many cards are on a roadmap at different periods of time?
- How many cards of different types are there?
- Is a number of cards increasing or decreasing over time?
Refreshing the Time Navigator
At the moment the Time navigator doesn’t support automatic updates. Thus, you have to refresh it manually from time to time.
It is not possible to hide Backlog column on a Roadmap view.