Do you get impostor syndrome as a DPM? I know I had it for a while. It seemed like my only skill was that I was an organized person that knew a little bit about everything, but not enough to be considered an expert. Anyone else could do my job if they tried and it was non-strategic whatsoever.
If this resonates with you, you may want to give a thought to project roadmaps. Project roadmaps are the strategic foundation of our projects and programs. They allow us to communicate to stakeholders the big picture and how it impacts their goals. A full definition is available at the end of this list.
In this article I’ve selected project management tools that I believe you might be using at work. I decided on them because I want to find out if I can use some of their features to build a project roadmap instead of adding another tool to your collection.
Let’s see if I was able to do it! Stay with me.
What did I look for when I selected the best Project Roadmap Software? Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria:
- Platform familiarity: Since we are actively trying to reduce the amount of tools you use everyday, I selected tools that you might already be using for your projects.
- User friendliness: I want to evaluate if the project management tool in question has what it takes, visually, to communicate to stakeholders what the roadmap demands. Also if I can come up with a workaround for those who don’t have it..
- Integrations: I will see which tools have integrations or power-ups that can help you work with a third party app that has the potential to improve those roadmaps.
- Value for $: I look at the cost of these tools and if they have a free version or free trial we can use to test your specific use case.
Project Roadmap Software Key Features
- Phase progress: The software should give you the possibility to show the progress you’ve made in each phase of the project.
- Color coding: Although it may seem basic feature, I think colors help us visually separate information and allow our brains to process it with ease.
- Collaboration tools: Wherever you have your roadmap, should be a place where you can collect feedback from stakeholders. Therefore look for a tool that offers product features like chat, comments, notifications on progress, etcetera.
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Monday.com is a hyper-customizable project management tool that can help teams work through simple and complex projects. Although it needs time to get used to all that you can tailor, it makes it easy to have one tool that does multiple things.
In this case, that means it can handle your project roadmap creation! Yay! As you can see in the screenshot above, you can group the different items you’ll show your stakeholders. The client can see in one glance all the important dates, and if the project has any flags raised or dependencies.
Tip: start a blank project and add column fields as you see fit. Try to have your colored column separated to prevent confusion, you don’t want your board to look like the Cirque Du Soleil poster.
monday.com integrates with Roadmap, Infinity, and thousands of other apps through Zapier.
monday.com is free for up to 2 users and paid plans start at $8/user/month and offers a 14-day free trial.
Asana has a robust Business plan that includes timeline and portfolio management features. Although the time at which we create a project roadmap varies, if you are a dpm who builds their project plan before the project roadmap, you’ll love Asana.
This software allows you to practically build your project plan and project roadmap at the same time! How, you ask? Well, they have a multiple nesting feature that allows you to create a task and assign it to multiple projects. This means that when you get to a task or milestone that should be included in the roadmap, simply assign it to that project within the task details.
Asana integrates with Airfocus, Microsoft Teams, Adobe Creative Cloud, JIRA Cloud, Salesforce, Tableau, Slack, Clockwise, MS Office 365, Google Calendar, Gmail, Power BI, Outlook, ServiceNow, JotForm, Google Drive, Looker, Vimeo, DropBox, Trello, GitLab, and a growing list of other apps. Plus, a plan with Zapier or Tray.io can let you access other apps to connect with Asana.
Asana is free for up to 15 users and 3 projects. Paid plans start at $10.99/user/month and offer a 30-day free trial.
ProjectManager is a powerful project and portfolio administration tool. Its interface is reminiscent of MS Project, but has interesting additions. One of them is how they calculate progress, which is based on 3 different completion stages and averaged with other subtasks to show overall progress.
Because of this visual progress bar, I had to stick with a timeline for this roadmap. I believe that the easier it is for clients to see the overall status, the less questions they have. Want to show them more or less information? You can toggle information display options in the Gantt settings.
ProjectManager integrates with MS Project, Excel, Office 365, Salesforce CRM, QuickBooks, Xero, Dropbox, Desk.com, JIRA, Hubspot, Slack,Zendesk, Evernote, OneLogin, OneDrive, and the complete Google Suite. They also have a powerful REST API to help you build against internal or external tools.
ProjectManager has a free plan for up to 3 users. Paid plans start at $11.50/user/month and have a 30-day trial.
Wrike is a collaborative work management platform that proved just enough to handle a roadmap. Since most of my intention with a roadmap is to let others know how tasks are progressing, if we have encountered problems or the impact on our goals, the project information window is key to communicate this.
This is one place where you can keep this valuable information. Wrike’s available editing tools should be enough to let you create headers, add images, link to external sources, and even attach files. Therefore, if you still want pretty visuals, you could prepare them in a Google doc, connect Wrike to it, and attach the file directly to this window.
Wrike offers 400+ pre-built native integrations, including integrations with the most popular file management software from Microsoft, Google, and Dropbox, along with sales and marketing software from Salesforce and Marketo.
Wrike is free for up to 5 users. Paid plans cost from $9.80/user/month and come with a 14-day free trial.
Smartsheet is a sheet-based project management software that works best for DPMs used to Excel or MS Project. In this scenario, the grid view is the perfect place to build a roadmap view of your project.
Although not the most attractive visually, this software is practical. It gives you enough freedom within their field customization for you to make a functional roadmap out of it. As you can see I color-coded the status of each activity for better understanding and definitely highlighted those risks! I guess that is as much for you as it is for the client…
Smartsheet integrations include Microsoft and Google apps, as well as development essentials like Jira, and useful business apps like Salesforce, ServiceNow, Slack, Box, and Tableau. The platform is extensible through a REST API and webhooks.
Smartsheet paid plans cost from $7/user/month and come with a 30-day free trial.
GanttPRO is a software that seems to understand what project managers need. To date I cannot find something I dislike about this software. I knew it had potential to build a roadmap because of its Gantt chart capabilities but never thought it would be this easy.
Where you build your roadmap will depend on if you are a visual person or not. If you are not, head over to the list view, where you can add a progress column, status, cost, and actual cost to start your roadmap. If you prefer visuals, do the same but from the Gantt view where you will also get timeline bars with shading that show task progress.
GanttPRO integrates with JIRA Cloud but does not list any other native third-party connections.
Pricing starts at $7.99 and has a 14-day trial.
TeamGantt is my favorite Gantt chart maker because of how intuitive, and easy it is to learn and use. Since I know you will have no trouble mapping your timeline in it, I decided to focus on how to make it work for a roadmap.
Here’s what I came up with. Since your roadmap will need more than just a timeline showing overall progress and milestones, I thought I would give you information on the project settings. The project settings in this tool gives you an overall project progress bar on top (gray bar), along with general information on your project.
You can use the notes section to record your non-timeline information. This will give you a window where you can see almost all relevant information in one snapshot. If you want more formatting, you can add a document to this window instead, but your clients will need an extra click to get to those details.
TeamGantt integrates natively with Slack, Trello, and Dropbox; offers additional API integrations; and connects to hundreds of other apps using a paid Zapier account.
TeamGantt is free for up to 3 users. Paid plans start at $19.90/user/month with a 30-day trial.
Hive is a visually friendly-looking tool that allows you to build timelines for your projects in minutes. I started building the roadmap in the Gantt view, setting milestones and project phases. Then, I finished adding my information in the table view.
The benefits of table view:
- Visually separated milestones
- Description field to add quick status updates
- Label field so you don’t miss which activities you need to be careful with
My only problem was adding the extra information. Where do I add my project scope, overview of goals, and details on risks? I decided to add an extra task at the top (no date so you don’t mess up your timeline) and dumped all that info in the description field.
Hive integrates with Google Drive, MS Teams, Slack, Salesforce, Jira, and many more via a paid plan through Zapier.
Hive is free for up to 2 users. Paid plans cost from $12/user/month and come with a 14-day free trial.
ProductPlan is a roadmapping tool with everything you need to build the perfect roadmap. Whether it’s an internal roadmap, technology roadmap, agile roadmap, adding lanes, comments, or collaborating on live roadmaps, they got you covered.
First, there’s so many templates that you might find what you need to get started. If you want to build your own, you can also do that and then start dragging elements from the toolbox that will show on the right to your roadmap. You can also color-code your bars according to your project goals.
Even though it’s not a traditional project management tool, this can handle all your project, program, and product roadmaps. Want to add this tool to your collection?
ProductPlan integrates with Jira software, Azure DevOps, and thousands of other apps through Zapier.
Paid plans start at $39/editor/month and come with a 14-day free trial.
ClickUp is a project management software giant. They constantly find smart ways to make all your work live inside their tool, and roadmaps are not an exception. You can add a roadmap to any project thanks to their docs.
All you need to do is go to your project, add a doc view, hover over the document title, and open the settings. From there you go to the magic wand tab and type ‘roadmap’ in the search bar. A series of templates will appear and you can select whichever you like. In a nutshell, ClickUp allows you to embed timelines from your project into a doc so you can have the timeline and strategic details like project scope, goals, and milestones in one view.
ClickUp offers native integrations with Slack, G Suite, Dropbox, and many more tools, as well as over 1,000+ integrations through Zapier.
ClickUp is free with limited storage for an unlimited number of users. Paid plans start at $5/user/month and offer a free-trial.
14 days free trial
|From $8/user/month||Check out monday.com|
|From $10.99/user/month||Check out Asana|
|From $11.50/user/month||Check out ProjectManager|
14 days free trial
|From $9.80/user/month||Check out Wrike|
30 days free trial
|From $7/user/month||Check out Smartsheet|
|From $7.99||Check out GanttPRO|
30 days free trial
|From $19.90/user/month||Check out TeamGantt|
14 days free trial
|From $12/user/month||Check out Hive|
14 days free trial
|From $39/editor/month||Check out ProductPlan|
|From $5/user/month||Check out ClickUp|
Open API for you to build your own integrations.
Task cards that will give you tons of information in just one view.
Visual roadmap tool with centralized customer feedback and collaboration capabilities.
Product roadmap tool that allows you to share progress and receive feedback to inform iterations.
- Toggl Plan
Work management platform with a drag and drop timeline builder.
What Is A Project Roadmap?
A project roadmap is a summary of the context, impetus, and logic of your project in strategic terms. It focuses on the “why” more than the “how” or the “what”, and it keeps things at a level that anyone can understand. At minimum, it includes goal information, milestones, timeline, risks, deliverables, and project scope.
Is A Project Roadmap A Gantt Chart?
No. A Gantt is a detailed view of project activities and dependencies. A project roadmap may include only a high-level timeline view or milestone view, and that view might not even be chronological.
How Do You Build A Roadmap?
If you are looking to build a roadmap, check out our How To Make A Project Roadmap (With Roadmap Template) article. It has details on the steps you should take, information you should know prior to starting, and nice visuals to help you better understand the concept.
What Do You Think About This List?
I would love to hear about the ways you are developing your project roadmaps! Please leave me some ideas in the comments section. If you would like to keep up with what we do at the DPM and get articles like this, tips, tricks, and fun facts related to project management, subscribe to our Insider Membership Newsletter.