A project roadmap is a bridge between short-term efforts and long-term business goals. This instrument is widely used for planning the development of new features and their releases as well as for tracking status changes and other updates. Understanding the value of a roadmap and implementing one in your project is key for keeping all your team headed in the same direction. In this article, we’re exploring the roadmap approach to Jira planning, identifying its values, and figuring out the best way to build the project roadmap.
What is a roadmap?
A project roadmap is a great source of information outlining planning, goals, priorities, and progress made over time. It’s a graphical, high-level action plan that aligns your team and other stakeholders around your goals and maps out necessary steps to achieve them. Unlike the project plan, where details usually prevail, the roadmap stays simple and concentrates only on essentials. That’s exactly what makes a roadmap so valuable for managing expectations, communicating plans, and coordinating resources with other teams.
Why do you need a roadmap in Jira?
When you set up a project in Jira, the chance you have many variables to keep track of is high. And while managing everything just with the means of Jira boards seems too overwhelming, a visual project roadmap grants you an illustration of your workflow over time which eventually can help you:
Keep everyone focused on the same goals
As the roadmap is a pure visualization of the work to be done to achieve your goals and objectives, it can pass this idea to the whole team making it clear why they do what they do and what they need to reach by the end of their path. Also, it serves as a reminder of all important deadlines that increase the changes to deliver expected results on time.
Identify task priority
The roadmap is a great instrument for representing task priority. By simply checking the roadmap timeline, all team members instantly get which tasks are more prioritized than the others and demand the most attention which helps you spend less time on coordination and make sure that everything goes by plan.
Communicate with stakeholders
As a roadmap visualizes your high-level project plan, you can make use of it for demonstration in front of other stakeholders. With its clear representation of your work plan they can easily understand the execution process, form their expectations just by having a look at only the most important project milestones without diving into unnecessary details.
Adapt to changes
Having a roadmap in front of you will help stay focused on your initial goals and objectives in case some changes happen along the way. So, it becomes sort of a compass holding your team on course.
Visualize status updates
Because the roadmap timeline is dynamic and reflects all updates happening, you may use it as a source of information when tracking how work is progressing from stage to stage.
How to build a roadmap in Jira?
Today there are multiple ways to implement a roadmap for Jira boards. There are several solutions developed by Jira itself as well as multiple add-ons to get this functionality. However, no matter what you eventually choose, all roadmap tools for Jira are based on the same key concepts:
Theme: This is your high-level strategic objective.
Epic: A large work item that can be broken down into a number of smaller tasks - user stories.
User story: feature requirement written from the perspective of an end-user.
Start and due dates: Adding start and end dates to epics, user stories, etc. makes it possible to visualize them on the timeline.
When creating a roadmap, we recommend you focus on the following principles to keep your workflow clear and manageable:
- Ensure everyone has access to it
- Add only important information
- Keep it well-structured
- Focus both on short-term and long-term goals
- Regularly review your roadmap to adjust to changes
- Align with stakeholders at all levels
Presenting the roadmap
Generally, there can be three audiences that you will present your roadmap to: your development team, leadership and clients. In order to make it work for all of them, make use of this tried-and-true method based on the issue hierarchy: break initiatives into epics in your backlog, then decompose them into user stories. It’ll make it easier for you to switch between different project levels and demonstrate only the required data.
Best Jira roadmap plugins
Now let’s see the alternatives you can find on the Atlassian marketplace to build your own Jira product roadmap. All of these apps have their pros and cons, so let’s check what you can get from each of them:
Planyway app is the right tool if you’d like to visualize the roadmap at different angles. Apart from a regular roadmap, it adds other powerful views like team and project timeline. The team timeline groups your roadmap by team members, so you can easily check who’s responsible for what and how your team is doing with the tasks assigned to them. The project timeline lets you get the project portfolio of all Jira projects required at the moment. Except for the roadmap features, the app might be useful for those looking for multiple addons for Jira, as besides planning Planyway also provides time tracking and workload functionality.
Price: You can get Planyway Cloud for $10 monthly for teams up to 10 users and the Data Center version for $900 annually for teams up to 50 users.
Easy Agile Roadmaps
Easy Agile is the app that solely focuses on creating roadmaps to make teams able to align around the project vision and understand where the project is heading. Apart from a regular project visualization, it allows its users to group issues into high-level streams of work that represent different teams or customer outcomes. Another useful perk is that progress tracking based on epic statistics is available just by hovering the epic’s progress line.
- Theme and team swimlanes
- Date markers
- Quick filters
- Multi-project board
- Epic progress
- Export to PDF
Price: The Cloud monthly subscription starts with $10 monthly for teams up to 10 users while the Data Center version is $6000 annually for teams up to 50 users.
Swanly was created with the idea of clear data visualization across projects reached through roadmaps and dashboards. The tool gets access to all Jira projects and is able to provide you with a portfolio issue roadmap to view any issue from any project, a project release roadmap to centralize releases and create cross-project releases with sync versions. Along with the roadmaps, Swanly can show data in the list view to see high-level data like name, status, type, progress, description, and start & end dates in one place.
Reporting is another major plus that lets you have powerful insights for each of your releases. You get access to all details needed including the scope progress, time or story point progress, burndown chart, and lots more.
- Cross-project issue roadmaps
- Portfolio release roadmap
- Project and release checklists
- Grouping by project, status, or template
Price: Only the Cloud version is available at $10 monthly for teams up to 10 users.
Agile User Story Map & Product Roadmap
This Jira roadmap planner is a bogof that unites two big views - a user story map and a product roadmap that let you see a big picture from a user's perspective. It’s possible to keep working in the no-swimlane mode or split your story map into release and sprint swimlanes. The same can be done for the roadmap, so you’ll have the release and sprint timeline. The app grants easy navigation thanks to filtering issues to display only what’s needed as well as data export to share your workflow with stakeholders.
- Release and sprint swim lanes
- Release and sprint roadmap
- Export to PNG
Price: The Cloud monthly fee starts at $5 monthly for teams up to 10 users, while the Data Center version is available at $500 for teams up to 50 users.
This add-on lets you manage and visualize the team’s epics on a timeline. You can easily manipulate the epic boards, display statuses, and filter them. Additionally, you may link them with dependencies between epics as well as bring more clarity by visualizing milestones, version, and sprint date markers.
- Milestone, version, or sprint date markers
- Epic status
Price: The Cloud version is unfortunately not available for now but the Data Center starts at $300 annually for teams up to 50 users.
Live Roadmap is a great choice if you want to get instant insights into how your projects are progressing. The tool allows you to connect with Jira data and not only visualize the planning but also view roadmap issues planned against real tracked time and budget taken from Jira. What’s more, you can create a project portfolio and highlight key dates with milestones to keep everyone in sync.
- Project portfolio
- Live Roadmap to align with tracked time and budget
- Lane grouping
Price: The price for the Cloud version starts at $10 monthly for teams up to 10 users and it’s the only version available.
In this article, we tried to explore the basics and give you a general understanding of what the roadmap is and how to implement it in Jira. The Jira roadmap is an awesome approach to getting an easy-to-understand picture of the project pipeline and can become a great source of information in a wide range of cases – when setting priorities for your team, outlining your plans for executives, presenting work results to your clients. So, if you haven’t tried it yet, it’s time to give it a try.